LEGAL GUIDE
Written by Avvo Staff | Nov 4, 2015

What are possible family law outcomes?

Find out what could happen throughout your case.

People seek family law resolutions for domestic issues, such as divorce, child support, alimony, child custody, and adoption. The outcome of each case varies greatly depending on details and circumstances. Learn about some of the potential outcomes to better understand some of the issues you're facing.

How are assets divided in a divorce?

Before a divorce is finalized, several issues must be resolved. Often, an attorney mediates asset division and support payments. When a family law resolution cannot be agreed upon by both parties, the case gets referred to a family law court.

During the divorce hearing, the court considers your assets and determines the fairest way to divide them equally between both parties. If you signed a prenuptial agreement, that agreement is usually upheld as a family law resolution.

Alimony is another possible outcome. One spouse is sometimes ordered to pay a lump sum for alimony or regular payments for a certain period. Alimony is often ruled when one spouse's role in the relationship was taking care of the home instead of earning income. The hardest assets to divide during a divorce are children, which is why child custody and child support agreements are often made during the family law resolution proceedings.

How is child custody and child support determined?

Child custody and child support are complicated cases brought before family law courts. Joint custody is a likely outcome if both parties have no parental faults. However, oftenone parent receives custody and the other parent retains visitation rights.

Once custody is established, child support is negotiated. There is no way of predicting how much child support someone will have to pay because income and several other factors are part of the equation, such as planned involvement in parenting decisions.

In some cases, fathers must establish paternity before a judge rules in their favor. This ruling decision is often the case when the mother and father were not married when the child was born. An attorney can help the father assert his rights by joining the putative father registry and arranging DNA testing.

What is the process for applying for adoption?

Adoption is another case handled infamily law court. When someone wants to formalize a relationship with a child, that person must apply for adoption, with the proper paperwork, and then attend a hearing.

An adoption hearing is required because the process typically involves someone giving up parental rights. For instance, a foster family that wants to adopt a foster child cannot get permission until termination of the parental rights of the birth parents.Likewise, stepparents who want to adopt their stepchildren must receivepermission from the birth parents or the court.

What options exist for appealing a court's decisions?

An established appeals process can protect people when they think a judge has ruled unfairly. The case can be taken to a higher court, but no new evidence is typically evaluated. While a court's decision rarely changes, you shouldn't forego an appeal. An attorney can answer your family law questions to decide if an appeal is worth your time.

Family law cases are some of the most life-changing cases, and several possible outcomes exist for every case. Hiring a family law attorney will help ensure that you reach a fair resolution.

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