Custody and Child Support
Of all issues facing partners following dissolution of their marriage, by far the most emotional, stressful and controversial one is that which addresses the future care and custody of children born of the marriage. All states require natural or adoptive parents to support their children until the children reach the age of majority (with some exceptions) or go on active military duty. All states consider the best interests of the children in awarding custody to one or both parents. Most states have visitation statutes addressing the rights of grandparents, other relatives , and non-custodial parents to spend time with the children. A majority of states have adopted uniform laws to prevent "forum-shopping" and the abduction or relocation of children to states with laws more advantageous to the relocating parent. Domestic issues such as child support and custody tend to clog state court systems and tax court resources, often causing a delay in other civil matters on the docket. As a result, many states are creating separate family law or domestic law divisions within their court systems, to expedite the handling of these claims as well as promote judicial economy.