The word itself can be a little scary, but most people don’t know what it means. Family law is the branch of civil law that deals with family matters such as marriage and divorce. It also covers things like child custody, adoption, parental rights and responsibilities, domestic violence or abuse issues, estate planning for married couples who have children from previous relationships, and much more. If you’re dealing with any of these issues, then you might need the services of a family lawyer. This article will discuss these areas of work as well as give you some idea of what to expect in terms of cost and representation.
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1. Estates and Wills
One big area that family lawyers deal with is estate planning. This can be anything from drafting a will to setting up a trust. When a person dies, their estate is divided up and passed on to their beneficiaries. If there is no will, then the state will decide how to divide up the assets. This can often lead to family disputes. So if you were wondering what a probate attorney does, they help to handle the estate of a person who has died. A lawyer can also help you set up a trust, which is a legal document that appoints someone to manage your assets for you. This is a particularly good idea if you have children from a previous relationship who you want to protect in the event of your death.
Divorce is another big area that family lawyers deal with. In most states, you need to have grounds for divorce, such as adultery or abandonment. Once you have the grounds, you need to file a petition with the court. The petition will start the divorce process. After that, you will need to deal with things like child custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets. A family lawyer can help you with all of these things. They will also represent you in court and help to ensure that you get a fair settlement.
3. Child Custody
When parents get divorced, one of the most important issues that they need to deal with is child custody. Who will the child live with? How often will the other parent see the child? Will one parent have sole custody or will it be joint custody? These are all important questions that need to be answered. A family attorney can help you to negotiate a custody agreement that is fair for both parents and the child. They will also help with any visitation schedules and make sure that the agreement is legally binding.
4. Dividing Property
Another common issue that family lawyers deal with is dividing up the property between divorcing spouses. This can be a very difficult process, especially if there are significant assets involved. A family lawyer will help you to assess what assets you have and what each of you is entitled to. They will also help to negotiate a fair settlement. In some cases, they may even need to go to court to get a judge to divide the property.
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5. Prenuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that is signed by both parties before they get married. It sets out how the assets will be divided if the marriage ends in divorce. Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common, especially for people who have been married before or who have significant assets. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, then you should speak to a family lawyer. They can help you to understand the agreement and make sure that it is fair to both parties. In addition, they can advise you on the best way to protect your assets in the event of a divorce.
6. Domestic Violence or Abuse Issues
Family and domestic violence is a common issue in the United States, affecting approximately 10 million people each year; domestic violence affects one out of every four women and one out of every nine men. Almost every healthcare professional will evaluate or treat a patient who has been a victim of domestic or family violence at some point. Economic, physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse of children, adults, or elders are all examples of domestic and family violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, it is important to get help. A family lawyer can provide you with information on local shelters and support groups. They can also help you to file for a restraining order or to divorce your abuser.
7. Representation in Court
Although family lawyers can help people to settle family disputes outside court, there are times when it is necessary to go to court. For example, if you are getting a divorce, you may need to go to court to deal with issues like child custody and the division of property. If you have been accused of domestic violence, you may need to go to court to defend yourself. In these cases, a family lawyer can represent you in court and make sure that your rights are protected.
8. Fees and Charges
Finally, it is also important to know about the fees and charges that family lawyers typically charge. Most family lawyers will charge an hourly rate for their services. In some cases, they may also charge a retainer fee, which is an upfront fee that you pay before they begin work on your case. In addition, some family lawyers may charge a flat fee for certain services, such as drafting a prenuptial agreement. It is important to speak to a family lawyer about their fees before you hire them so that there are no surprises later on.
Family lawyers provide a vital service for families who are dealing with difficult legal issues. They can help with everything from estate planning to divorce, child custody, and domestic violence. If you are considering hiring a family lawyer, it is important to know what to expect. Hopefully, this article has provided you with some helpful information.