Pennsylvania Family Law Information Center
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Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law
Q: What is the legal definition of marriage?
A: Most states define marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman to become husband and wife. The standard way to marry is to get a marriage license from a state-authorized official and participate in a formal civil or religious wedding ceremony. While most states will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the laws regarding same-sex marriage continue to evolve. Contact an attorney to learn more about the marriage laws in your state.
Q: What are the legal effects of marriage?
A: There are many federal and state laws that benefit married couples. Some examples include the right to file joint income tax returns, create a family limited partnership (FLP) under federal tax laws, create a marital life estate trust, receive survivor benefits, receive a share of your deceased spouse's estate under intestate succession laws and claim the estate tax marital deduction.
More than 67% of newlyweds believe the most serious conflict in their first year of marriage is over money.
Every family experiences difficulties. However, when your family problems escalate and become a family crisis, or possible divorce, you need the advice and guidance of an experienced and understanding family law attorney. Our divorce lawyers will help you navigate the divorce process by developing personalized agreements on difficult issues such as, child support, child custody/visitation and property division while always protecting your individual rights and interests. Divorce does not have to be a bewildering or frightening process. For many families, divorce is a fact of life. We are here to help you complete your divorce and move on.
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Family Law - An Overview
Family law is the term applied to the laws and rules developed regarding family relationships. Family law rules define not only the relationships between members of a family but also between a family and society as a whole. More than any other area of the law, family law reflects the values society shares regarding how people who are related should treat each other. When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of a family law attorney often proves crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome of your family law matter.
Typically, family law attorneys assist people in making and breaking family relationships. Specific areas of representation include marriage and relationship planning, divorce, paternity, child custody and child support. Some family law attorneys also provide assistance in the area of adoption.
There are millions of divorced parents who pay or receive child support. Federal legislation and uniform state laws exist to make enforcement and collection of child support easier for America's single parents. Because every state uses its own guidelines for establishing child support and each has various methods to set support amounts and recover support when it is overdue, it is often important to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the child support guidelines and child support enforcement laws in your state.
Deciding to pursue divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional decisions you will ever make, particularly if you have children. Divorce also involves financial matters that must be resolved and legal issues that must be addressed.
Custody and Visitation
When parents divorce, it is important to learn about the child custody and visitation options that are available and the legal standards that apply. In many cases, divorcing couples can ultimately agree on custody and visitation issues without the need for a court order. When an agreement cannot be reached, knowledgeable advice and representation from a family law attorney can often make the difference.
Marriage is a voluntary, private contract between two adults. While it is a personal and emotional commitment, it is also a legal relationship that changes the legal status of both parties. A family law attorney can help you to understand the legal technicalities of marriage.
This center is designed to provide you with general information about family law and divorce. For answers to questions about your specific situation, how Pennsylvania divorce laws affect you, and whether or not collaborative law is right for you, contact us. We will schedule an appointment for you with an experienced Pennsylvania divorce law firm.