The term “family law” is actually a broad term that describes an area of law dealing with situations related to the family. A few of the situations under the umbrella of family law include things such as adoption and surrogacy, and child custody, support, and visitation. When it comes to the courtrooms in the USA, the family law are the most crowded and all walks of life are represented.
Following is a closer look at some of the things that family law covers:
A) Adoption and Surrogacy
When a person takes over responsibility for taking care of a child, it is known as adoption. In the case of adoption, all rights are taken from the biological parents and passed to the adoptive parents. Adoption is much different than guardianship or other systems in place to ensure children are properly taken care of. Adoption is a permanent change in status and is the main way that it can be ensured that children who are abused, neglected, are homeless, or have run away, can be taken care of.
Surrogacy is a situation where a woman carries a baby in her womb for someone else. There are two types of surrogacy:
1) Gestational- surrogate is made pregnant through the transfer of an embryo through IVF and the child is unrelated to the surrogate.
2) Traditional- surrogate is made pregnant artificially or naturally and the child is related to the surrogate.
In the USA, gestational surrogacy is much more common, due to the complications that can arise with traditional surrogacy.
B) Child Custody, Support, and Visitation
Two legal terms used to describe both the legal and practical relationship between a parent and child is custody and guardianship. This most often comes up when a divorce, annulment or other proceeding when a child is involved. Most of the time, the judge presiding over the case will take into consideration the best interests of the child. These are some of the nastiest of court battles.
Child support, also called “child maintenance,” is a payment made by one parent to the other in order to financially benefit the child. These payments are periodic- typically monthly- and are ongoing until the child is an adult or some other changes have occurred. Typically, the non-custodial parent makes these payments to the custodial parent. However, in some cases, the custodial parent may be required to make payments to the non-custodial parent. In the cases where custody is joint, the parent with the higher income is required to make payments to the one who has a lower income.
The periods of time that the non-custodial parent gets with the child is referred to as visitation.