“Nobody ever died of Divorce.”
― Jennifer Weiner
It is true that couples might play with the word ‘Divorce’ more than often but the reality does not go that smooth for most of the times. The provisions of family law may seem quite simple and straight forward when on books but they are lot more troubling than you think in front of a gavel.
Marriage, Divorce, Adoption, Guardianship – these things can end up in a mess even when you do not want them to be. And the secret ingredient to un-mess this matter is to hire the right Family Law Attorney.
Family law attorneys are almost like insurance; you will not understand the value until you are actually in the situation. Most of the people think that they are perfectly in control of their domestic matters and it is not necessary to take the help of an outsider to resolve petty issues, let alone a family law attorney. But what seems to be petty today can make you lose your shirt tomorrow. So, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared for the worst possibilities, does it?
Domestic issues almost don’t need to be headache in your daily lives, if handled correctly. All you need is good communication and the best family law attorney by your side to smooth out. Let’s discuss a little more on the subject, shall we?
What Do Family Law Attorneys Do?
Even if majority of the people have a fair idea about what family law attorneys do or what fields of law they work on, it is better to discuss a little elaborately.
Family law attorneys mostly deal with Marriage, Divorces, Child Support cases, Adoptions-Guardianships, Surrogacy, Paternity issues, Child Protection proceedings and many more. In one word, family law attorneys are there to fix your domestic matters that cannot be solved at your dinner time no more.
Though people often confuse the term family law attorneys with ‘Divorce Lawyers’, they are not the same. All divorce lawyers are family law attorneys but not all family law attorneys are divorce lawyers. Different attorneys specialize in different family law matter and that does not always include divorces.
Thus, from a pre-nuptial agreement to child custody issues, family law attorneys untangle a lot more than you can imagine.
5 Ways Family Law Attorneys Can Ease Your Life Up
This point cannot be ever discussed enough. Family law is one of the most overlooked fields in law and lots of people hide under their social veil to avoid a legit litigation problem in real life. It is true that lots of domestic problems cannot be solved easily if a few steps had been taken before under the guidance of a family law attorney e.g. prenuptial agreement makes divorces a lot easier for couples.
So, here goes the list of the important domestic matters that are normally handled by family law attorneys –
1. Handling Wills, Estates and Successions
Succession can be tricky matter if not handled carefully. Most of the complicated civil cases tend to arise from the succession issues. It does not matter whether a person dies checking a Will, a legal document to sketch out how a person’s material possessions would be distributed among the heirs, or dies intestate i.e. without a Will, it will raise questions that often does not fall under your expertise.
Family law attorneys will not only help you understand the provisions and consequences of a Will but they will also help you with your rights in case a Will does not exist. Also, they can be of great help if you have any documents to draft related to estates or successions.
2. Prenuptial Agreements and Divorces
Prenuptial Agreements are one of the happening things in the Western countries right now. Prenuptial agreements essentially lay out how both the spouses deal with their divorces and spell out the provisions of support or division of properties, if any.
Only family law attorneys can assist you drafting such documents and it plays a major role in case you decide to get a divorce.
3. Handling Child Custody
Child custody is one of the most emotional aspects of a divorce. Without a prior agreement in place, this issues always go out of hand and both the parents end up in a nasty legal fight; which can be very stressful for both the parents and the child.
Family law attorneys are perfectly trained at handling these sensitive issues seamlessly and they can draft you agreements beforehand or amend them if need be.
4. Processing Adoption and Guardianship Problems
It is true that you can adopt a child without the help of a family law attorney but it helps if you clear the adoption procedure through an attorney. Adoption procedure can produce lots of complicated litigation and family law attorneys are the best shot at resolving that.
5. Represent You in Court
Even if you can settle a family issue outside of the court but not all the matters stay under control. Having a family law attorney can proved to be very helpful in case a matter aggravates to the doors of a courtroom.
Why Should You Absolutely Need the Help of Family Law Attorneys?
Courtroom drama is something we are more used to see in the movie screens than in the real life. Even if you know the law, the rules and all the fine details of your problems, you cannot deal with it like the way family law attorneys do.
So, if you are still questioning why you would need a family law attorney, here are some reasons for you.
1. Top Notch Consults
In case of domestic matters, emotions play a much bigger role than anyone can anticipate. And when emotions run high, people cannot always take the right decision from the legal view point. Thus, if you have a family law attorney by your side during such hard times, your decisions will not be affected by your emotions and you will be able to take more efficient steps in courts.
2. Courtroom Experience
As we discussed earlier, courtroom experience is something you cannot just achieve in one day or two. Only the best family law attorneys have the ability to handle a courtroom drama in case of domestic matter in spite of emotional scenes or talks. Also, family law attorneys will have far deeper insights in the minds of the opposite attorney than you can ever presume in the first place.
3. Familiar Faces in Court
When the matter comes to family law litigation, familiar faces in opposite attorneys help a lot. It will not only ease up your case but it will also help you in settling the case more easily as well.
4. Determining the Value
In case of divorces or other domestic family matters involving money, determining the pricing is an important aspect. And without the help of the right family law attorney, it is a possibility that you will end up giving up more than you needed to be.
How to Find the Best Family Law Attorney
Unlike the 80s’, attorneys are not that hard to find nowadays. Most of the law firms have their websites online and they are just a phone call away. The same goes for the family law attorneys. But it is hard to choose from a choice of three, isn’t it?
So, in the process of narrowing down, you can surely follow the steps as mentioned under.
1. Determine the Jurisdiction
It is true that it doesn’t fall under the client’s expertise to determine the jurisdiction of a case but a rough idea might be of great help before you can find your attorney. In case of domestic legal cases, the legal cases are handled by the county in which the plaintiff lives but in some exceptional cases, that might vary.
Thus, if you choose a family law attorney who might have to stretch his or her contact to the actual court jurisdiction from where your case will actually proceed, it might be a hassle. It is best to choose the local family law attorneys as they will know the courts under their practice field much better than any other courts.
2. Do Some Research on Your Own
As I have mentioned earlier, nowadays it is not a big deal to find the right attorney as most of the reputed law firms have their websites online for you to explore. So, before you can use your other resources, you should search in the internet and read some reviews. This will provide you with a rough idea about who is doing great in the field and who might have some bad trips through some recent legal matters. This might not the absolute choice while choosing family law attorneys but it is an important start for sure.
3. Contact Your Friends and Family for Reference
Your near and dear people, who have recently availed services of family law attorneys, can be of great help in finding up the right attorney for your case. Even in this digital age, there is nothing better and authentic like your friend or family attesting some attorney’s sincerity.
Thus, even if you have done your researches and have gone through other resources to dig up the name of the right family law attorney, it is always better to ask for experiences from someone you know for a long time.
4. Bar Association Website
Every bar association website has the list of their attorneys and with the help of your State’s Bar association website; you can easily conclude the right person to help you perfectly. You can check the attorney’s records, their recent cases and red flags, if any.
5. Public Interest Websites
There are lots of public interest websites, and one can easily choose the right family law attorney from one of such websites. Also, these websites help individuals who have a low income source to get over a legal problem. For example, LawHelp.org is one of such Public Interest Website from where you can find your attorney quite easily.
6. Get Recommendation
Last but not the least, you can always ask your current lawyer to recommend other attorneys suitable for your domestic legal problems. In this way, you will always have the best results and if you want to cross check, you can always use one of the above mentioned methods.
3 Qualities to Look for in a Family Law Attorney
The quest for family law attorneys does not stop at the point where you finally find some recommendations or names. Lots of people do not follow through these steps and more than often, they end up losing their cases due to lack of skills.
So, isn’t it better to scrutinize before and not weep after losing your shirt? Let’s have a look.
It is true that almost all the attorneys have the same qualities but a family law attorney should have some special qualities which make them suitable to handle the emotional domestic cases than any other cases involving money or crime. Family law cases are more than just a case; it involves breaking of a family and important emotional decisions.
Thus, if you have chosen an attorney for your case, always look for the qualities as mentioned under.
1. Excellent People Skill
A family law attorney should always have excellent people skill. They should know the tricks and turns of handling an emotional client who is about to lose the custody of his/her child or a marriage. A family law attorney should always be very attentive to the details and not dismiss the client’s story easily.
2. Excellent Communication Skill
Apart from the people skill, the communication skill is another feather which family law attorneys should have in their hats. A lot of domestic cases get resolved outside of the courtroom and parties settle through their attorneys. In this case, your family law attorney should be a confident speaker and a good negotiator to deal with the case firmly outside the courtroom and not give nod to the terms of the other party without a counter attack.
3. Excellent Research Skill
Though this quality might a common one for all the attorneys, family law attorneys should be extra attentive with their research skills. With the right clause or with the right case law reference, a family law case can be won quite easily and this wholly depends on the skill of your chose attorney.
4 Questions to Ask to Your Potential Family Law Attorney Before Hiring
Even if you have observed all the backlogs and made your notes about an attorney, there is nothing better than asking your chosen attorney some direct questions to clear the picture before you entrust him/her with your legal procedure.
If you are confused about what to ask them, we have got a list.
1. How will the Instant Matter Proceed?
This question will give clarity about whether your chosen attorney is experienced enough with the genre of case or not. It is true that no attorney can exactly predict as how a case will proceed, but an experienced attorney will provide you with a timeline and the steps of the case with a basic structure of delay.
2. Who will be Handling the Instant Matter?
In case you are contacting a law firm, it is a possibility that your matter will be transferred to another attorney and the head attorney will not attend your matter regularly. Under such situations, always clear out whether your case will be handled by the person you are talking to or not. If not, you should always have a talk with the person who will handle your case in the courtroom.
3. What will be the Basic Contact Medium?
Lack of communication is one thing that you should avoid in a family law case at any cost. Thus, always clear up about the basic contacting medium e.g. whether the attorney will contact you through email or phone.
4. What will be the Price Structure?
Again, price structure is something that varies from attorney to attorney. Lots of attorneys work according to a fixed pricing structure while other work on contingency basis e.g. they will charge a percentage of money as has been claimed by your in your legal matter, if you win the case.
The Final 5 Steps to Choose the Right Family Law Attorney for You
Legal turmoil can never be pretty. The regular court drama and stress is something you do not want to add up to your daily life, do you? And even after asking the right questions, there remain some things that you can only control. What are those? Have a look.
1. Be Realistic
Domestic legal problems always involve emotions and you cannot drain up your emotion while you are in a courtroom. However, while choosing your family law attorney, it is best not to throw all the emotional baggage at him/her. The more emotion you include, the more you will delay the legal process. Thus always be professional and be realistic while choosing your attorney.
2. Stay Focused
As it has been discussed already, emotion can play a big role in case of dealing with domestic legal problems. While it is true that it is the duty of the attorney to deal with your problem entirely but it can get pretty hard if you are not focused enough. If you change your mind regarding what steps to be taken, it can be quite hard for the attorney as well. Give your attorney a clear picture to get the best judgement.
3. Always Know what You Want
If you want to make your choosing procedure to go smoothly, it is always better to give them the clear idea at the first step only. If you know what you want, your attorney can take action accordingly and it would be easier for you to choose as well.
4. Identify the Bluffs
It is not uncommon that many family law attorneys speak the words that you want to hear. They promise you with everything just at the first step. Always know that with a domestic case, nothing can be promised. It depends entirely on the discretion of the justice and if your chosen attorney is promising you everything, you might need to reconsider a little bit.
5. Red Flags
Red flags are not very easy to identify but they are not invisible. If you can look closely enough, you can easily identify the red flags such as whether your attorney is asking a huge amount as advance or whether he is hurrying a little to close the deals. If an attorney provides you with other client’s confidential data just to seal the deal, it might be best to avoid him/her as it is highly likely that they will do the same with your data as well.
Also, make sure whether your attorney obeys the work ethics or not. If not, it is best not to do business with the particular individual after all.
Be it a divorce or an adoption proceeding, family law cases can be emotionally hectic and more than often people feel ripped apart on an open forum of a courtroom. People lose their mind during such proceeding a lot more often as these kinds of proceedings need emotional bearing as well.
Thus, do not skip the above mentioned steps if you want to choose the best attorney to go through your legal procedure as only the best attorney can ease up your pain and no one else. Good luck!