• Marriage

    Marriage legal helpFamily Law is an area that encompasses many rules and regulations pertaining to different facets of familial and domestic relations. It is an area of law that has been derived from traditional common law principles dealing with marriage and family life. Family law typically covers the legal rights and regulations associated with marriage, divorce, child custody, paternity, adoption, and abortion. As centuries have evolved, so have the traditional customs associated with them, which is why many family law principles have also developed and changed over time. Due to the ever-changing political climate of the United States, family law has become one of the most controversial and highly debated areas of legal practice.

    Family law issues are completely different than other areas of law and are therefore dealt with in a special manner. For example, most jurisdictions in the United States have special superior “family law” courts that employ judges who deal solely with family law issues. Family law attorneys are also different from other attorneys, because in order to be successful they have to also serve as a mediator and a negotiator. Clients who are dealing with family law issues are often going through a transitional and stressful situation in their lives. When more than one party is involved in any legal situation, stressful climates can easily escalate and get out of hand. Therefore, it is important that a family law attorney maintains composure in high-stress situations and can provide a client with both legal and emotional support.

    The most common family law issue that is dealt with in the legal arena is that pertaining to marriage. The principle of marriage is rooted in traditional customs, with the Bible playing a substantial role in the development of the marriage principles. About a hundred years ago, the traditional view of marriage was founded upon a patriarchal scene of marriage, in that a couple became a single unit after they married. Men would take legal authority over their wives’ wealth and land, which left women with relatively no rights of ownership or inheritance. Marriage was viewed as a sacrament, divorce was non-existent, and men and women were fit into well-defined gender roles with the men being the providers and the women being the homemakers. Under the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution, individual states retain the power to make rules and regulations pertaining to marriage. During the middle of the Twenty-first century, States became more open and willing to utilize their 10th Amendment powers to redefine traditional marriage roles and regulations. For example, the taboo of divorce was removed, the definition of what constitutes a “family” was drastically altered, and interracial marriages became legally recognized. In the famous case of Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), an interracial couple challenged the constitutionality of a Virginia law that restricted marriage to only people of the same race. The Lovings won their constitutional challenge and the Supreme Court of the United States dictated that the right to marry was a fundamental right that resides with the individuals and cannot be infringed on by the state. This landmark case set the rule that the state cannot impose restrictions on who an individual chooses to marry.
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