Just as the name sounds, a family law attorney handles legal matters between people in a family relationship or domestic relationship.
So…What do They do Exactly?
Most family law attorney firms focus on representing clients in divorce and all of the issues that are related to divorce such as, child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony and division of property. In cases such as divorce both parties can be highly emotional and your attorney can act as a buffer between you and your spouse and assure that your rights are being preserved. Family law attorneys are usually highly skilled in interpersonal communication and can act as a mediator between all the parties involved – helping to accommodate a better understanding and communication between the parties. As the other party will likely be represented by a family law attorney as well, they can arbitrate an equitable agreement between the parties. If an agreement can not be reached then the case will be heard by a judge and an agreement will be handed down by the court.
Is that it?
Family law attorneys can also draft prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that sets forth how assets would be divided between spouses should a divorce occur. This is done before the marriage ceremony takes place. Some clients prefer to have a postnuptial agreement – after the marriage takes place – which not only sets forth how assets would be divided in case of a divorce but also may cover child custody, visitation rights and more.
How About Domestic Violence?
Some family law attorneys also represent domestic violence victims or perpetrators. They can assist in drafting and filing protection orders and can represent either party in the protection order proceedings. They also can act as advocates for children that have been neglected or abused.
Aren’t the Attorneys Miserable?
Not every case that a family law attorney handles is an unhappy one. Family law attorneys also handle adoptions. It is important for all parties involved to make sure that your attorney is familiar with the laws in your area. Adoption laws can vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and can several steps to make the adoption legal. Laws also can vary according to the age of the child involved as well as the location of the child. Some family law attorneys specialize not only in adoption but some specialize in adoptions abroad. Having and attorney that is familiar with all of the legal nuances of your particular case can not only save you money but can save you valuable time and un-needed heart ache. Your adoption attorney can help you draft a plan for the adoptive parent to remain part of your adoptive child’s life if that is desired.
Keep in mind that while some family law attorneys specialize in certain kinds of cases such as adoption, most have experience in all and specialize in several of the different aspects of family law. Once you find a family law attorney that you are a good match with, it is likely that they will be able to handle any family law issue for you and your family. With this in mind it is important to take your time and find the attorney that best fits your needs and personality.