This is a branch of the law that deal with domestic relations and family matters like marriage, adoption, child abuse, child abduction, property settlements, child support and visitation, and more. It is also referred to as matrimonial law in Colorado Springs. In many jurisdictions, family courts are the ones with the most-crowded court dockets. The attorney who handles these types of cases is called a family law lawyer. The main two issues that this lawyer would handle are legal separations and divorce. During these issues, the attorney would attempt to dive marital property, advocate the amount that should be paid for alimony and child support, settle child custody issues, and set visitation rights. In divorce and separation cases, each party will have their own family law attorney. If no settlement can be reached for any issues they could be taken into the court and they judge would usually issue the final order on the issues.
Adoption is another field that a family law attorney handles. The attorney will help the couple through the many steps that has to be taken in order to make the adoption legal. In every jurisdiction, the laws are different and may vary according to how old the child is. In some locations the birth parents will always retain some rights while in other jurisdictions, all of their legal parental rights have been given up completely.
Tips for Hiring a Family Law Attorney
A family law attorney is helpful resource when it comes to legal matters concerning familial events. These lawyers handle a variety of legal cases involving marriage, minor children, and elderly parents. Some law firms specialize in one specific field of law while others represent all types of cases.
Selecting a family law attorney should be given careful consideration. This is of particular importance when retaining lawyers to represent minor children or establish guardianship for parents suffering from conditions that limit mental capacities, such as Alzheimer's or dementia.
It can be beneficial to consult with three or more law firms to meet lawyers and staff members face-to-face. Clients often spend considerable time with legal counsel, so it can be helpful to work with an attorney whose persona puts them at ease.
Taking time to interview candidates can help clients select the most appropriate lawyer for the task at hand. It can also minimize the potential to change lawyers in the midst of the case.
There are many options available for finding a good attorney. Many people obtain referrals from family and friends. Others use lawyer referral networks or conduct online research. Some utilize telephone directories.
One common mistake people make is selecting lawyers based on the size of their phone book advertisement. It's important to realize that large ads do not necessarily equate to being the best attorney.
One option for reducing time spent searching for an appropriate law firm is the American Bar Association. Although the ABA does not provide direct referrals, they do publish a list of nationwide lawyers in good standing with the organization at AmericanBar.org.
Lawyer referral networks are another option for locating family law attorneys. Some referral networks assess a fee while others offer complimentary services. It is rarely a necessity to pay anyone to assist in locating lawyers so proceed with caution when fees are assessed.
Once 3 or 4 law firms have been located it is time to setup an initial consultation. Law firms often provide complimentary meet-and-greet sessions, but some assess a nominal fee. Be certain to determine fees before making the appointment.
Ask to meet with all staff members who will work on the case. It is common practice for attorneys to enlist help from paralegals and administrative assistants to reduce legal fees. Clients should feel at ease with all staff members, but especially those whom they will work closely with.
It is important to establish legal fees before hiring law firms. Legal fees are usually based on the type of case involved. One-time events, such as drafting prenuptial agreements or filing legal name changes, are usually billed at a flat fee. Ongoing cases that require court appearances or extensive research are typically billed at an hourly rate.
Most lawyers require an upfront retainer fee for representing ongoing cases. This fee is usually around 25-percent of anticipated fees. Attorneys oftentimes require payment in full when services are rendered, while others send monthly invoices.
Clients that require payment plans must discuss terms ahead of time to ensure timely access to legal counsel. It is crucial to stay current with payments; otherwise, lawyers can refuse to provide legal counsel.
One way to reduce legal expenses is to always be organized and prepared for meetings. It is helpful to keep case documents organized in a dedicated file folder. Always keep record of phone conversations, face-to-face meetings, and email correspondence that take place with the family law lawyer and staff and retain copies of all documents related to the case.
Three Categories of Family Law Documents
Smoothing things over becomes an unpleasant task for many amateurs in divorce cases, a task that these people are not usually prepared to face. Bitter words and harsh times can create even more uncomfortable, awkward and very tense situations or environments for the parties involved and even for those around them. Having a professional who can help to fix these situations and draft and create fair, just settlements for divorced couples can be invaluable to these couples as they go through the divorce process.
Strangely, when one thinks of a family law attorney, they often think of those lawyers we have seen on television that have sinister ideas and intricate plots to destroy the lives of their opponents. What one will discover if they spend any time at all with any attorney is that this is simply not the case. The vast majority of attorneys are committed to discovering what is fair and implementing a settlement that reflects this. A family law attorney is not interested in taking a bad situation and making it worse. This does not benefit them at all and goes against the sense of fairness and equality that they fight to protect. A family should never go through a divorce alone, without the counsel of a professional to guide them through what can become ugly situations and hard times.
Especially if there are children involved in the divorce, these situations can become bitter messes from the very beginning. Former couples sometimes spend countless dollars and a great deal of time trying to decide who is going to have custody of their children after their divorce. What is often forgotten in situations such as these is: what is best for the children? A family law attorney will bring their expertise in these situations and past experiences in similar cases in helping the family decide what is best for the children. Many families face the unpleasant requirement of putting their children through a messy divorce when the parents cannot get along or stay married to each other any longer. When divorce seems inevitable, the parents will usually fight often, be miserable and create tense situations inside the home, which their children often pick up on. So, getting divorced may be the best thing for the children in some cases, as nobody wants their children to grow up in these circumstances. A messy divorce, however, will often create the very thing the parents were trying to avoid, a tense and uncomfortable situation for their children. Having a family law attorney to help the parents through these troubled times will help to smooth the situation and create a fair and calm environment for the children.
As everybody knows, divorce is not a fun experience for any party involved, and that includes the children. A family law attorney can help the situation by bringing information, experience and fairness to the situation. This will help the ex-husband and ex-wife sort out their divorce and make the decisions that are best for everybody involved.
Attorneys and lawyers practicing family law take up cases relating to all kinds of family related issues. These can be adoption, prenuptial agreements, marriage, divorce, separation, legal separation, annulment, alimony, division of the property accumulated during the marriage, domestic violence, negotiation, adjudication, child custody and support, child abduction, kidnapping or child seizure, emancipation, abuse in the marriage, parental rights, paternity, juvenile, felonies etc., and many such cases related to family. Other than this they also deal with regular cases relating to criminal laws, property related laws, probation law, trusts etc. However, the majority of the cases that come to family lawyers are the divorce, separation, abuse or child custody cases. A number of details need to be considered when it comes to these cases and family lawyers are specialized in all the legalities involved in such cases.
A number of questions tend to arise when a couple is getting separated legally or getting divorced. One is the process of getting divorced with a minimum fuss, as getting separated or divorced can in itself be a traumatic experience on both the parties. Add to this a contesting from either party and the whole thing becomes quite messy to handle without a lawyer to offer sufficient moral and professional support.
One other important issue that must not be neglected is the child custody and child support if any children exist as a result of the marriage. Even though the court finally approves all the aspects regarding the custody and support for the children, both the parties must be able to reach to a decision even before filing the papers. Attorneys and lawyers practicing family law will be able to provide immense assistance in such cases.
Family lawyers will be able to assist with all the usual questions that might arise in such cases. Child support laws vary in each state as the law is governed by each state individually without any input from the federal level. However, certain issues such as deciding the parent who is liable to receive the custody and the parent who is supposed to pay for the support, calculation of the amount of child support to be borne, etc., are the questions a lawyer from a particular state would be familiar with.
Family lawyers can also be of a big help if the supporting parent is missing or if the payment is not on time, or even in some cases when the individual does not care enough for the court orders to cough up sufficient amount for the child support. Deciding on other criteria such as visitation rights, receipt of money if both the parents are in different states, or when the child supporter is unable to make payments duly on time due to pecuniary problems.
Family problems can be very upsetting and distressing and the best way to handle them is with the help of a lawyer practicing family law. An exhaustive list of lawyers that are qualified, experienced can be found either from the yellow pages or on the Internet with some effort. A word of advice, it is the best option to always go for a new lawyer chosen on basis of qualifications and experience instead of the ones recommended by friends or acquaintances or relatives to avoid any problems or explanations later on.