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Child Protective Orders: What You Need to Know

A child protective order is issued by a court to shield a child from contact with an abuser or other dangerous person. The child does not need to be the direct victim of abuse to qualify for protection.

A child protective order is a court order. The specifics of the law -- and even what the orders are called -- vary from state to state. By issuing the order, the court's intent is to regulate contact between parties who can no longer do so on their own.

Child custody issues are usually resolved as part of divorce proceedings. But what happens before the divorce is finalized? How do you sort out child custody if you and your spouse are separated?

Fortunately, most child custody decisions are made on a single legal principle. Unfortunately, divorcing parents still tend to fight bitterly over custody. Here are your child custody rights before a divorce and some ideas for making child custody decisions during a separation.

Lucky Dog: Checklist for Adopting a Shelter Pet

Adopting a dog is an amazing and occasionally challenging experience. It requires time, effort, some money, a lot of love. But soon enough you will have a new best bud.

Still, it is daunting to be responsible for another creature, so consider carefully before committing. Abandoned animals especially need consistency and care, and you can't return a pet to a shelter like you do a sweater to the store.

We Do: 4 Important Newlywed To-Dos

Tying the knot does not have to feel like assuming a noose, but it does mean more responsibility. So if you and your boo just said I do, it is time to think in terms of we, not I.

Marriage is a legal partnership and there are many administrative issues to address so that conjugal bliss is not threatened by a bureaucratic mess. Planning for problems in advance doesn't sound romantic but it can save your marriage later.

Pope Francis recently announced the most radical reform to the Catholic Church's annulment procedures in centuries. Instead of taking years for the church to recognize a severed marriage, it can now take a month or two.

So does this mean it's easier for Catholics to get divorced? Not quite. Here's how the Pope's new plan and the legal status of divorce will work:

Try as we might, no person is perfect. And some of those non-perfect people are our family members. This leaves us non-criminal family members with some tough choices to make. Does a daughter need drug therapy? Should you call the cops on your cousin? Is it time to consult with a lawyer?

Here are just a few of the legal considerations you should keep in mind if you've got a family member who is in involved in criminal activity.

The current refugee crisis in Africa, the Middle East, and Europe has left many wondering how to help. Syrian refugees especially have been fleeing their homeland and making dangerous treks to Italy, Greece, and beyond.

Many efforts to help have been focused on adopting Syrian children, and while some adoption agencies have urged prospective parents to slow down, a lot of people want to go through with adopting a refugee child. If you are one of them, here are a few tips on how and where to start:

As it has has been said, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn't end. But even if your marriage is ending, there are ways to make sure your divorce isn't unnecessarily traumatic.

Taking the right steps for your children, your business, your taxes, and especially yourself can prepare you for a divorce and make the divorce process a more positive experience, both financially and emotionally.

Like a lot of legal phrases, "common law marriage" gets tossed around quite a bit, but with little understanding of what it actually means. You just live with someone for a while, right? Maybe help them assemble some IKEA furniture?

As easy as that sounds, some people might be a little worried about winding up in a marriage they didn't intend. So here's how to avoid a common law marriage.

Many of those looking to adopt are also looking beyond our borders for adoptive children. And while an international adoption can be as loving, fulfilling, and rewarding as one from within the United States, there may be additional financial and legal hurdles involved.

Here are five legal tips to aid in your international adoption: