Family law attorneys probably have more contact with the average citizen than any other type of attorney. Below is a list of common issues brought to a family attorney. While this list addresses issues that happen every day, there are other issues that your lawyer may advise you on:
• Prenuptial agreements
• Child support
• Visitation rights
• Child custody
The following issues are addressed by your family lawyer, but due to the nature of these issues, they may cross over into criminal law:
• Domestic violence
• Child abuse
• Orders of protection
Can I Do These Things Without An Attorney?
There are some situations that you can handle on your own. For example, if you are filing a non-contested divorce and there are no children or major assets, you could probably file the papers yourself. However, once you have done this, it can be a costly and stressful situation, especially if there were any mistakes in the paperwork.
It is not uncommon for a couple to decide to dissolve their marriage calmly, in the beginning. But when the process begins, those feelings often fade quickly. What you think is fair and what your spouse thinks is fair, are rarely the same thing.
Division of Property
For example, Jim and Sarah were married for 14 years before they decided to end the marriage. When they were married, Sarah had a piece of property that belonged to her father that now belongs to her. She was not doing anything with the property. Jim spent long hours cutting down trees, cutting grass, and putting up fences. He turned the property into a family getaway, complete with a camper with power and water. Sarah believes this land is hers 100%. Jim believes he should be compensated for all the work he put in it. He feels the property is as much his and hers. This is the kind of situation a family lawyer can help with.
Same-Sex Marriage Rights
It is legal in the state of California for a same-sex couple to marry. When they marry, they have the same legal rights as a heterosexual couple that marries. But, what if one of the partners moves to a state that does not recognize gay marriage as legal? Can that partner walk away without dividing up the property? This is something a family law attorney can deal with.
Finances & Children
Money is always an issue in a divorce. Who pays the bills? Who gets the savings? How do you decide who gets the family home? While these things are always a problem, it is not the biggest issue. The main cause of fighting in a divorce is the custody, support, and well-being of the children.
If you are facing any of these issues or if you have a family related problem that you cannot seem to address, contact an attorney. Let their legal expertise put your mind at ease.