The world of divorce has changed a great deal over the last few decades, and California’s court system has made great attempts to keep up with the wave of change. The many and frequent changes in legal statutes governing divorce law reflect changing attitudes with regard to parenting, the role of fathers and the reality of the new type of family.
Here are some examples of how divorce language has changed:
Now known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, this term refers to a specific sum of money one spouse pays to the other spouse upon financial separation, usually until the recipient spouse remarries. This support is not gender-specific, but paid out typically by the higher earning partner to the partner more in need of financial support.
In today’s divorcing family, it is common for parents to share both physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the place where the child generally lives, and legal custody refers to who makes the legal decisions on a minor child’s behalf. Most judges prefer that a child of divorcing parents maintain a primary residence and the parents share parenting as equally as possible.
The outdated concept of one parent visiting their children has been replaced with the more modern notion of parenting time. The implication is that this is the shared responsibility of both parents. This responsibility is regardless of where the child lives.
While not a legal term per se, this term was used to refer to divorced and single parent families for many decades. Today, in an attempt to socially normalize what is already statistically normal, we use the terms single parent home or blended family instead.
Posted in Divorce | Tagged Divorce, divorce terms