Nobody ever anticipates needing a lawyer – especially to settle a family matter. But sometimes an experienced attorney is the perfect solution to a less than desirable situation. The key is knowing when to hire one.
What Do Family Lawyers Do?
As the name suggests, family law is a niche within the legal industry that focuses on issues involving family relationships.
“Most family lawyers represent clients in divorce proceedings and other matters related to divorce,” FindLaw.com mentions. “But family law is a relatively broad practice area, including such issues as foster care and reproductive rights. Since family law matters hit so close to home, having a trusted legal professional by your side can help you ensure your loved ones are properly represented and protected during any legal process.”
Family law often intersects with other areas of law. So there’s a good chance that you’ll eventually find yourself in a position where you need the services of a good attorney.
5 Situations When You Should Hire a Family Law Attorney
If you’ve never hired an attorney before, you might not know when to begin your search. Here are some situations where hiring a family law attorney is the right move:
Emotional Decision Making
Because of the personal nature of family issues, it’s tempting to want to handle things internally. However, this isn’t always the best course of action.
“Family law decisions based on emotion can be destructive for your financial well-being, as well as for future relationships,” Jimeno & Gray explains. “This makes it essential to have an experienced team of family law attorneys on your side.”
If emotions are escalating in a family situation, it’s wise to hit the pause button and seek legal counsel. A failure to respond quickly enough could destroy your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
There are, on average, more than three-quarter of a million divorces in the United States each year. And over time, approximately one out of every two marriages will end with a divorce decree. And while these numbers have actually been dropping in recent years, the importance of carefully navigating a divorce has never been more important.
Whether you’re being blindsided by your spouse, the split is mutual, or you’re the one begging to get out, hiring a family law attorney is a must. A good attorney will protect your best interests and reduce your chances of getting the raw end of a bad deal.
Sometimes you need to split from your spouse, but aren’t confident that divorce is the appropriate next step. In these cases, a legal separation may be the preferred choice.
By hiring a family law attorney, you’re freed up to use your emotional energy on things that matter – like supporting your children and starting the psychological healing process.
Child Custody Agreements
When children are involved in a divorce or separation, things get a little stickier. The stakes are higher and emotions tend to guide decision making. If you’re in a situation involving child custody, hiring a family law attorney is the smart move.
While the goal is always to ensure the children are protected and that their best interests are accounted for, it’s also important to fight for your own rights so that you’re able to maximize the time you spend with your kids.
If you and/or your partner are going into a marriage with considerable assets or complicated estates, a prenuptial agreement can help protect financial best interests. A good family law attorney will help ensure you sign an agreement that’s fair and favorable.
Family law attorneys can also help with postnuptial agreements, which are simply legal documents that spell out the provisions of spousal support or division of property should there ever be a separation or divorce in the future. (Since postnuptial agreements are so sensitive, you’ll definitely want to include an attorney with good soft skills.)
Protect Your Best Interests
The family law niche is highly competitive. In large cities and urban areas, you’ll find hundreds of different attorneys and firms advertising their services. The key is to choose the right one. Do your due diligence and look for family law attorneys who are experienced, specialized, and ethical.
You want someone who is honest and transparent, yet aggressive when it comes to fighting for your rights.
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