Family law is an area of the law that deals with family-related matters and domestic relations, including:
This list is not exhaustive and varies depending on jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions in the United States, the family courts see the most crowded dockets. Litigants representative of all social and economic classes are parties within the system.
Child custody and guardianship are legal terms which are used to describe the legal and practical relationship between a parent and his or her child, such as the right of the parent to make decisions for the child, and the parent's duty to care for the child.
Following ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in most countries, terms such as "residence" and "contact" (known as "visitation" in the United States) have superseded the concepts of "custody" and "access". Instead of a parent having "custody" of or "access" to a child, a child is now said to "reside" or have "contact" with a parent. For a discussion of the new international nomenclature, see parental responsibility.
The society or culture of the United States is a Western culture, and has been developing since long before the United States became a country with its own unique social and cultural characteristics such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, folklore, etc. Today the United States of America is an ethnically and racially diverse country as result of large-scale immigration from many different countries throughout its history.
Its chief early influences came from English and Irish settlers of colonial America. British culture, due to colonial ties with Britain that spread the English language, legal system and other cultural inheritances, had a formative influence. Other important influences came from other parts of
The fathers' rights movement is a movement whose members are primarily interested in issues related to family law, including child custody and child support that affect fathers and their children. Many of its members are fathers who desire to share the parenting of their children equally with their children's mother—either after divorce or as unwed fathers, and the children of the terminated marriage. The movement includes women as well as men, often the second wives of divorced fathers or other family members of men who have had some engagement with family law.
Most of the members of the fathers' rights movement had little prior interest in the law or politics. However, as they felt that their goal of equal shared parenting was being frustrated by the family courts, many took an interest in family law, including child custody and child support.
Like marriage, divorce in the United States is the province of the state governments, not the federal government. Divorce or "dissolution of marriage" is a legal process in which a judge or other authority dissolves the bonds of matrimony existing between two persons, thus restoring them to the status of being single and permitting them to marry other individuals. The legal process for divorce may also involve issues of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt, though these matters are usually only ancillary or consequential to the dissolution of the marriage.
Divorce laws vary from state to state. Although all states allow "no fault" divorce proceedings, in many states a court may still take into account the behavior of the parties when dividing property, debts, evaluating custody, and support. No-fault divorce on grounds such as "irreconcilable differences", "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage", "incompatibility" or a period of living apart is now available in all states, though some states require a period of legal and/or physical separation prior to a formal divorce decree. This legal requirement, along with couples who live in a state of separation simply because neither has sought or completed a divorce for other reasons, has led to the creation of a separate, somewhat ambiguously-perceived category of relationships – "separated".
The term crime does not, in modern times, have any simple and universally accepted definition, but one definition is that a crime, also called an offence or a criminal offence, is an act harmful not only to some individual, but also to the community or the state (a public wrong). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.
A social issue (also called a social problem or a social situation) is an issue that relates to society's perception of a person's personal lives. Different cultures have different perceptions and what may be "normal" behavior in one society may be a significant social issue in another society. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues. Some issues have both social and economic aspects, such as immigration. There are also issues that don't fall into either category, such as wars.
Thomas Paine, in Rights of Man and Common Sense, addresses man's duty to "allow the same rights to others as we allow ourselves". The failure to do so causes the birth of a social issue.