Many people think that hiring family lawyers is the last resort when things get worse. But this shouldn’t be the case. Family law or matrimonial law refers to a segment of the law dealing with family matters, such as marriage, adoption, civil unions, divorce, and child support.
The lawyer’s role is important in keeping families together and finding the best possible legal option to maintain love and peace.
So, when do you need to see a lawyer? Learn the signs that your family may need to see a lawyer below.
1. Contemplating to separate for good
You’ve probably exhausted all means to resolve your marital conflict with your spouse, such as marriage counselling. It’s not good to wait until you’ve come to the point of making a final decision. As early as possible, talk to a family lawyer when you start to contemplate getting a divorce.
If your family needs legal advice, it pays to consider a reputable law firm. Here are the benefits of consulting a family lawyer, like Pearsons Lawyers, when you’re contemplating to separate for good:
- Know your legal options when separating
- Enlighten your mind of the legal process of divorce
- Explain the possible outcomes of your decisions
2. Arising conflict over child custody
Child custody conflicts aren’t new, especially after a divorce. Even when separated, parents try to assert their legal right to care for and protect their children. This is where child custody issues begin.
You have to keep in mind that child custody conflicts aren’t caused by separation or divorce alone. Other family members or the state could also be fighting for child custody. Family members, like in-laws, may try to take the child away from the parent because of the death of the spouse or broken marriage. The state can decide to let the Child Welfare Service take the child away from the parents if they suspect negligence, inability to support the child’s needs, or child abuse.
In a child custody lawsuit, the court or state will require the parents to prove that they can support and secure the child’s future. In this case, you need a family lawyer who’ll guide you throughout the process of getting full child custody. Take a look at the following advantages of hiring a family lawyer when handling child custody issues:
- Safeguard the child’s safety and best interests
- Provide possible legal options when it comes to child custody
- Base all course of actions within the scope of the law
3. Will or estate plan issues
While will templates and forms are readily available online, hiring a family lawyer to draft your will or estate plan is still a good idea. Create a will to show how your assets will be distributed to your beneficiaries. For people with a high net worth, they would need an estate plan.
Estate planning involves elaborate asset management, protecting heirs from legal issues and liabilities that arise from ownership transfer. Preparing documents can be challenging if you’re unsure where to begin. To avoid future problems, a family lawyer can assist you in validating the legal documents.
Check the following examples of will or estate plan issues that would warrant seeking a family lawyer:
- Estate tax issues: Calculating estate taxes take into account the value of your home, the face value of life insurance policies, personal possessions, and other assets. Adding these amounts together may place you in a taxable estate position.
- Choosing between a will or a trust: A will manage your assets when you’re gone while a trust may include benefits while you’re still alive. You might want to discuss revocable trust, which is highly preferable than a will, to an estate lawyer to keep you guided.
- Advance directives: These documents describe who would manage the health or financial affairs when a person becomes incapacitated.
- Types of ownership: Assets can be readily recognized as trust ownership, tenancy, and joint tenancy. Other forms of asset ownership are available that you can discuss with an estate planning attorney.
4. Considering adoption
Adoption is a complex process. It can be challenging to navigate local adoption programs and agencies. An experienced adoption lawyer can work with these agencies, regardless if you’re looking into a step-parent or private adoption.
Adoption lawyers can help by:
- Looking over your adoption application to point out problem areas
- Predicting the odds of success of your application
- Saving months of waiting time
- Avoiding omissions and errors in adoption paperwork
- Submitting of all requirements promptly
5. Abuse in the home
Signs of domestic abuse, such as obvious bruises, wounds, or cuts, require immediate legal assistance. Other than physical abuse, abuse can be verbal, emotional, or sexual, too. Child neglect is also a form of abuse.
Examples of abuse include coercion, intimidation, ridiculing, treating an adult like a child, sexual harassment, and isolating an elderly from friends, family, or regular activity. Other examples of abuse include shaming, belittling, criticizing, and embarrassing a family member.
Lawyers can help victims obtain civil orders of protection or restraining orders issued by the court upon request. Also, lawyers can suggest batterers undergo a treatment program as an alternative to heavy criminal sanctions.
Here are the signs of abuse in the home:
- Physical abuse: Clusters of bruises may indicate defensive injuries, grab marks on the upper arms and outer thighs, and the presence of petechiae or bruising.
- Emotional abuse: The signs of emotional child abuse may include inappropriate or delayed emotional development, low self-esteem, social withdrawal, desperately seeking attention, and avoidance of certain situations, like refusing to ride a bus or go to school.
- Sexual abuse: Some examples of the signs of sexual abuse include soreness in the genital area, behaving in sexually inappropriate ways, being afraid of a particular person, difficulty learning and concentrating, or using sexually explicit language.
Families aren’t perfect, and family issues arise from time to time. Divorce, child custody issues, adoption process, drafting wills and estate plans, and other family problems prompt families to see a family lawyer.
Protect your assets once you become incapable of making decisions or you passed away by consulting a family lawyer. If you’re wrongfully accused of child abuse or negligence, your family lawyer will also ensure that you’re proven innocent to prevent bringing the case to a criminal lawsuit.