Family law (also called matrimonial law) is an area of the law that deals with family matters and domestic relations, including:
- marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships;
- adoption and surrogacy
- child abuse and child abduction
- the termination of relationships and ancillary matters, including divorce, annulment, property settlements, alimony, child custody and visitation, child support and alimony awards.
- juvenile adjudication
- paternity testing and paternity fraud
This list is not exhaustive and varies depending on jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions in the United States, the family courts see the most crowded dockets. Litigants representative of all social and economic classes are parties within the system.
For the conflict of laws elements dealing with transnational and interstate issues, see marriage (conflict), divorce (conflict) and nullity (conflict).
Divorce constitutes a final termination of the marriage between spouses and brings an end to all Common Law rights and obligations between them through the sanction of a competent Court. It leads to not only to the final dissolution of the marital relationship between the spouses, but also to the division of their debts and assets and, where dependant children are involved, also to the provision and further regulation of their future sustenance and living conditions.
The only recognised ground for a divorce is that the marriage relationship must have irreparably broken down. There must be no reasonable possibility of the marriage being restored to its original harmonious state. The process is initiated by way of Summons being issued and served on a spouse. In the event that the parties are able to reach an agreement as to the various aspects involved in the divorce, a settlement agreement will then be signed by the parties, after which it will be made an Order of Court, resulting in an expedited conclusion of the divorce. Should the parties not be able to reach an agreement, litigation and ultimately trial of the matter will follow.
Ancillary aspects to divorce proceedings include:
- General and rehabilitative maintenance towards a Spouse;
- Maintenance towards the dependant children;
- Primary Residence, care of and contact with the children, and
- Parental rights and Responsibilities towards the children as determined in the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 as amended.
The reasons for the breakdown of the marriage and the resulting domestic conditions can cause emotional hardship throughout the divorce proceedings. We understand the adverse effects that divorce proceedings may have on our clients and their lives and strive to lend constant support with clear and objective legal advice throughout, whilst ensuring that our clients’ personal and proprietary interests remain protected.
We stand by our clients, every step of the way.