Family law can involve all legal matters concerning marriage and divorce, wills and estates, custody and child support, family violence, and adoption, just to name a few! Due to the serious nature of these issues, the best way to navigate through the challenging experience is to seek the help of a professional family lawyer. If you are on the fence about whether you may need a family lawyer, we can help you gain some clarity on the subject.
What Is a Family Lawyer?
First and foremost, it is important to understand what exactly a family lawyer is. A family lawyer is a seasoned professional who could offer expert advice and solutions on any legal familial problems you may be facing. A family lawyer can offer advice ranging from simple issues to complex matters and, if necessary, can offer representation for you in court.
Why Do You Need A Family Lawyer?
There are several legal matters and instances that may see you needing to hire a family lawyer. These include:
Forming Financial Agreements
A financial agreement, sometimes known as a prenuptial agreement, is a private document that outlines how spousal support will be offered and how the property will be divided between a couple, if they ever decide to separate or get divorced. Prenups are normally signed by both parties before marriage. However, a financial agreement can be signed at any point before, during or after the relationship.
To draft this document, both parties need to have their individual interests taken into consideration, which is why these financial agreements can differ from couple to couple. To ensure the document is drafted correctly and avoid complications, it is advised to seek the help of an experienced family lawyer. Indeed, legally you must have an independent individual legal counsel for the agreement to be valid. However, an added benefit is that family lawyers can help sort out legal problems concerning the contract, if any, later.
Divorce or Separation
Divorce is never easy on anyone. The ending of a relationship can be an emotional rollercoaster which can take a heavy toll on both individuals. It gets a lot more complicated if the couple have children. Due to this, the process of sorting out parental responsibilities, along with the division of property and assets, can get really complicated and drawn out. In these situations it is highly recommended to consult a family lawyer to help you through the process and help relieve some of the stress and difficulty.
Family lawyers come with valuable expertise and can offer you concrete and clear-cut advice on how to proceed with any legal matters. If needed, they can even offer you representation in court. If the divorce or separation is particularly hard on both individuals, and they are having difficulty finding common ground, a family lawyer can help organise or offer mediation. Good family lawyers use tact and professionalism to solve problems and, if possible, can even help settle negotiations outside of court. This will help save you time and money and remove some of the pressure from both sides.
Custody, Parenting Arrangements & Child Support
Amidst a divorce or separation, deciding who gets custody of any children can be a really difficult thing to do. Both parents will need to mutually agree on parenting arrangements for their children. As this is a sensitive matter involving many tough decisions, a good family lawyer can help both parents find common ground. They take into consideration the family history and financial situation, among other things, before making any decisions. They can help you decide what is best for your child and help you come to a reasonable parental agreement for your specific situation. A valuable family lawyer will always prioritise your children’s best interests first and help you and your partner do the same.
Family violence is a serious matter that can appear in several forms including physical, emotional, sexual and economic abuse, as well as any other controlling behaviour. Victims of family violence can feel trapped and see no escape from their situation. That is where a family lawyer comes in. With a good family lawyer on your side, you do not need to feel unsafe anymore. They will consider your specific circumstances and put your safety and interests first. They will be able to implement legal safety measures and find ways to secure intervention or restraining orders if necessary. Seeking the services of a family lawyer can also help you if you need to progress the matter to court.
For many couples, adoption can be a difficult, gruelling and time-consuming process. Often, it is because they do not have the right legal support to help them reach their desired outcome. Having an experienced family lawyer is highly recommended since they will consider the circumstances of adoption and help you decide the right path to follow. For example, the legal proceedings for the adoption of a minor varies from that of an individual over 18 years of age. Furthermore, the financial and personal circumstances of the parents can also heavily influence how long the adoption process will take. Since family lawyers are highly knowledgeable in all types of adoption, they will be extremely helpful in providing assistance and advice required to make the process easier.
Drafting Your Will
Wills are documents that dictate whom your properties and assets will pass on to once you have died. There are some legal formalities and proceedings that are required to make a Will binding. It is better to seek the help of a family lawyer to avoid room for error and ensure that no complications arise later. They can help you in preparing your estate planning documents to ensure that your properties are passed on according to your wishes.
Choosing The Right Lawyer For Your Family
Now that you are aware how a family lawyer can be beneficial, it is important to know what to look for when hiring one. In addition to being highly experienced and knowledgeable about the relevant law, there are some qualities that are essential in order for someone to be a good family lawyer. These include:
Patience, Empathy & Honesty
A good family lawyer will understand that everyone’s situation is different and that family issues can be difficult to deal with. For this, they should have the patience to properly explain all the intricacies of the law to you, so that you are aware of what you are getting into. At the same time, they need to be sensitive and understand where you are coming from. They must be equipped to offer emotional support when required and keep your best interests in mind. However, they must also be honest with you. No matter how difficult the truth is to hear, they need to be able to give you advice that will prove beneficial for you. Rather than what you want to hear, they must be able to tell you what you need to hear.
Good Mediators With Problem-Solving Skills
If you are contracting a family lawyer, this indicates that your case might be slightly complicated to start with. There might be situations where tensions arise and coming to a decision can be quite hard. Throughout this process, a good lawyer will be able to function as a mediator and have the people skills required to prevent major arguments from breaking out. They will also have top problem-solving abilities and find innovative solutions to arrive at an acceptable outcome. Additionally, they should be able to refer you to other professionals or services as you need them.
Well-Reputed & Trustworthy
When you hire a family lawyer, you should look for someone who has a great reputation among their clients. You should be able to trust them and feel as though you are in good hands for the duration of your case. Make sure to look for reviews and conduct all the necessary research before contracting a family lawyer for yourself. It might be an idea to start by talking to any friends or family members about family lawyers they have used and what their experiences were. Even a negative experience can help you, for example, by highlighting what you do not want from your lawyer.
Dedicated & Passionate About Each Case
When you hire a lawyer, you want someone who is incredibly passionate about all their cases. A good family lawyer treats each case with the utmost care and always puts your interests and welfare first. They will be absolutely dedicated to every client and will do everything in their power to offer the most beneficial advice and support. They will see you as an individual and a human being and try to support you as best they can.
Experienced in Your Area
While all good family lawyers should have a sound knowledge of all relevant family law in Australia and your state, some may be better suited for your needs than others. Look for family lawyers who specifically practise or specialise in family law that concerns you, for instance, adoption. They will have more experience and be more able to manage the nuances of your situation as a result.
Find Your Family Lawyer Today
Family matters can be a mentally and emotionally taxing experience for everyone. Find yourself a professional family lawyer today to help you through the process and making it easier on all parties.