Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Law FAQs

The legal field is intricate, multi-faceted, and complex. Inexperienced individuals can easily feel overwhelmed when dealing with a legal issue for the first time. The laws governing their situations, coupled with the intense emotions surrounding it, are enough to create serious stresses in anybody's life.

At O'Donnell Law Center, we recognize this potential for stress and tension and have dedicated ourselves to relieving our clients from its burden. Our dedicated staff and attorney at the Lake of the Ozarks are here to take the stress off your shoulders by placing it onto ours instead. We strive to make our clients lives easier each and every day. Today, we thought we'd help by answering some commonly asked questions about family law. 

Last week, we discussed the fact that family law is often one of the most emotionally-involved legal practices because it involves the people we care about the most. Taking some time to acquaint yourself with some of the inner workings of family law at the Lake of the Ozarks can reduce some of the uncertainty (and, therefore, the stress) surrounding your issue.


What does "family law" cover?
Family law is a very diverse legal field. It encompasses divorce, custody, visitation rights, adoption, alimony, paternity, prenuptial agreements, and post nuptial agreements.

I'm in the process of getting a divorce. How long before I can remarry?
The amount of time it will take to finish a divorce and be legally ready to remarry will vary greatly from person to person. Divorces can take anywhere from one to several months, depending on whether or not the couple had children, what types of shared assets need to be divided, and the cooperation between the two spouses.

What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?
Both divorces and annulments effectively dissolve marriages and release spouses from any marital obligations. The difference is that, unlike a divorce, an annulment can make it so that legally, the marriage never even existed.

What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement two individuals make before getting married. This agreement dictates what will happen to their shared assets if they have to get a divorce. While prenuptial agreements are not legally required in the state of Missouri, they can be a great way to protect yourself and your new partner from the unknown.

Who pays child support?
"Child support" refers to the money that one spouse gives to another in order to help the latter financially support their child after a divorce. The parent who does not have custody of the child/children will be responsible for paying child support to the parent that does.

What is "emancipation"?
Emancipation is a right granted to some minors that frees them from their parents' control, requiring them to act (and be treated) as a responsible, self-sufficient adult. Emancipation is only granted in severe cases.

When do you need to get a paternity test?
Paternity tests usually come up when dealing with matters of child support or child custody laws. If a man was married to the mother at the time of the child's birth, he is usually assumed to be the father. Paternity tests can be used to disprove this or, if the mother was unmarried, to prove who the true father is.

What is the difference between child custody and visitation rights?
Child custody comes in two forms - physical custody and legal custody.  All things being equal, Missouri law reflects a preference for both parents to share joint physical and joint legal custody of their children.  Joint physical custody means that both parents spend significant time with the child and joint legal custody means the parents share in making decisions about the child's educational, medical, social and extracurricular activities. Visitation rights, on the other hand, is an award of time (with the child) to a parent who is not awarded physical custody rights.  Visitation rights are usually awarded in the form of a specific schedule.

Family law can be complicated and confusing for individuals who have not dealt with it in the past (and even for those individuals who have). You don't have to face your family law issues alone. 

We are open and ready to assist you in any way we can. Call the most trusted law firm at the Lake of the Ozarks to get started today.

O'Donnell Law Center
We Carry Your Burden ~ You Carry On With Life.

Disclaimer: No attorney-client relationship is created by the publication of this blog.

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Phone: (573) 552-0317

O'Donnell Law Center, LLC
1026 Palisades Blvd. Suite 3
Osage Beach, MO  65065
(Located on the McDonald's Side of the Building)

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