What Happens When Divorce And Family Law Collide?

Law Blog

Divorce and family law issues often come into conflict. You may wonder what happens when these two potentially contentious problems collide. Fortunately, the law has a fairly standardized approach to these concerns, and a divorce lawyer can guide you through it. Here is how an attorney usually approaches situations where divorce and family overlap a lot.

Separating the Issues

American law very aggressively separates these two sets of problems. Divorces are lawsuits designed to terminate marriages, but that's pretty much all they do. The divorce encompasses everything needed to terminate the union of two people, such as providing spousal support and dividing any assets and debts left from the marriage.

Everything else goes into at least one case that's distinct from the divorce suit. If there are child custody issues, for example, that can become a separate proceeding. Typically, a judge will send a court-appointed officer to conduct a conference with the two parties to see what can be resolved. The court takes a similar approach when dealing with child support issues, modifications, and concerns about visitation.

Different Standards

Notably, divorce proceedings and family law issues operate under two distinct sets of legal standards. In a divorce, the bulk of the court's focus is on providing some degree of equity between the two parties that are splitting up.

Notice that the goal here is rarely equal portions but equity. If one person was especially financially disadvantaged in the marriage, the other may have to balance that out for a few months or years by providing additional support. The objective is to provide both people fair chances to get on with their lives.

On the family law side of the ledger, the court's focus is usually on what is called the best interests of children. If a couple had a kid during their marriage, the judge will make every effort to see that the child has healthy interactions with both parents. Also, the court wants to ensure the child will have a safe place to live and an environment that promotes physical, personal, intellectual, and spiritual growth. These conditions should be consistent with the family's culture and values.

Bringing Everything Together

No matter how well or not the two sides get along, the court will want them to get together to resolve any differences. Ideally, each person will hire a divorce lawyer, and the two attorneys can hash out the paperwork and negotiate terms. When they're done, they can then send the separate sets of paperwork needed to resolve each case, meaning the divorce and any subsequent family law issues.

To learn more, contact a divorce lawyer.


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