Ask Away...: Think You Need A Family Attorney? Judge For Yourself Below

Friday, September 9, 2016

Think You Need A Family Attorney? Judge For Yourself Below

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No one enters into a marriage thinking it will end in divorce. But unfortunately, statistics show that nearly 50% of marriages in the United States of America end in divorce. No matter what your situation, a divorce is always a time of heightened emotion and heartbreak. And when there are children involved - even if you have an amicable split - things can become tricky to navigate in that first year. If you have an agreeable and courteous separation, you may not think you need an attorney. But for things such as visitation rights and custody, it’s better to get legal expertise. And you will absolutely need a family attorney if there has been violence in the relationship if grandparents are seeking visitation rights and if you are going through a military divorce. Have you considered what happens with visitation rights if you split from your partner, but you are unmarried? This is another area where you will need to get family law involved. I’m going to break down the different reasons a family will require the expertise of an attorney. Hopefully, it will then make more sense why it will help save your family unit in the long term.

Image source: Pixaby


If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, you will need to consult a family law attorney to dissolve your relationship. They will help advise you on how to start proceedings and can file your divorce or legal separation documents. Your attorney will usually charge by the hour. Although if you just require help with certain documents, there may be a flat rate service at some practices. However, with a divorce, expect to pay by the hour. Hiring an attorney means you’ll get expert advice on the divorce laws and jurisdictions in your particular state. An attorney will also be privy to all the latest updates in law that you may not know about if you try and deal with the divorce by yourself. There is quite a bit of paperwork to get through. So if you are already feeling the strain of separating, an attorney will make the process a bit easier on you both. They will be able to negotiate the division of property and money and also guide you with financial support, spousal support and child custody. Also, think about the benefits of having a 3rd party involved. Without any emotional attachment to your relationship with your spouse, they will see things with a clear head and be able to do what works best. Lots of couple separating don’t wish to go to court. But your case may become complicated. If there are disputes about child custody, visitation rights and spousal support, then you will need to take your case to the family court.

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Child Custody

There are many different legal issues involved when it comes to divorce and child custody. You will need to work out you are going to have sole custody or joint custody. And also which parent makes decisions about religious upbringing, schooling and medical care. These issues absolutely require a child custody attorney. Going to court will also determine how much time the child spends with each parent. And it will also establish the terms of visitation rights are, and create a schedule for the holidays and beyond. You may think that you and your spouse can sort this out amicably between you. But things can and do go wrong, so it is far better to have legal support behind you. Sometimes custody battles can get messy. Accusations can be thrown around, and things can get difficult. In cases such as this, your family attorney may suggest a criminal lawyer gets involved to settle any false accusations.

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Unmarried Parents

Unmarried parents will be facing very similar problems about child custody, as married parents are. The mother will generally be presumed to have primary custody of the child. But the father can apply for custody if it is felt that would be more appropriate. In this circumstance, you will absolutely need a family attorney and go to court to take on this challenge. Child support will also need to be decided upon. Even if you are unmarried, child support is based on the children’s needs, not on the marital status of the parents. An unmarried father will also have to file the appropriate paternity pleadings to work out visitation rights. Bear in mind that an unmarried mother is not legally obliged to grant visitation rights to the father. Legal proceedings vary state to state, so hiring a family attorney is an absolute must. Sometimes such disputes can also be resolved with the help of a mediator.  

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Violence In A Family

Family violence is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in homes all over the US. If you are experiencing physical or emotional abuse or your child is being abused, you will need to seek legal help urgently. An expert lawyer will understand the challenges involved and will be able to get a protective order against your spouse. If you need a protective order, you will have to go to court, and you will need an attorney for support in this situation. Your child’s safety is paramount, so seek legal counsel straight away if you or your children are in a harmful environment.

Grandparents' Rights

The relationship between child and grandparent is often a key one in a family. With a divorce comes the worry of not seeing your grandchildren in the same capacity as you used to. Or it may be that your grandchild is in a home where one or more parent has a substance abuse problem or is violent. In these cases, you will have to hire a family attorney to go to court and seek grandparents’ rights. If you believe the situation would be more beneficial for the child if you were to have custody you will need to go to court. And if in a divorce, you lose your grandchildren, you can go to court to seek grandparent visitation rights. However, there are only very special circumstances when these are granted. So bear this in mind if you are fighting for them. You will have to prove that your grandchildren are in an unsafe environment, in order to get visitation rights. Again, this will only be granted if there is an unfit parent, those abusing substances, or children in an abusive home. If you wish to file a petition, consult an attorney immediately.

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Military Divorce

We always hope that in any family divorce that it is the children who come through it the easiest. But with couples going through a military divorce there are often unique circumstances. These will almost certainly require the help of an expert military divorce attorney. Make sure to choose someone who has covered a lot of work in this area. Many military families have young children, and it can be a very stressful time going through a divorce at this stage. You will require legal help to sort out child support. Because if one parent is deployed overseas for long periods of time, there will be different tax issues involved. Also, the parent who has stayed at home and looked after the children may not be in employment. Therefore there will be issues of spousal support too. If you feel you have put your own career on hold by supporting your spouse’s army career, you will want to seek legal advice. This will help you find out what rights you have regarding future support.  There will also be a unique set of circumstances involved with child custody. If a parent is deployed for long periods of time, an attorney will be able to help draw up a parental plan that is fair for both parties. You will also need expert help on how to split the military pension and retirement money. If one spouse has had to stay-at-home to look after the children, they will not have been able to pay into a retirement fund. An experienced military divorce lawyer will know what your rights now are. And if your spouse gets remarried you may be concerned as to where the SGLI will go if death occurs. Again, legal counsel will be required to secure you and your child’s rights to his or her life insurance.

No matter what family issues you are having, if you feel that they are getting on top of you, it’s time to call in a family attorney. Don’t be scared to ask questions or get things explained in lay terms. Legal rights can seem incredibly confusing and difficult. Which is why you should always seek out the best lawyer for your specific needs. An attorney will be your best 3rd party emotionally detached resource. But they will also understand the challenges you face as you navigate divorce. Choosing a firm that cares about you, your children’s well-being and your financial rights are of the utmost importance. So make sure you protect your future by investing in expert legal advice and representation. You can contact an attorney for a free evaluation before proceeding too.

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