When we see lawyers on television or in movies, typically they are handling criminal cases – either prosecuting “bad guys” or defending people who have been wrongfully accused. Because of this, that is what we picture when we think of a lawyer. However, there are all different types of lawyers out there, and they can assist you with a wide variety of legal problems.
But what about family lawyers? What exactly do they do, and how can they help you?
Generally speaking, family lawyers deal with domestic issues – things such as divorce, adoption, and child custody, just to name a few. Why do you need a family lawyer to handle these kinds of situations?
An Objective Voice, a Clear Understanding of the Law
Family lawyers are valuable to have on your side for two main reasons.
The first is that they can counsel you in an objective way when you are in the middle of a situation full of overwhelming emotions. In other words, a domestic situation.
Left to your own devices, it’s all too easy to make a bad decision based on how you feel when you are dealing with things like marriage, divorce, paternity, and domestic violence. But a good family lawyer will not get caught up in the emotional nature of what you’re going through, and they’ll do their best to keep you from making choices based on emotion.
Second, while creating a prenup or working out visitation rights may not seem as dramatic as fighting a criminal charge, there are still all kinds of things that can go wrong if you do not understand what you are doing. Family law is complicated, so it helps immeasurably to have someone on your side familiar with all of the nuances and potential pitfalls. Skilled family attorneys make sure that their clients understand exactly what they are agreeing to and don’t make errors that could negatively impact their future or their relationship with loved ones.
What are some of the specific ways family lawyers help?
Domestic Issues Involving Children
Whether you’re adopting a partner’s child or working out child custody after a split, family lawyers can help make a stressful situation easier to manage.
Many people cannot or choose to not have biological children, and instead desire to adopt. A family lawyer can help protect the family from abuses, clear up the paperwork, and make the process go as smoothly as possible.
Adopting is an exciting and emotional time, and it’s very easy to get discouraged when things fall through. A family lawyer can also draft agreements between surrogate or birth parents and adoptive parents, so nothing is left to interpretation.
Adoption often requires an evaluation of your family and housing situation, and having a family lawyer can help take the logistics off your hands. The paperwork is handled, the agency has a professional person to contact, and loopholes in contracts and agreements can be worked out. This way, you’re more likely to have an adoption go through, in addition to saving yourself time and cutting down on stress.
Relationship Issues Involving the Law
Besides divorce, prenups, and post-nups, they also can help with domestic partnerships and cohabitation agreements if you’re not getting married. This helps set things up if you are a committed couple who doesn’t want to marry, but still wants to ensure benefits are provided in the event of injury or death. This also applies to same-sex couples who decide not to get married, but need more legal counseling on benefits, insurance, and so on.
Family lawyers also work on domestic violence cases. Whether you’re a victim of domestic abuse or you have been wrongfully accused by a loved one, a family lawyer can help you during this very traumatic and scary time. They can also help in cases of termination of parental rights, emancipation, and establishing children as wards of the state in the event of abuse.
When you use a family lawyer in domestic abuse cases, you’re also adding an extra protection. This way, the family lawyer will know how best to proceed to ensure that you and your family are taken care of while remaining safe. They also can help deal with courts and the judge during hearings and court appearances, and have a higher rate of success than those who represent themselves.