What does family law entail?

Family law in Cedar Rapids IA is that legal specialty which covers all facets of a family. Family law encompasses marriages, divorces, adoption, prenuptial agreements and any other issues that have a family orientation, including child custody and property settlements in the event of dissolution of a union.

Family law has its roots in a feudalistic society such as those in Europe many years ago. When a couple were married the husband became the owner of all property, including that brought into the marriage by the wife, the husband was also the legal guardian of his wife. These laws began to erode and by 1900 almost every state allowed for a judicial divorce rather than a legislative one, thus reducing the time to process a divorce considerably.

During the early 1970s, family law in Cedar Rapids IA began a rapid redefinition to keep pace with the changing definitions of family values and gender bias; by the mid 1980s every state had adopted no fault divorce which makes dissolving a marriage a reasonably simple and straight forward procedure. No fault divorce has upset a number of conservative groups who advocate the traditional values of family, they believe that the relaxed divorce laws encourage couples to seek divorce rather than address the reasons for the friction and discord in their marriage.

A key issue in any divorce is the status of minor children of the divorcing couple. Child custody was rarely granted to anyone other than the birth mother but over the last 20 or 30 years the fathers role in the family evolved to the point where custody is being granted to the father, more often, joint custody is agreed. In joint custody both the mother and the father share the responsibility of raising the children and caring for them.
When the decision of child custody and child support is mandated by the court rather than by mutual agreement, there is quite often friction and discord as the court decision cannot make both parents happy. Laws have been enacted to stop the aggrieved parent from kidnapping the child or children and taking them across state lines in hopes of receiving a decision in the new state which was more to their liking.

Family law continues to evolve as the definitions of family values also evolve. Daniel W. Willems, Attorney & Counselor at Law practices family law in Cedar Rapids IA.

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