Family law includes many areas, such as marriage, divorce, child support and custody and visitation. Legislators are frequently called upon to make decisions on these sensitive issues. NCSL can help provide balanced information and other assistance, such as an educational presentation for legislators, staff and other state leaders, testimony before a legislative committee, or a roundtable discussion with experts we've brought in to assist in understanding a particular issue.
Same-sex marriage is becoming an increasingly important issue for policymakers, now that a handful of states allow same-sex couples to marry and more than a dozen offer civil unions or domestic partnerships. NCSL carefully tracks developments, both legislative and judicial, to help lawmakers stay apprised of this growing area.
Child support is an important source of income for the millions of children living in single-parent families. Child support payments lifted one million people out of poverty in 2008. States play an important role in collecting child support and have used various methods to enforce support orders. States are also developing policies to prevent the need for child support enforcement, engage fathers from the birth of their child, promote family economic stability, help build healthy family relationships, ensure that families have meaningful health care coverage and prevent and reduce family violence. NCSL can provide information and assistance to states on child support guidelines, enforcement, innovative programs and many more child support topics.
Staff also provide assistance on the critical issue of domestic violence, including services to victims, penalties and treatment for batterers, and responses to help children in violent families.