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Divorce and Marriage Law
State Laws
Court Procedure

The divorce court is an example of what type of court?


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October 19, 2012 1:11PM

United States

A court that adjudicates divorce cases is a court of equity. Courts of equity decide cases based on the principles of equity (fairness) rather than a strict application of law. In the US such courts are part of the civil branch of state trial court systems. Divorce court is generally referred to as the Family Court Division in most jurisdictions although designations may vary from state to state. The following are some examples: Probate and Family Court (MA), Supreme Court and Family Court (NY) , county Superior Court (GA), Tennessee Divorce Court, Mississippi Chancery Court, Family Law District Courts (TX), county Circuit Court (MD).

The goal of a court of equity is to make the parties equal. In carrying out this mission family courts are supposed to deal with fairness to both parties in a divorce rather than by a strict application of law although they do administer legal rights as well. Marital assets are usually divided equally between the parties but the court can also create an unequal distribution depending on several factors such as:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The contribution of the parties to the marriage
  • Whether one spouse contributed to the education and career of the other
  • Educational opportunities or lack thereof that left one party in an unequal position to acquire future assets
  • The economic circumstances of the parties
  • Whether one party can maintain the marital home as a residence for the benefit of the children

You can read more about the US court system at the related link.