Family Law Information Center

According to the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), of the 9.66 million cases in FY 2006 with child support orders being processed, 7.04 million contained medical support orders and 1.9 million were cases in which medical support was ordered and provided.

Source: National CSE Program Preliminary Data Report FY 2006 (available on the OCSE Web site at:www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs).

Frequently Asked Questions About Family LawQ: What is the legal definition of marriage?A: Most states define marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman to become husband and wife. The standard way to marry is to get a marriage license from a state-authorized official and participate in a formal civil or religious wedding ceremony. While most states will not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the laws regarding same-sex marriage continue to evolve. Contact an attorney to learn more about the marriage laws in your state.Q: What are the legal effects of marriage?

A: There are many federal and state laws that benefit married couples. Some examples include the right to file joint income tax returns, create a family limited partnership (FLP) under federal tax laws, create a marital life estate trust, receive survivor benefits, receive a share of your deceased spouse’s estate under intestate succession laws and claim the estate tax marital deduction.

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Richmond Family Law Attorney

At CowanGates we provide families with a broad range of legal help involving domestic relations. Our family law practice includes advising clients throughout the divorce process, juvenile matters, and other family issues that arise. Our lawyers provide friendly and professional services to civilians and military personnel. The following is general information about family law. Please contact our firm to arrange a consultation to discuss your specific concerns.

Family Law – An Overview

Family law is the term applied to the laws and rules developed regarding family relationships. Family law rules define not only the relationships between members of a family but also between a family and society as a whole. More than any other area of the law, family law reflects the values society shares regarding how people who are related should treat each other. When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of a family law attorney at CowanGates in Richmond, Virginia, often proves crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome of your family law matter.

Typically, family law attorneys assist people in making and breaking family relationships. Specific areas of representation include marriage and relationship planning, divorce, paternity, child custody and child support. Some family law attorneys also provide assistance in the area of adoption.

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Child Support

There are millions of divorced parents who pay or receive child support. Federal legislation and uniform state laws exist to make enforcement and collection of child support easier for America’s single parents. Because every state uses its own guidelines for establishing child support and each has various methods to set support amounts and recover support when it is overdue, it is often important to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the child support guidelines and child support enforcement laws in your state.

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Divorce

Deciding to pursue divorce is one of the most difficult and emotional decisions you will ever make, particularly if you have children. Divorce also involves financial matters that must be resolved and legal issues that must be addressed.

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Custody and Visitation

When parents divorce, it is important to learn about the child custody and visitation options that are available and the legal standards that apply. In many cases, divorcing couples can ultimately agree on custody and visitation issues without the need for a court order. When an agreement cannot be reached, knowledgeable advice and representation from a family law attorney can often make the difference.

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Marriage

Marriage is a voluntary, private contract between two adults. While it is a personal and emotional commitment, it is also a legal relationship that changes the legal status of both parties. A family law attorney can help you to understand the legal technicalities of marriage.

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Family Law Resource Links

Virginia Judicial System Court Self-Help
This site provides neutral legal information only as a public service by the Virgina Access to Justice Commission for self-represented litigants.

American Bar Association – Section of Family Law
Tables and summaries addressing differences in state laws and requirements for divorce, child support and other important family law issues.

The Legal Information Institute – Family Law Topics
Statutes, case law and articles covering a variety of family law topics.

Office of Child Support Enforcement (CSE)
Information on services related to locating non-custodial parents, establishing paternity, establishing support orders and collecting support payments.

Child Welfare Information Gateway
Formerly the National Clearinghouse on Child Abuse and Neglect Information and the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC), the Child Welfare Information Gateway provides access to information and resources to help protect children and strengthen families.

Children’s Rights Council
A nonprofit devoted to helping kids experience the frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with two parents and extended family that a child would normally have during a marriage.

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