If you have family or other special needs in your life, you know that finding the right legal counsel can take time and lots of effort. Family law is a field that is particularly complex and because it deals with so many issues, you'll want to find a family law attorney who knows all the ins and outs. Fortunately, you don't need to spend hours on the phone with each family law attorney you interview; instead, follow these tips and you'll find a highly competent attorney in no time at all.
Choosing a family law attorney
Interview several potential candidates. You want to feel comfortable with your potential family law attorney, one who has the same values as you do and who values the time that you have available to help you sort through all of your legal issues. Many qualified attorneys are also very willing to be interviewed for short informational interviews, which are helpful and informative. (You can also make this connection by way of a family member or close friend.)
Find out what specific legal issues your prospective attorney focuses on. While every state has its own laws about family law issues like adoption, divorce, custody, spousal support, and child support, your family law attorney will be knowledgeable about a few critical areas. For example, should you have questions about the process of granting temporary custody or temporary alimony, the Family Law Attorney your interview will probably be familiar with state and federal laws about those particular issues.
Get a written offer from your potential attorney. Always get a written offer before you sign on the bottom line. This will give you a chance to read over the document and ask pointed questions. In fact, some family law cases are settled without ever getting to the initial consultation, because the lawyers may feel that they won't be able to help you sufficiently. It's always best to be as thorough as possible when it comes to your initial consultation.
Handling child custody and spousal support
Find out if your potential family law attorney attorneys handle child custody and/or spousal support cases. (It may be wise to inquire about these additional areas when interviewing an attorney.) Child custody and/or spousal support, as you may know, are very important issues in a divorce case, and they are the subject of many Second Chance Marriages books and websites. (The U.S. Constitution grants a right to the children of separated couples for a period of time after the divorce for certain reasons.) Ask your prospective attorney about his/her experience dealing with child custody and spousal support issues.
If you have already hired one of the more reputable attorneys, then ask about his/her experience dealing with your specific legal issues. Ask specifically how many cases he/she has had in the area of your legal issue. (A good rule of thumb is: A family law attorney who has never handled your specific issue before is not an appropriate choice!) You may also want to request information about specific family law attorneys who deal with your specific legal issues such as alimony payments, custody, child support, and/or bankruptcy.
Family lawyers are specialized legal practitioners who specialize in matters relating to family law. They deal with legal matters dealing with members of the extended family. These include child custody, divorce, and guardianship amongst many others. They also work with matters which affect people who have different relationships to the family including those involving adoption and same-sex relationships. The family law profession is particularly important today given the increasing diversity of family structures and relationships that exist.
Different types of family law attorneys
There are many different types of family law attorneys. Some specialize in practicing in specific areas of family law while others provide general legal services to all clients who require such legal assistance. For instance, family law attorneys who practice exclusively in divorce proceedings may focus their efforts on helping divorced couples negotiate for fair and just resolutions to their differences. In instances where a couple has been married for some time and there are children involved in the divorce proceedings, family law attorneys will help to protect the interests of the children involved and ensure that their welfare is not threatened in any way as a result of the divorce. This can include making sure that the children are able to live with both parents in their respective homes as well as ensuring that the custodial parent obtains any visitation rights that the children may have with the other parent.
Another area that falls under the expertise of a family law attorney is that of adoption. Adoption involves the legal rights of both individuals and their families with regard to the subject of adoption. This can include the right to adoption records, which can sometimes be controlled by family laws in certain regions or countries. There can also be a number of legal protections granted to adopted children in the country of origin including immunities and legal protections as related to worker compensation and health benefits provided to employees who are adopted. Other legal issues that may concern adopted children include those surrounding the issue of paternity and identifying the legal status of birth mother and father.
Handling divorce cases
Divorce is yet another area that falls under the expertise of a family law attorney. When a married individual and/or couple are seeking a divorce and either party is seeking a legal separation or dissolution of the marriage, a divorce lawyer may be consulted. These lawyers specialize in dealing with the legalities involved in divorce proceedings, and they deal with everything from alimony payments to child support arrangements to any marital property settlements that have to do with the dissolution of a marriage. A divorcing couple may seek the advice of these lawyers in order to determine if they should proceed with a divorce proceeding or if they can work out an amicable settlement that satisfies their needs. These lawyers will also be familiar with any issues surrounding abuse, spousal support, child support and other types of legal issues related to a divorce.
Lawyers who specialize in family law may also be consulted when a couple is considering getting married again after having divorced. If there was a prenuptial agreement in place at the time of the divorce, an attorney may be called in to discuss the details of that agreement and to assist the couple in coming up with an agreeable plan to continue their relationship. In some instances, a couple agrees to marry again despite having been divorced, but they may not be willing to enter into a prenuptial agreement in the present tense because they feel they have "lost" the previous relationship. In those situations, the family law attorney may be able to help the couple create a new prenup agreement that they can later file with the courts. The same is true if the divorce happened due to abuse or domestic violence; an attorney may be needed to help the couple draw up a signed release of their legal rights to prevent the division of their assets or to get them the compensation they are entitled to their suffering.
As you can see, family lawyers have a lot to offer in the way of legal assistance. These professionals are committed to ensuring that their clients receive all of the legal representation they are entitled to, regardless of whether they have committed a crime or are involved in some other legal matter. They help their clients solve their problems, ensuring that justice is served and that everyone involved is treated with fairness and respect. For this reason, family lawyers have a very important role to play in our society.
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