Family Attorneys

What Is A Family Attorney

A Family Attorney is a lawyer who is an expert in family law. He/she can help you with divorcing, dissolving a civil union, or seeking benefits in a domestic partnership.

What Does A Family Attorney Do?

Family attorneys specialize in legal issues regarding family life and domestic relationships, including spousal relationships and parent-child relationships.

1. Marriage And Divorce

Marriage and divorce come with a host of legal documents and procedures. To deal with the following issues, you need a family attorney’s help.

  • Prenuptial Agreements: If you are rich or you are married to a rich person, a prenup agreement, which includes provisions for division of property and spousal support, can be beneficial someday. You can work out the framework of an agreement on your own, but a family attorney is usually essential to finalize a prenuptial agreement in court.

  • Annulment: Under cases of misrepresentation, incest, bigamy, underage, or force, a couple can pursue an annulment to dissolve the marriage like it never existed. 

  • Divorce: There are two types of divorces: In a no-fault divorce which is allowed by all states, one spouse files for divorce by stating a general reason; In cases of fault divorces allowed by most states, one spouse faults the other for established reasons such as desertion, adultery, or cruelty.

  • Alimony: Also known as spousal support, alimony is very common in divorces when one spouse earns a higher salary than the other. The wealthier spouse may need to provide payments, namely alimony, for the other after the divorce is finalized.

2. Child Support And Child Custody

When spouses with children divorce, there will be legal issues about child custody and child support. Common family law issues include:

  • Child Custody: Physical custody refers to a parent's right to have the child reside with him or her. One or both parents may be granted physical custody. Legal custody is a parent’s right to make major decisions about the children's health care, education, and religion.

  • Child Support: By law, noncustodial parents must provide a monthly payment to support the children. The amount of the payment is determined by a family court.

  • Paternity: A paternity test is used to identify a child’s father which is an influencing factor in child custody and child support cases.

3. Adoption

There are many types of adoption, all of which may require extensive legal help. The following are the most common types of adoption:

  • Agency Adoptions: Legal arrangements between the adoptive parents and a public or private agency are involved in these adoptions.

  • Private Adoptions: The adoptive parents need to form straightforward arrangements with the birth mother.

  • Identified Adoptions: These refer to adoptions in which the birth mother and the adoptive parents have already become acquainted independently, and they just need an adoption agency to finalize the process.

  • International Adoptions: These include adoptions in which the parents adopt a child from another country. One important matter of the process is securing an immigrant visa.

4. Domestic Violence

If you are abused during a marriage, a family law attorney can help you get full custody or file an order of protection to keep your family safe.

How Can You Get The Most Out Of A Family Lawyer’s Help?

Once you have chosen a family lawyer you trust, there are some tips for you to get the most of a lawyer’s help.

  • Tell The Whole Story: There may be some embarrassing information in a family case, but hiding that from your lawyer is not a good idea. Your lawyer needs as much information as possible to mitigate or remediate the damage.

  • Document Everything: To prove certain aspects of your case, a documented record of phone calls, text messages, e-mails, and any other conversations is extremely helpful.

  • Take A Deep Breath: Try not to make rash or snap decisions in the middle of a case.

How Are Family Law Attorneys Paid?

To suit the financial budgets of clients, family law attorneys usually offer a number of payment arrangements to choose from. The common types are:

  • An Hourly Rate: The payment is based on how many hours your lawyer has spent working on your case. This is the most common fee structure, but the cost can vary by practice area.

  • A Flat Fee: The payment is fixed regardless of the lawyers’ working hours. This is usually only available if the case is very simple, like an uncontested divorce.

There can be additional fees, too, including:

  • Retainer Fees: If you want to secure a prestigious lawyer, you may need to pay an upfront fee. The cost of services can be deducted from the retainer.

  • Consultation Fees: Many lawyers offer free consultation now, but some may still charge for the first meeting, whether you hire the lawyer or not.

  • Contingency fees. Payable if you win the case. These are not very common in family law cases but you need to check this before choosing an attorney.

All in all, a family law attorney is usually very expensive. If you have any trouble in paying the expenses, you can ask your spouse for help or get legal help for free by legal aids.


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