What Does a Family Law Attorney Do?
In divorce cases, seeking benefits in a domestic partnership, and civil union dissolution, there are many cases you need the help of a family law attorney. These attorneys are lawyers that specialized in family laws. They can act as your representative in courts, help you get custody of your child, and find the correct way to get the child support payments you were promised. Down below, we will see what you need to know about a family law attorney and the top 5 questions you need to ask them when you are going to hire one. Keep on reading here:
First thing first, what a family law attorney does can be confusing for some people. So, we should touch on that. A family law attorney can offer you many services that you will need in many critical situations. In order to make things a bit easier to understand, let’s have a look at these services.
Family Law Attorney Services on Marriage and Divorce
A family law attorney can help you with many problems that can occur in a marriage or during a divorce process. And, these services include the examples below;
As you know, divorce is the process of legally dissolving a marriage either in an agreement of spouses or wanted by only one side. Your family law attorney is the first place you would go to ask for help on a divorce.
In some cases after the divorce one of the spouses is ordered to pay a certain amount of financial support to the other side. These payments are called Alimony. These payments are not standard practice for all divorce cases. So, if one side of the marriage has extensively higher incomes, the other side can request alimony by working with a family law attorney.
Annulment is a way to cancel a new marriage. But this process is different from divorce. Annulment is only possible in cases of force. incest, bigamy, underage, or misrepresentation. And with this process, the marriage gets legally accepted as if it has never happened. Couples can consult a family law attorney for guidance during this process.
● Prenuptial agreements:
When two individuals who will be married soon have some investments, properties, or high income, they might want to draft an agreement to keep peace of mind just in case of a possible disagreement in the marriage in the future. These kinds of agreements are called Prenuptial agreements, and a family law attorney can help you with these agreements. Although typically both sides work with separate lawyers, it is also possible for the sides to make an agreement together with the help of a family lawyer.
Family Law Lawyer Services on Child Custody and Child Support
Family law attorneys do not only help you in marriage and divorce cases, but they are also experts in child-related family law cases. What this means is that married, divorced, or unmarried parents may have disagreements about their children. Child-related services your lawyer can offer you include the examples below;
Paternity cases are the cases that are established in order to determine the father of a child legally. Family law attorneys can help both fathers and mothers with paternity cases for seeking their rights and the benefits of the children. Depending on the disagreements paternity cases can become a part of both child support and child custody cases as well.
● Child custody:
In cases of premarital pregnancies or divorces with children involved, parents of a child may have disputes on who will hold the custody of the child. While the custody can be shared between parents, holding the custody will give the ability to make decisions in the child’s life such as religious practices, education, and health care. The court may decide the child to live with one or both parents, as well as if the parent who doesn’t live with the child will have the right to visit their child. A family law attorney can help you get the final order you prefer in such courts.
● Child Support:
After a child custody case, the parent who holds custody of the child will receive monthly child support payments from the other parent. This rule is defined by the laws. While the court determines the amount of these support payments, a family law attorney can help to convince the court to give a child support order for the desired details, such as the way the support amount is calculated.
Family Law Attorney Services on Adoption
Another service a family law attorney can offer to individuals is help in the process of adopting a child. The process of adoption with different adoption types can be both complicated and exhausting. So, the services of a family law attorney are mostly necessary. The services your lawyer can offer for adoption can help you in the adoption types below;
● Agency adoptions:
This kind of adoption is consist of the arrangements made between adopting parents with their family law attorney and an adoption agency.
● Private adoptions:
Private adoptions are arranged between adopting parent and the birth parent directly. In this type of adoption, the importance of the family law attorney increases even more because of the complex legal paperwork that is necessary.
● Identified adoptions:
These adoptions are something between the previous two types. With the Identified adoption process, both adopting parents and birth parents make an application to an intermediary agency.
● International adoptions:
This is the type of adoption in which adoptive parents adopt a child who comes from another country for adoption. This type requires some different bits of help from a family law attorney since this adoption process also includes the immigration visa for the child.
Family Law Attorney Services on Domestic Violence
As you should be well aware, some marriages have more physical problems than others. Some individuals act violently in their families. This domestic violence sometimes can be focused on only the other spouse, sometimes the target of the violence can be only the children, and sometimes both spouses and children can be getting harm from it.
No matter who is the target of domestic violence, individuals who experience it should find a family law attorney who can help them as soon as possible. A family law attorney helps individuals by filing all the necessary petitions for protection orders, divorce, order child custody requests, as well as getting direct help from the police.
Top 5 Questions to Ask a Family Law Attorney
When you are going to hire a family law attorney, you may contact many lawyers. But, you shouldn’t hire the first or cheapest one you find for your case. As we mentioned earlier, these lawyers can help you in many cases that are severely important in your family life. So, this is a crucial decision that can determine some aspects of your future.
What you need to do while choosing a family law attorney is to interview all those individuals you contacted before deciding whom you will work with. During these interviews, you will have a chance to come and ask questions to the lawyers. These questions should be short enough to be asked and answered in a short time. But also the answers to these questions need to give a thorough idea about the capabilities of the family law attorney you may choose to hire.
Well, what are the optimal questions to ask in such interviews? Down below, you will find some optimal questions to ask a family law attorney which can help you decide;
1- “How Experienced You Are in Family Laws?”
The experience of a lawyer in family law is the most important information you need to know. You would need to be sure that your family law attorney is familiar with family law cases such as divorce or custody. The knowledge and the experience together are the key in such cases. Of course, even a lawyer that has not worked in family law cases before still might be knowledgeable about family laws by theory as well.
However, they wouldn’t have experienced the intricacies that may occur in such cases. Therefore, although it might be okay to hire a lawyer who is inexperienced in family laws but that you believe is a good lawyer overall can solve your problems, you may prefer to work with a properly experienced family law attorney just to be sure.
2- “How Many Cases Similar Mine Have You Handled?”
Many lawyers can say that they have dealt with an impressively large number of cases in the past. However, what is actually important is the number of cases they handled that was similar in detail to your current case. While a lawyer may have dozens of successful cases in their portfolio, your specific situation may change many things.
If a family law attorney handled only a few cases similar to your case, because of the complex nature of family laws, they still miss some points during the process. Even when a family law attorney tells you that they have been involved in numerous cases just like yours, you should also ask how many times in those cases they represented their client in a trial. This detail by itself also makes a huge difference, especially when your case has the potential to last for a long time.
3- “How Long Does It Take For You To Respond To Phone Calls And Emails?”
You may not think about this detail right away but the time it takes to reach your family law attorney especially during a critical case matters a lot. Usually, as long as lawyers responses the questions asked via emails or phone calls within a day you can consider it acceptable. Still, you should ask family law attorneys about this detail before choosing one to hire so you can compare them.
Also, you should ask about their preferred way of contacting clients. Both methods of communication (as in emails, phone calls, or messaging apps) and the frequency or regular updates (it can be daily, weekly, or only when it is needed).
4- “Do you handle my case yourself, or does someone else do that?”
Some family law attorneys work with a team of lawyers that helps them in multiple cases at once. Sometimes the lawyer you hire deploys another lawyer from their team for your case. So, no matter how experienced or confident the family law attorney you interviewed is, your case gets handled by a lawyer you don’t know.
Although family law attorneys that work with a team are usually more affordable for limited budgets, the lawyer from the team who will handle your case can even be an inexperienced one. This may not be what you want. Therefore, it is important to ask family law attorneys if they will handle your case themselves when you interview them.
5- “How will you charge me, and can you give me an estimate cost?”
There are different ways that a family law attorney can charge a client. Some lawyers charge you hourly rates, while others will charge you a flat fee. You should learn about the way you will pay before deciding to work with a family law attorney.
Also, in most cases, there will be many additional costs. So, it is important to ask a lawyer about the estimated cost of your case during your interview. Especially a family law attorney that works with flat fees may include such expenses in their fees. And, if they charge you with time, like hourly rates, you must ask about the lawyer’s estimation of the time your case can last and the potential end cost for you.
After reading this article, if you want to learn more about family law lawyers, I recommend you to read the articles on this site. You can learn something new about it in many articles. Also, if you come across law firm links in the article, remember that they can provide you with the most up-to-date information.