Domestic relations is the term used by the court system to classify or describe the type of case before them. For example, if you are suing someone, it is a civil case. If someone is in court for assault, it is usually a criminal case. The world of domestic relations includes many different types of matters, the same way a criminal case can be any number of matters: assault, robbery, theft, etc. Here are some of the most common domestic relations matters:
– Dissolution of Marriage: Most commonly thought of as a divorce, in this proceeding a court will enter Orders separating and assigning marital property and debt; establishing maintenance (or alimony) if appropriate; and if there are children of the marriage, allocating parental responsibilities and establishing child support. At the resolution of a dissolution of marriage matter, a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is entered, confirming that the marriage has been terminated.
– Legal Separation: Similar to a dissolution of marriage, except that at the resolution of the case the parties are not legally divorced. This means the legal status of the marriage is still intact. You cannot legally get re-married at the resolution of a legal separation because you are still legally married.
– Allocation of Parental Responsibilities: Most commonly thought of as a “custody case”, though the term “custody” is no longer used. For more information, check out Translation Tuesday: Allocation of Parental Responsibilities
– Motion to Modify Parenting Time: Just like it sounds, this is when the court is asked to reevaluate an existing parenting time schedule and change it in some way. See Translation Tuesday: Allocation of Parental Responsibilities for more information on parenting time.
– Motion to Modify Child Support: Much like the above Motion, this Motion is asking the court to reevaluate an existing order for child support and determine if a change in the amount of child support is needed. Certain standards must be met before modification of child support can occur.
– Post-Decree: This is a term that refers to any matter raised before the court after it has issued a Decree, for example, a Motion to Modify Parenting Time when it involves children of the marriage.
There are many other matters included in Domestic Relations, but those talked about are the matters seen most frequently. If you have questions about your circumstances or what kind of matter you would pursue, it is always best to contact a licensed attorney in your area.