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How Can a Family Lawyer Help You?



How Can a Family Lawyer Help You?

When most of us hear the words “family lawyer,” our minds jump to divorce. After all, this common situation still involves around 50% of all marriages, with the U.S. holding one of the highest divorce rates in the world.

However, there’s much more that a family lawyer can do for you and your loved ones than assist in your separation. From mediation to adoption to child custody cases, these legal experts can help protect you in a huge range of situations.

Wondering when you should schedule a consultation with a family attorney? Here are a few key situations where you might want to seek their aid.

Helping With Mediation

Family-related disputes and divorces can grow complicated once they’ve entered the legal system. That’s why many families choose mediation instead.

Mediation is an alternative, non-adversarial method of dealing with disputes. Instead of pitting spouses against each other, both parties work together to reach an agreement that everyone is comfortable with.

This works due to the presence of a third party: a trained legal mediator. Meetings happen in a neutral place, with both parties explaining their side of the argument and proposed solutions. With the lawyer’s help, negotiation allows both parties to come to an agreement on the issue in question.

Family law mediation is a great opportunity to talk about issues like child custody, property division, or divorce. If needed, your family lawyer can also refer you to a therapist or couples counseling for additional help unrelated to your legal needs.

Protecting Your Interests in a Divorce

When a separation becomes too complex or fraught with emotion for a simple mediation, a family attorney can help bring your divorce to court.

Just as with mediation, a lawyer’s first goal is to find ways to help a couple come to an agreement. If possible, a family lawyer will help you and your partner negotiate a settlement without going to court at all. This can make the proceedings faster and less expensive than they would be otherwise.

However, if you and your partner can’t come to a settlement, your lawyer can help you prepare and submit the necessary divorce papers. They’ll also help you understand and fight for any assets you’re entitled to. During this time, your lawyer can help you with some of the additional issues we’ll discuss below, such as child custody and alimony.

Because divorce proceedings can be so complex, a family lawyer can often help you protect your interests in ways you couldn’t on your own. Their legal knowledge can help you avoid expensive mistakes while earning a favorable outcome.

Winning Your Custody Case

One additional situation in which you should always hire a lawyer is a child custody case. These cases can often grow complicated fast, and what started as a simple agreement can become a fierce battle.

It’s especially important to reach out to a family lawyer in the following situations:

  • When your case is already complicated, with things like remarriages or relocations clouding the picture
  • When your ex-spouse refuses to pay child support
  • When you think your children are in danger due to neglect or abuse
  • When your ex-spouse has already hired legal representation
  • When your ex-spouse keeps denying you visitation rights
  • When you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse that could make you less likely to win your case

The bottom line is this: if you can’t imagine not getting to see your children, contact an attorney. A family lawyer can help you navigate a difficult custody case with less stress and uncertainty.

Helping With Child and Spousal Support Negotiations

Every state has its own guidelines for the payment of child and spousal support. Most often, these payments are calculated using the incomes of each partner.

However, this calculation may not be fair in all situations, which is where expert legal help comes in. For example, it might be more accurate to focus on the needs of one party, such as a lower-paid spouse or a parent caring for a child with special needs.

In addition, the best lawyer will also be able to help with things like enforcing your child support or alimony payments. If your partner refuses to adhere to a court order or falls behind on payments, it’s important to hire an attorney who can help you sue for back child support.

Writing Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Documents

If you’re hoping to start your marriage on the right foot, a pre- or post-nuptial agreement can help. These documents outline what happens to both partners’ assets if the marriage comes to an end.

Though these documents may seem distinctly unromantic when you’re planning your wedding, they can help ensure both of you are on the same page in advance. They force you to have an honest dialogue about your finances, which can set a positive precedent for communication later. If you should separate in the future, a pre- or post-nuptial agreement can help you avoid many of the issues we’ve discussed above.

It is possible to draft these documents on your own. However, it’s always smarter to work with an expert.

Reputable law firms can ensure that these crucial documents are enforceable. They can also ensure that you take every possible financial asset into account.

Helping You Adopt a Child

Though not all family lawyers specialize in adoption, many will be able to help you adopt a child.

The process of adoption can be lengthy and complex. Worse, many parents struggle to file the correct paperwork and submit the correct documents to judges and child welfare agencies as the case continues. Delays and missing information can make the adoption process even longer.

Not only can a family lawyer often help to shorten the process, but they can also help to ensure the adoption takes place at all. It’s crucial, for example, to prove that the adoption is in the child’s best interests. This can sometimes be tricky with relative or step-parent adoptions, such as when you need to prove that a biological parent has neglected or abandoned the child.

A lawyer can also help biological parents surrender their rights, draft legal documents, and appear in court for the adoption hearing. They can also help adoptive parents modify a child’s birth certificate or even obtain an immigrant visa, in the case of an international adoption.

Assisting With Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings

If your minor child is facing legal charges, it may be a good idea to seek a family lawyer’s insights.

In some cases, no lawyer may be necessary. Prosecutors are often willing to take an informal approach to a case when a child has no representation. For children with good grades, a minor charge, and no prior record, you may get a more satisfying outcome without an attorney.

However, because there are many variables in play, it’s always a good idea to seek insights from a family lawyer during a free consultation. These experts can help you understand the charges, the possible repercussions, and the likelihood of a successful outcome.

A child facing serious charges, or one with previous offenses, should always have an attorney by their side. Violent offenses, DWIs, and drug offenses, in particular, warrant legal help.

In these cases, your lawyer can ensure that your child’s life isn’t impacted by their alleged offense. This can mean avoiding things like probation, community service, or fines.

Just as with a criminal case for an adult, everything your child says and does matters. It’s important for them to understand what they should and shouldn’t mention to a judge. Your lawyer can also help mitigate the damage of anything they might have already said to an arresting officer.

Defending You or Your Child in Child Abuse Proceedings

If you’re struggling with a devastating child abuse case, it’s important not to go through it alone. This is true whether you’re dealing with threats, assault, neglect, or endangerment. No one wants their children to endure abuse, but a lawyer can help you protect your children in the aftermath.

On the other hand, a family lawyer can also help if you are facing wrongful child abuse charges. In this case, it’s crucial to mount a defense against false accusations as fast as possible. A reputable attorney can help you avoid a penalties and even jail time while ensuring the dismissal of your case.

Seek Help From a Family Lawyer

No matter what you and your loved ones are going through, a family lawyer can help. From the early days of marriage to the protection of your growing children, the legal advice of an attorney can go a long way. If you’re dealing with any of the situations above, be sure to reach out to a local family law firm for a consultation on your case.

Looking for more helpful legal insights like these? Be sure to take a look at the other posts on our blog for additional guidance.