Marriage and Divorce Laws

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Marriage and divorce are considered as legal issues in every state. Thus, they are governed by the family laws in the particular state. The laws for marriage and divorce include the provisions of the registration of marriage, rules for marriage, legal rights sharing after marriage, divorce appeal, residency requirements for divorce, matters related to divorce, etc.

Both marriage and divorce in the U.S. is under the control of the state government rather than the federal government. So, the state laws are taken into account instead of the federal law. However, in the recent past, some responsibilities and rights of the divorcing spouses have come under federal legislation. For example, during the 1980's, federal welfare reform ordered the creation of child support guidelines in all the states in the nation.

Some of the federal laws that are observed are as follow -

  • ERISA: Employee Retirement Income Security Act
  • IRS: Internal Revenue Service
  • COBRA: Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985

Marriage and Divorce Laws pertaining to Child Support

  • When a judgment for separate maintenance or dissolution or annulment is made, the court reserves the right to issue orders that one or both parents disburse some money that is essential and reasonable for upbringing of their child.
  • When the money to be paid as child support is calculated, the following issues are pondered upon -
    • The responsibility of both parents to support and make arrangements for the welfare of their child
    • The requirements of the child and whenever possible, the requirement for a close relation with both parents
  • The court takes into account whether the parent is legally responsible for spousal support or child support of other children as per any administrative or court orders.

Marriage and Divorce Laws pertaining to Child Custody

  • The court that has the jurisdiction of the divorce proceeding, takes the final decision regarding who should have the custody of a child on the basis of various statutes.
  • The legal provisions in normal circumstances mention that both the parents should be guardians of the child together. As per this provision, both the parents are given equal rights regarding the child custody when they separate.
  • Most of the statutes pertaining to child custody are state based in contrast to federally based.
  • While deciding on the child custody, the court focuses on the needs and requirements of the child. The court, with the help of child specialist, inspects and determines the best solution for the child.
Marriage Laws

In the United State, a majority of marriage laws are solely presided over by state laws. However, there are some federal statutes that take into account the marital status to take a decision regarding federal benefits and rights. In this way, the definition of marriage is crucial from the point of view of federal law. The U.S. Constitution comprises of the Supremacy Clause. This states that the U.S. Supreme Court has been empowered to review the constitutionality of marriage laws.

Divorce Laws

A spousal contract that settles all issues and is legally enforceable is known by different names like, marital agreement, property settlement agreement, separation agreement or simply an agreement. Since only a court can grant a divorce, this contract cannot be termed as divorce agreement. There are various kinds of methods to reach to an agreement like mediation process, collaboration process and uncontested divorce process. An agreement may be either unmodified or modified. Such an agreement is used to settle the following issues -

  • Medical insurance and expenses
  • Visitation
  • Child support
  • Legal and physical custody
  • Health and life insurance
  • Alimony
  • Asset and liability division

In several cases, the divorcing partners fail to develop an agreement. Then, the trial of the case is executed and the court takes the final decision regarding the various issues and drafts a judgment. This is known as contested divorce. In this case, the divorce and all related issues is handled by the court, and the court decision will be mandatory for the partners. If there is a material alteration in circumstances post divorce, the judgment of the court can be modified. The divorce laws ensure that the party suffered from marital fault gets justice by the final result.

Marriage and divorce laws are very important to provide guidelines for a divorce procedure. Legal help can be obtained while understanding the rules and regulations regarding these laws. The laws in every state may slightly differ according to its specific requirements.

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