In Ohio and all other jurisdictions, family law is a term referring to the realm of legal issues concerning the rights and obligations of family members toward each other. It may also refer to situations, such as paternity, where a family relationship is disputed. With surrogacy and same-sex issues becoming common, family law truly covers a wide variety of legal concerns, as part of and sometimes in addition to, the standard areas of separation, divorce, custody, visitation, adoption, support and alimony.
Family law can involve litigation in the courts, as when a spouse files for divorce. Litigation also includes court cases dealing with custody, visitation, adoption, support and other novel conflicts between parties that may have to do with families and children. These are disputes that need resolution by the courts. However, in family law some litigation can be uncontested.
An uncontested divorce is considered litigation because it is a procedure that requires a court filing and a final court order. Furthermore, in uncontested divorces the parties usually have negotiated a separation and property settlement agreement that is often filed with the court. A contested divorce and an uncontested one are both started by filing a complaint in the county court.
The contested divorce has issues still in dispute, requiring a resolution by the court. A case can be partly uncontested. For example, the parties may have settled their custody, visitation and child support issues, but may still be fighting over alimony and property division. Matters such as custody or support can be filed with the divorce complaint, or they can be filed as separate actions often having no connection to a divorce action.
Contested divorce issues are scheduled for hearings and resolved by the court, usually but not always prior to the divorce being granted and finalized. This is the general pattern of family law dynamics in Ohio and in the other states. Note, however, that this overview is incomplete and shaded by various complexities and exceptions. Therefore, for a person to get a true idea of how the process works and how it may affect him or her, it’s best to consult with a family law attorney.
Source: local10.com, "What you need to know about family law", , Aug. 5, 2014