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When to Hire a Family Lawyer

Family law encompasses a variety of issues that arise within family relationships, such as domestic partnerships, civil unions, marriages, adoptions, divorces, and child custody and support enforcement. While no law in the US states you must have legal representation when appearing in a court case, doing so without an attorney representing your interests could be a big mistake. Court procedures, timelines for filings and document production, etc., can derail the simplest of cases, even if you feel you are right and deem your case to be straightforward.

Other common family law problems include annulments, spousal support and alimony payments, visitation rights, parental responsibility orders, property settlements, paternity determination, legitimacy, spousal or child abuse, surrogacy, grandparent visitation, child abduction, and prenuptial agreements. You need to hire a family lawyer when these situations create unresolvable conflicts.

Family Law Attorneys

During consultations with your attorney, you will recognize the value of their expertise. They will be able to characterize your unique situation within the context of the state law in which you live and propose legal actions that resolve your family issue to your best advantage. When you are likely experiencing enormous emotional strain, your lawyer will focus on properly filing the required paperwork and forms and meeting deadlines before appearing in court to represent you.

You may need to meet a few family law attorneys before hiring a specific one. Consultation meetings typically help you find out more about the lawyer’s background and experience, their credentials, the success rate of their family law cases, and if they have court experience in the specific area of family law you need. It would be best if you also choose a lawyer with whom you have a level of comfort, allowing you to communicate openly and honestly. Since family law matters hit home, retaining a trusted attorney ensures you and your loved ones receive proper representation and protection during legal proceedings.

Divorce, Arbitration, and Counseling

If a couple determines they wish to end their marriage via a divorce, they each hire an attorney who will best represent their interests. In some states, like North Carolina, you must be legally separated for one calendar year, not living together before a judge grants a divorce. Each state has its own set of family laws, and while there are many similarities, it is important to retain the services of an attorney who practices in the state where you live.

Married couples may also have problems requiring resolution, but that doesn’t always have to lead to divorce. A family law attorney can help you resolve issues by advising a couple of the state laws and counseling them to a place where each party may be able to negotiate an agreeable solution. Arbitration is a very useful step to take and may help a family system remain intact rather than seeking divorce outright. Many practicing family lawyers will tell you that divorce when you have children doesn’t necessarily solve problems; it changes them. This wise observation is especially true when both parents want to remain active participants in their children’s lives.

The Most Common Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney

Divorce – Family law attorneys will say the most common issue facing couples is the dissolution of marriage or partnerships. The problems that come forward have immediate and long-range consequences. Solving these conflicts properly, at the outset, is a best practice for all involved. A sound dissolution of a partnership, marital or otherwise, can keep ex-partners from re-litigating, saving them money and heartache for all families involved. Retaining a family lawyer who is well-versed in contested divorce matters can ensure a smoother divorce, including child custody, support and visitation, and property division. Attorney experience in litigating these matters is important if the case can’t settle out of court.

Guardianship – If a parent(s) can’t adequately care for and rear their child, a guardian may be required to make adult decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. Depending on the parents’ circumstances, child protective services may become involved. Another family member may be appointed guardian, and the child(ren) may reside with them in more dire circumstances. If a minor child’s guardianship is required, the family law court system will prioritize the child’s needs over all else.

Domestic Abuse – If your partner is mistreating you emotionally or physically, you can have a family lawyer outline all precautions you need to follow to keep you and your child(ren) safe. Documenting and reporting abuse creates a timeline that your attorney can use when making your case to the court for relief. Domestic abuse is always a unique and complex set of circumstances. Following the advice of a family attorney well-versed in abuse matters can bring needed change to abusive situations.

Child Adoption – Adopting a child is a great act of humanity; however, it is most successful when accomplished legally. When you choose to adopt, a family attorney can ensure the adoption process runs smoothly.

While these four situations are the more common reasons to retain family lawyer representation, this sector of family law practice covers a full range of aspects and situations. Your family attorney can advise you about your situation, how it relates to the laws of your state, and the likelihood of success in pursuing your goals. Your lawyer will provide discovery and file all necessary documents and findings according to the family court schedules. Whether you need a mediator to achieve positive change in a family situation or require representation in court in a case of conflict, an experienced family law attorney can help you achieve your goals. Please contact our Houston office today at (713) 582-5088 or schedule a consultation to discuss your legal matters.

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