When most people think about family lawyer or family law, the first thing that pops into their heads is divorce. And that makes sense, because this is definitely one of the most common family situations where you may need experienced legal advice.
By divorce is far from the only reason why you might want a family law attorney. But before we get into that, let’s take a moment to look a bit deeper into what family law actually entails and why a lawyer with this background and knowledge can be so useful.
What does a family law attorney do? A family lawyer deals in situations that arise between individuals with a familial relationship, either by blood or through marriage. This can include husbands and wives, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren, guardians, or domestic partners. Family law allows members of a family to settle disputes in a non-legislative context, while retaining the judicial power of the government to enforce the matters. What kinds of matters are we talking about? Below you’ll find five familial situations where you might decide you need a lawyer.
Divorce and Legal Separation. Since divorce is fairly common in this country (though not as common as you’d think), much of the cases seen in family courts deal with divorces and legal separations. In this situation, your family law attorney will help you outline a plan before the divorce actually occurs. Responsibilities include dividing up joint property, agreeing on child support and alimony payments, and organizing custody.
If a disagreement arises between you and your spouse over any of these matters, you may be required to appear in a family court to settle the logistics of your divorce. In this situation, a family law attorney will help you prepare your case and argue on your behalf in court. Many family lawyers end up doing both.
Custody and Child Support. Children are often a tense subject during a divorce. In addition to counseling you on legal elements of custody law, your attorney will likely work with your spouse’s attorney in an attempt to negotiate a custody and child support plan. Again, in a disagreement over these matters, a family lawyer will represent you in court and build a case on your behalf.
Family lawyers can also provide valuable legal counsel when you need to amend existing child support payments or custody schedules.
Adoption. Not all of family law deals with conflicting and stressful situations. If you wish to adopt a child, a family lawyer can help walk you through the legal elements of adoptions. It can be a complicated process to navigate the legal system of adoption, and experienced legal counsel can help you every step of the way.
Domestic violence. Even more than divorce, violence has a way of upending the family structure and altering lives forever. Whether you have been the victim of domestic violence or a loved one has accused you of acting violently against them, it is imperative that you work with a family lawyer who has experience in civil domestic violence cases.
He or she will be able to advise you on your rights, help you to get out of a dangerous situation, and make sure that you understand all of the consequences and what you can do to prevent them and protect your family.
Paternity. Single mothers looking to identify and/or obtain child support payments from the father of their child often will use family law representation in family courts. The same is true for fathers looking to protect their rights regarding children born out of wedlock. These are complex matters, and a good family law attorney should be able to help you obtain the ideal outcome for your unique situation.
Looking for family law counsel in Florida? The legal team at the Florida Family Law Clinic offers compassionate counsel at a price you can afford—contact us today.