Family Law Attorney: What Is It and When Do You Need One?
A recent study found that almost 50% of all marriages will end in divorce or separation. Serious family conflicts, whether it’s a divorce proceeding or a custody agreement, should have a family lawyer present.
Here’s why: a lawyer can help your legal case by advocating for you legally and negotiating for your needs. Since they understand the ins and outs of the family and child law, they’ll be able to give you advice on how to proceed.
If you’re not sure what cases they take or how they operate, don’t worry; we have the answers. You can learn all about family law, from what a family attorney does to when to hire one.
Now, are you ready to get started? Here’s an in-depth look at family attorneys:
What Is a Family Law Attorney?
As the term suggests, a family law attorney handles cases that impact families. Generally, they specialize in matters such as divorce proceedings, which include not only the divorce, but also child custody (called timesharing in Florida), alimony, and equitable distribution of all marital assets and debts. It can also include paternity cases (cases where 2 parents are not married and need to determine timesharing, child support, and parental responsibilities for the child), as well as child adoption cases.
However, some family lawyers dive into criminal law. Those who do handle cases regarding domestic abuse, child abuse, and juvenile delinquency.
Commonly their workload consists of drafting legally binding documents such as custody agreements, prenups, and wills. Although they also engage in litigation to fight on behalf of their client.
Through litigation, attorneys will help support their clients and work to fulfill their client’s needs. Whether that’s getting a settlement on the client’s behalf or suing another party, family attorneys go out of their way to find a solution for you.
When to Hire a Family Attorney?
When you have family disputes, you need someone in your corner to advocate for you. Whether it be drafting a divorce petition or fighting for your rights, a family law attorney will always have your back. So when you believe you have an issue on your hands, hire a lawyer.
Here are the times a family attorney can help you:
1. When You Have Family Problems
No one knows you like your family does, and because of that, some of the most intimate conflicts come from family disputes. Family issues can range from simple prenups to long custody battles. So here are the most common family issues family lawyers see:
Once you know you want a divorce, hire a family attorney immediately. After all, family lawyers help resolve divorces year-round, meaning they’re not only experienced, but they understand how to help with challenging cases. Once you hire a family attorney, they’ll help you through each step of the divorce process.
They’ll start with gathering useful information such as income tax records, marital debt, assets, as well as property valuations. Then they’ll draft a petition of divorce and help you negotiate on matters like child custody agreements and child support settlements.
Plus, they’ll even help divide your property, assets, and financials through calm negotiation or court litigation. Once everything is agreed upon, they’ll help you obtain a final divorce decree, which establishes you two as officially divorced.
Adopting a child is not an easy feat; however, with a family lawyer by your side, it can make the process a lot less difficult. A family lawyer will help you gather important information that you need to submit to the court. For example, they’ll help you collect income taxes, health information, past criminal history, and even your licensing information to adopt a child.
A family lawyer will then present these documents to the court as well as help you present personal statements to the judge. Once the judge rules in your favor, your lawyer will obtain an adoption decree that declares the child is officially adopted into your family. Then, your child will receive a new birth certificate which will replace the original for all legal purposes.
When a child is born to parents that aren’t married, making the biological father the legal father can be slow and complicated. However, with a lawyer in your corner, the process will be a lot easier. They’ll help you every step of the way, starting with filing a paternity case.
The father can either consent to being the legal father or be forced to take a DNA test. Once paternity is confirmed, negotiations will start about custody, child support, and visitation rights.
Generally, lawyers will ask you for information that is pertinent to the case, such as proof of employment, proof of residency, as well as income taxes. Plus, they’ll ask you to hand over any evidence you may have, like text messages or emails that showcase the father either neglecting his role or abusing it. That way, the judge can see all angles of the case, and your lawyer can further fight for you and your family.
2. When Estate Planning and Arranging a Will
Estate planning is long and tedious on your own, but with the help of a lawyer, the process is easy and straightforward. A family law lawyer will start off by setting up a trust for your beneficiaries and help you determine a guardian for your minor children.
Then your lawyer will write your wishes down in the form of a living will or a general will. Health matters like DNR, life support, or organ donation will all be clearly listed and explained. Serious matters like funeral arrangements and your wishes for your property, assets, and other financials will be clearly detailed and written out.
Your lawyer will have you sign it and then have it notarized. At any time, if you want to change, whether you’re removing an individual or adding to it, all you have to do is contact your family attorney. That way, if you suddenly pass, your family understands your final wishes, and there is no confusion around the matter.
3. Forming Domestic Partnerships
A domestic partnership is a relationship between two people who have marriage rights but are not married. For a domestic partnership to be legal, it must be notarized. A family lawyer can help you through each step of this process; that way, you’re not confused.
Your lawyer will begin by collecting information such as proof of residence, proof of employment, as well as your bank statements. Once a lawyer ensures all laws are met, they’ll notarize the declaration of domestic partnership, and you’ll officially be in a civil union.
4. Filing Documents
Family lawyers are known for filing divorces and planning estates, but many people don’t know that they also file important family documents. For example, they can file a power of attorney or draft a health care proxy. These documents give another person legal permission to act on someone’s behalf.
Whether it be for an ailing relative or a mentally incompetent loved one, your attorney can help you with completing these documents. The lawyer will start by collecting information about the type of powers you need. For instance, if you want a general power of attorney or need one that’s focused only on financials or health decisions.
They’ll put it in writing, have you sign it, and then file it, if necessary. That way, the process goes quickly, so you can use those legal powers when you need them.
Hire a Family Attorney Today
Hiring a family attorney can be a difficult decision, but it can help you tremendously. Since family lawyers focus on matters that impact family life, they can give you counsel, advocate on your behalf, and even help file important documents.
They take cases involving divorce, child custody, adoption, and guardianships. Plus, they’ll even write wills and help you plan your estate.
At the end of the day, a family lawyer is needed to help settle these conflicts and family disputes. That’s why we at Olivero Law take great pride in advocating for our clients in any type of situation. We want to find solutions to provide you with justice and peace.
Now, if you have any questions or need more information regarding family law, contact us today. We look forward to helping you!