Are you thinking about adopting? Do you think you may get a divorce? Are you considering contesting a child custody ruling?
If so, you need to call a family lawyer.
That’s right: a family lawyer takes care of all of these life changes and more. If you’re going through or about to go through a big life change like one of those that we listed, getting into contact with a family lawyer can help you get through it.
So, what does a family lawyer do and how can they help you? Keep reading to find out.
What Is Family Law?
Family law is a branch of law practice that deals with all of the legal premises that families have to go through. Like the family law professionals at Verhaeghe Law, all family law attorneys work with a variety of situations. These include the following:
- Child custody
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
- Domestic violence
- Juvenile delinquency
- Child abuse
- Child neglect
- Estates and wills
As you can see, family lawyers cover many different family-based topics. In turn, this means that family attorneys have to be able to handle all of these ups and downs that the typical family goes through.
What Does a Family Lawyer Do?
Because every family goes through plenty of changes, a family lawyer has to be able to help with all of those changes. With a wide range of knowledge, a family lawyer can handle everything from adoption to independence and marriage to divorce.
Let’s walk through each kind of case and cover how a family lawyer can help.
As you may know, divorce is the dissolution of marriage. Because marriage is a legal ceremony, a legal proceeding (divorce) has to take place to undo it. Oftentimes, this involves hiring a divorce lawyer to help you through the legal proceeding.
If you’re going through a divorce, it’s likely that you and your partner are going to disagree on how to split everything up. This may include the following:
- Child support
Working out these details is essential to ensuring that the divorce goes smoothly. If you or your spouse is contesting the terms of the divorce or the divorce itself, you’ll definitely need a family lawyer to represent you in court. They can help you navigate all of the legal jargon and get you everything you’re entitled to.
With this, the family lawyer can help you get through the emotional woes of divorce. From stressing about your children to potentially moving out of your home, divorce takes a heavy toll on both parties. Having strong support from a family attorney can make all of the difference in the courtroom.
Many family lawyers specialize specifically in divorce. These divorce attorneys are experienced in divorce cases and better know how to help you through the ups and downs that are going to come.
Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements
Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are documents that outline what each party gets in the case of a divorce.
Pre-nuptial agreements are created and signed before the marriage even takes place. Often, individuals with many assets will use pre-nuptial agreements to ensure that they aren’t being taken advantage of. If the individual they are about to marry were to call for a divorce, the wealthy individual may lose half of all of their assets.
We should note that pre-nuptial agreements do not include details like child custody and support. This is because a judge cannot declare who has custody of a child or who owes how much to who for that child without knowing the current situation. A couple’s situation could change by the time a divorce comes around.
Post-nuptial agreements are created and signed after a couple is already married. A post-nuptial agreement is the same as a pre-nuptial agreement in that it defines what was to happen to each person’s assets in case of a divorce.
If you’re thinking about pre- or post-nuptial agreements, you need to contact a family lawyer. These professionals can help you draft a document that protects you and your assets in case of a divorce.
They’ll also be able to help you navigate any court hearings or other legal proceedings that may come about in response to the pre- or post-nuptial agreement.
In some cases of divorce, a judge may grant one partner alimony (spousal support). Judges typically do this when they feel that one of the spouses was caring for and providing for another.
For example, a spousal relationship may consist of one breadwinner and one stay-at-home individual. If those two were to get a divorce, the judge may grant the stay-at-home individual alimony from the breadwinner. This is because the stay-at-home individual has been depending on the breadwinner’s income for a certain amount of time.
The amount of alimony that an individual may be entitled to depend on a variety of factors:
- Ability to work
- Accumulated debt
- The behavior of each spouse before and during the divorce
A family attorney can help you come up with the proof that you need in the case of an alimony hearing. Whether you’re asking for alimony payments or believe that you shouldn’t have to provide alimony payments, a family attorney can help you navigate the process.
Child Custody Disputes
Child custody disputes tend to be some of the most dramatic court cases. Whether it’s between a wed or unwed couple, child custody hearings are emotional and even traumatic. This is especially for the child or children involved in the case.
Judges consider several factors before granting child custody to someone:
- They look at which parent has the greatest bond with the child or children in question
- They determine whether or not either parent has conducted any criminal or drug activity
- They evaluate the stability of each home
The more information that the judge can gather on each person, the better suited he or she is to make the best call for the child. If you’re facing a child custody hearing, it’s important that you gather as much positive information as possible about yourself.
A family lawyer can help you with this.
Whether you’re looking to make claims about your partner, defend claims that they have made, or propose a child custody agreement, a family attorney can help you do it. On top of this, a family attorney can help you navigate all of the emotional turmoil that comes with child custody cases.
Child Support Issues
You may have heard of the infamous child support cases. Some parents don’t pay them in full. Some parents don’t pay them at all.
It can become one big nightmare of a court case.
Luckily, a family attorney can help you seek out the money that the other parent owes you or help you prove that you shouldn’t owe anything. No matter which side of the debate you’re on, it’s important to have representation from a family law professional.
The child support situation that you face will depend on the state you live in. In fact, most states have a specific formula that they use to calculate the amount that a parent may owe.
The family attorney can help you gather the information that you need to show the judge. This may include the following:
- An accurate record of your income
- Any healthcare expenses that the child may have
- Deductions that you may be eligible for
If there is a contested child support case, your lawyer can help you gather the information that proves that the other parent isn’t paying their mandated payments. Or, they can help prove that the other parent is hiding resources or intentionally remaining unemployed or underemployed. If you can prove this, then you may be able to get higher child support payments than you were previously getting.
If you’re thinking about adopting a child, this is also a great time to call a family lawyer. Thankfully, adoption is one of the most joyful occasions that family lawyers get to be a part of.
In case of an adoption, family lawyers can help you gather all of the essential paperwork and guide you through the adoption process. Because adoption is such a lengthy process, many families become discouraged. Your family attorney can help you make the process as quick as possible and ensure that you’re checking off all of the boxes along the way.
If something goes wrong, your family lawyer is going to be right there to help you get back on track.
Unfortunately, adopting a child is not an easy process. In fact, some people believe that there is a “legal red tape.” This is the idea that there is an unspoken requirement to hire and have a lawyer helping to guide you through the process.
Investing in a lawyer will make the adoption go quicker while ensuring that things go smoothly along the way.
Cases of Abuse and Neglect
No one wants to think about child abuse or neglect, but it’s a reality that family lawyers must consider. A family attorney can represent the child who a parent allegedly abused or neglected or they may represent the parent who someone accused of abusing and neglecting the child. Also, the lawyer could be representing a parent who was previously under accusation and has now completed the requirements to see or regain custody of the child in question.
One of the biggest benefits of having a family lawyer for these cases is that they can help you navigate the sensitivities that come with a case like this. Many times, the parent incurs automatic blame since they are the older, wiser caregiver. This can lead to problems in cases where abuse and neglect were not actually happening.
Either way, having representation is important. This is especially since the family lawyer can help you with the legal jargon and emotional undertakings of the situation.
Family lawyers also handle cases of domestic violence. These are situations in which one partner makes threats or abuses the other partner.
When representing the partner that incurred abuse or neglect, family attorneys can file restraining orders or orders of protection. In extreme cases, they can help you seek legal justice for what the other partner did.
On the other hand, a family attorney may represent someone who has false allegations against them. In this case, they can help you gather evidence to prove that you haven’t done anything that requires legal repercussions.
Having a family lawyer, in this case, can also assist each party in battling the emotions that come with such a heavy case. Oftentimes, these cases are disheartening and triggering. Having a professional there can help you get through all of the noise.
Estates and Wills
Many people don’t think about estates and wills being legal matters that require the assistance of an attorney. However, many family law professionals work with people on drafting and completing estates and wills. In fact, some family attorneys specialize in legal documentation like this.
A will documents what happens to your assets in the case of your death. An estate includes all of the assets that you’re giving away in the will. The will documents who you’re giving what to, while an estate holds everything that you owed in life.
Family law attorneys can help you craft a strong document that prevents people from taking advantage of your estate when you’re gone. They can help you work out the legal jargon that comes with these kinds of documents and ensure that your estate is going to whom you want it to go to.
Call a Family Lawyer
So, what does a family lawyer do? In short, family lawyers work with a plethora of different cases that may occur over a family’s lifetime.
From child support to adoption and child abuse to child custody, a family lawyer can help you through the legal and emotional turmoil. If you believe that you may be dealing with one of the cases that we’ve discussed, get into contact with a family lawyer as soon as possible.