Photo From unsplash
Originally Posted On: https://www.hartley-lawoffice.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-family-law
Family law is the field of law that focuses on issues that have to do with family relationships (e.g. adoption, divorce, child custody, etc.). When you’re looking for a family law attorney, you’re looking for someone who can represent you in these types of negotiations and court proceedings. These are areas of the law that your lawyer may even choose to specialize in.
What does a family attorney do?
There are many different types of lawyers, each specializing in their own niche area of the law. When a lawyer specializes in family law, they are specializing in the following areas:
● Divorce is the dissolution of the marriage contract. A lawyer is the one who’s responsible for helping you navigate the complex support system so that you receive everything you’re entitled to when it comes to assets, property, alimony, and child support.
● Adoptions require a lot of paperwork that a lawyer will help you legalize as soon as possible.
● Child custody and support depends on things like a parental bond, criminal or drug activity, and the home’s stability. Lawyers work to create these documents, or if the case goes to court, to present all documents necessary for making a decision.
● Pre- and post-nuptial agreements are contracts that specify who gets what if there’s a divorce. These things are outlined in a pre-nuptial agreement prior to marriage. If the couple decides to make such an agreement once they’re married, it’s known as a post-nuptial agreement.
● Alimony (a.k.a. spousal support) depends on things like income, the person’s ability to work, and the level of joint debt accumulated. The lawyer is responsible for providing the court with all the documents that are needed for making such a decision.
When you should see a family attorney
Deciding whether you need a family lawyer can be somewhat challenging. However, there are four times when you should definitely seek their advice, including:
● It’s tricky to navigate your way through a divorce because there are so many laws and moving parts surrounding this preceding. Decisions need to be made regarding assets, alimony, and child support. An attorney can make sure that your rights are protected, the proceedings go as planned, and you get everything you’re entitled to.
● When you’re going through adoption, you’ll want to make sure that everything is done correctly so that there aren’t any delays.
● Child custody is often contentious and messy without a lawyer involved to help resolve any issues that may arise.
Why you should hire a family attorney
The family court system is difficult to navigate, especially if you haven’t been properly educated on how to do so. You’ll want a family law attorney to help with advocacy and protection here. This is why you’ll want someone who has worked to get favorable results in cases that are similar to yours. They’ll be able to use their knowledge and experience when filling out filing paperwork on your behalf.
As your case makes its way through the courts, there will be lots of such paperwork that will need to be signed and filed. If you try to take care of this yourself, you’ll easily grow overwhelmed. Additionally, you should know that a judge can choose to exclude any and all documents that haven’t been drafted correctly.
What to expect when visiting a family attorney
Now that you understand the important role of a family lawyer in the family court system, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for your initial meeting with this attorney. While this initial consultation is designed as a session for you to get to know the lawyer and decide whether you want to hire them, there are still some things you should do in preparation for it including:
● Make a list of your questions so you remember to ask them.
● Make notes of any information that’s important for your attorney to know. Regardless of how embarrassing or insignificant it may seem to you, it’s important to share it with your attorney so they’re prepared to help you.
● Gather any relevant documents (e.g. anything that’s been filed with the court, birth certificates, marriage certificates, cell phone texts, audio or video recordings, photos, emails, etc.). Make copies of these things and give the copies to your lawyer.
How much does a family attorney cost?
There are many factors that must be considered in determining the cost of an attorney. Things like your location and the lawyer’s level of experience are important considerations here. While fees may vary greatly depending upon these things, most attorneys will charge around $250 per hour.
Most attorneys will also require you to pay what’s known as a retainer fee. You can think of this as a down payment for services that will be rendered. Once paid, the attorney will then deduct from this fee as he works on your case for you.
Checking on credentials
Now that you’re somewhat familiar with this area of the law, you’ll want to make sure that you choose the best lawyer to fit your needs. With this in mind, there are a few things you should expect from an attorney before you decide to hire them to work on your case. Some of the qualifications you should look for include:
● They should have a bachelor’s degree in law along with a license from your state’s Bar Association stating that they are permitted to practice law in the state that you’re living in.
● You’ll want a lawyer who’s experienced in practicing law. It’s a good idea to look for someone who has at least three years of experience here. You should also see what types of cases they’ve dealt with in the past as someone who’s familiar and successful with cases that are similar to yours will get you the best results.
● Besides education, you’ll want to make sure they have good interpersonal and communication skills, they are organized, and they have good negotiation skills.