Family law is a term that refers to legal issues that commonly occur within families. Though people may hope that families can work out their problems without an attorney, this is rarely the case as the problems are often as much emotional as financial or legal. However, while every family law issue is important, there are certain situations where a family law attorney can be particularly helpful.
As about half of all marriages end in divorce, divorce is one of the most common events that cause a person to need a family law attorney. The dissolution of a marriage has many significant, long-term legal consequences. For example, divorces often include the division of real and personal property owned by the couple, the settlement of debts, agreements on the continuation of health and life insurance and the allocation of retirement funds. Due to the serious issues dealt with in a divorce, a person who is getting divorced needs to obtain the services of an attorney who is familiar with family law. Fischer & Van Thiel, LLP states, “Parties who are getting divorced even need to use an attorney if they are amicable and have reached a fair settlement. The attorney is still needed in an amicable divorce to draft a thorough and enforceable divorce decree that follows the laws of the state.”
Child Custody and Support
Issues of child custody and support are often determined during a divorce, but custody and support issues can arise at any time. Custody and visitation laws can be quite complex and an attorney would be needed to help a person to get the best result possible. As with custody issues, child support issues can also be quite complex. Each state uses a mathematical formula to determine support amounts, but a number of the factors in the formula can be interpreted in different ways. Regardless of whether support is being set for the first time or is being modified, a family law attorney can help a client to get a fair and equitable child support determination.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that people agree to before becoming married. These agreements generally cover financial and property ownership in the event that the people who are getting married get divorced. Prenuptial agreements are often used when one, or both, of the parties who are getting married are wealthy and have significant assets to protect. However, there are other reasons for prenuptial agreements. An heir to a family business may want to use a prenuptial agreement to assure the business stays in his or her family. People with children from previous relationships may also want a prenuptial agreement to protect the interests of those children. Those wanting a prenuptial agreement should use an attorney who can make certain that the agreement is legally binding.