Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 34: Separation, Divorce, and Custody

Cases and Resources

Marriage Problems
Separation and Divorce
Child Custody
Alimony, Property Division, and Child Support

Marriage Problems
Deciding to Divorce or Stay in the Marriage
Deciding to end a marriage or to try to save the marriage can be a difficult decision for many couples. This article provides different perspectives for struggling couples to help them decide if their marriage can be saved and describes reasons for saving a marriage.

Marriage and Family Therapists
Families and married couples trying to work through problems may be hesitant to seek outside help. Browse this site, created by family therapists, and learn more about what happens in therapy and how therapy can help heal families.

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Separation and Divorce
Separation, Annulment, and Divorce
Read about the legal differences between separation, annulment, and divorce. Each topic has a series of questions and answers to describe the process and meaning of each step.

No Fault v. Fault Divorce
There are several types of divorces, each based on a different reason. Learn about fault and no-fault divorces.

Divorce Laws by State
Click on one of the summary tables to compare various divorce laws in different states.

Divorce Waiting Periods
Some states are creating legislation in an effort to force couples to wait and consider divorce before filing. Why would states create this legislation? Do you think it is a good idea?

Covenant Marriage Links
Learn about the concept of covenant marriages, offered in a few states. Which states have covenant marriage laws? Can you enter into a non-governmental covenant marriage? Why do covenant marriages exist?

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Child Custody
Caring for Children: Types of Custody
Read about the different types of child custody. Divorce often means that children need to be cared for by parents in different homes that may be close together or very far away from each other. What arrangements are available for custody of these children?

Custody Arrangements and Divorce
This site explains the process for modifying custody arrangements and what to do if a custody agreement is violated or needs to be amended.

Determining Custody and Visitation
This article describes the different factors a court considers when deciding where children should live, how often parents may visit children, and how often children may visit parents. Are there any factors you would add to what courts already consider?

Parental Abductions of Children
Custody battles after divorce or separation can result in parental abductions of children. It may seem strange that parents can illegally take their own children. It is illegal to take a child when both parents have a legal right to visit with that child. It is also illegal to take a child when a court forbids the parent from taking that child away.

Troxel v. Granville
Read this case about the rights of grandparents mentioned on page 420 in your text. What is the reasoning behind the Supreme Court's decision? Do you agree?

Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980
Read the text of the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. This act stops parents from abducting children and obtaining legal custody of the children in a different state.

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
Read the introduction and text of this act mandating that a custody decree passed in one state is valid in all states. In addition, this law makes parental kidnapping a crime.

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Alimony, Property Division, and Child Support
The financial support for a spouse after divorce is called alimony. Read about alimony, its tax consequences, and ways to find out how much alimony a person will be ordered to pay a spouse.

Orr v. Orr
Read this case, mentioned in your text on page 422, in which the Supreme Court ruled that laws restricting alimony to women only were unconstitutional. Why does the Court rule this way?

Property and Debt Division in Divorce
After a divorce, the property and debts of both spouses and the marriage property must be divided. Read how the court determines how to divide property and debt. Are these guidelines fair?

Child Support Guidelines by State
Each state maintains guidelines to calculate the payments a parent must contribute to the cost of raising a child. Look at the guidelines for your state and compare them to other states' guidelines.

Family Support Act of 1988
The Family Support Act of 1988 requires states to create formulas for determining child support. Read a discussion of what the law required before the act was passed, how the laws changed after the act, and the problems faced during each period.

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Living With Stepfamilies
This guide, just for young people, helps children learn to understand stepfamilies and ways to live with stepsiblings in a positive way.

The Legal Rights of a Stepparent
Stepparents are the cohabitants of the biological parent of a child. This article discusses a stepparent's rights in the event of a divorce from the child's biological parent.

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