family law

Child Custody

 

Child custody: an overview

In cases of divorce, the court of jurisdiction for the divorce proceedings also determines child custody arrangements. Under the common statutory provision, if the spouses have children together while married, the parents have joint guardianship over that child and the parental rights are equal. Each parent has an equal right to the custody of the child when they separate.

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Federal Material

U.S. Constitution and Federal Statutes

Federal Regulations

Federal Judicial Decisions

State Material

State Statutes

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Conventions and Treaties

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Divorce

 

Divorce and Separation: An Overview

A divorce formally dissolves a legal marriage. While married couples do not possess a constitutional or legal right to divorce, states permit divorces because to do so best serves public policy. To ensure that a particular divorce serves public policy interests, some states require a "cooling-off period," which prescribes a time period after legal separation that spouses must bear before they can initiate divorce proceedings.

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U.S. Constitution

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Category: Family Law

Adoption

Adoption: An Overview

Adoption refers to the act by which an adult formally becomes the guardian of a child and incurs the rights and responsibilities of a parent. At the conclusion of the formal process, a legal relationship between child and guardian will have formed. The legal relationship results in the adoptee becoming the legal heir of the adopter and terminates any legal rights then in existence with the natural parents.

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Federal Material

U.S. Constitution and Federal Statutes

Federal Agency Regulations

Federal Judicial Decisions

State Material

State Statutes

State Judicial Decisions

International Material

Conventions and Treaties

Other References

Key Internet Sources

Useful Offnet (or Subscription - $) Sources

  • Good Starting Points in Print:
    • Cahn & Hollinger, Families by Law: An Adoption Reader. New York: New York University Press (2004).

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Emancipation of Minors

All states have laws dealing with the "emancipation" of minors; that is, laws that specify when and under what conditions children become independent of their parents for important legal purposes. A complete reference to statutory provisions for all 50 states, pertaining to termination of parental rights, age of majority or emancipation itself, can be found in the LII State Law pages.

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