Family Law Study Guide

Marriage
marriage is the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman as partners in a relationship.
• Marriage is a state license that is subject to state use law and state statues.

In NJ an agreement for non-married couples have to be signed and notarized
– Non-married couples don’t have the benefit of statutory law that couples do when they get divorced

Parent child relations
Parent child relations are the custody, visitation or child support of
a child or animal after a divorce.
• Parent child relations do not end when the child turns 18 because of issues regarding insurance, college etc.
– In physical custody it is determined who the child will live with, where the child will go to school etc.
– Legal custody deals with who has the authority to make the decisions for
medical, educational issues etc.
– If there is not a clear physical/ legal custody agreement then they talk about visitation.
– Visitation is when one parent has the child/ children under their care for certain times.
– Child support is money given by the noncustodial parent to assist in a child’s expenses.Failure to pay child support is failure to abide by a court order

Divorce
is the legal dissolution of a marriage by a court or other
competent body.
• Notes- A separation agreement is created out of ADR. A separation
agreement includes the assets are to be distributed.

In NJ they use MANDATORY ADR in the beginning of the divorce to see if the parties can come to a resolution without going through litigation

– Community property is determined by state law or statute, it is the idea that
all property acquired during the marriage is owned 50/50 except gifts and
inheritance.
– Equitable distribution is based upon fairness. The property is divided based upon different factors that are set out by the law. It is statutory based. Some of the factors that equitable distribution is based upon include length of marriage, age of parties, health of parties, and their ability to make a living

– Annulment
an annulment is a legal (or religious) judgement that a valid marriage never existed.

Prenuptial agreements
a prenuptial agreement is also known as an antenuptial agreement; a document hat prospective spouses sign proper to marriage regarding financial and other agreements should the marriage end.

• Notes- A contract made before marriage. We look to contract law to see if it is an enforceable agreement. It is also valid if the parties are NOT planning
on getting married.

Alimony
Alimony, also known as is financial support and other forms of assistance required to supply the necessities of life.It is a negotiable item
– It MUST be based upon the parties educational background and employment opportunities
– It CAN’T be based upon someone’s gender
– Gender based alimony is a violation of the 14th amendment or equal protection
– In NJ there is NO more permanent alimony-> alimony ends at 67 (because the spouse will retire)
– Marriages lasting fewer than 20 years payment CANNOT exceed the length of the marriage
– Exception: the payments may extend under exceptional circumstances but the general rule is that it is no longer than the marriage if marriage was less than 20 years

• Notes- Alimony only lasts as long as the marriage has unless there is exceptional circumstance, and if someone gets into another marriage they no longer have to be paid alimony. Alimony can be a lump sum or it can be paid on time.

Child Support
In NJ there are child support guidelines
– Looks at the noncustodial parents income and the ammount fo children they have
– Then it creates a basis for child support it can be more or less
– Wage garnishing
– Publicly calling the people out
– Rounding people up and throwing them to jail
– Usually done when parents don’t have a job or they work off the books so they can’t do wage garnishing