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Family Law, specialized area of legal practice dealing with rights
and duties among husbands, wives, and children.
An overview on Divorce and Child
There are two types of divorce-- absolute and limited. An absolute
divorce, (also called a "divorce a vinculo matrimonii"
is a judicial termination of a marriage based on marital misconduct
or other statutory cause arising after the marriage ceremony.
As a result of an absolute divorce both parties' status becomes
Several jurisdictions' statutes authorize limited divorces, or
"divorce a mensa et thoro." The consequences of limited
divorces vary from state to state. Typically, a limited divorce
is commonly referred to as a separation decree; the right to cohabitation
is terminated but the marriage is undissolved and the status of
the parties is not altered.
Many states have enacted what is called no-fault divorce statutes.
This is a response to outdated common law divorce which required
proof in a court of law by the divorcing party that the divorcee
had done one of several enumerated things as sufficient grounds
for the divorce. This entailed proving that the spouse had committed
adultery, or some other unsavory act. No-fault divorce eliminates
this potentially embarrassing and undesirable requirement by providing
for the dissolution of a marriage on a finding that the relationship
is no longer viable. It is hard to tell whether no-fault divorce
statutes are the cause or an effect of the rising national divorce
rate in America. Look to various state laws for divorce law information.
Generally, statutes authorize the court having jurisdiction of
divorce proceedings to determine who shall have custody of children
from the marriage. (The authority to do so is considered part
of the original jurisdiction of the court, and not as a new authority
being conferred upon them.) Under the common statutory provision,
the parents of a child born within a marriage are joint guardians
of that child and the rights of both parents are equal--each parent
has an equal right to the custody of the child when they separate.
Like other aspects of family law, most law in this field is state
rather than Federal.
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