California Family Law Forms
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Family Law FAQ
What is family law?
Family law consists of a body of laws related to domestic relations and family related issues. Family law deals with the nature of marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnership; issues arising during marriage, including spousal abuse, legitimacy, adoption, surrogacy, child abuse, and child abduction; the termination of the relationship and matters such as divorce, annulment, property settlements, alimony, child custody and visitation, child support and alimony awards.
What laws apply in family law?
Family law matters are primarily governed by state laws. Laws on these topics vary from state to state. Interstate compacts, or agreements, exist to aid in cooperation among states in family laws matters, such as child support and adoption.
The Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) gives a state "long-arm" jurisdiction over a child support debtor even where the debtor is a nonresident. This is an exception to the normal rules of law where a court would not have jurisdiction over a nonresident. A state would have this jurisdiction, essentially, if one party or child resides in the state or if the parties agree to transfer continuing exclusive jurisdiction to another state.
The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is an interstate compact that has been enacted into law by all 50 states in the United States, and the District of Columbia. It controls the lawful movement of children from one state to another for the purposes of adoption. Both the originating state, where the child is born, and the receiving state, where the adoptive parents live and where the adoption of the child will take place, must approve the child's movement in writing before the child can legally leave the originating state. This Compact regulates the interstate movement of both foster children and adoptive children