When Do You Need a Family Lawyer? What comes to your mind when you think of family law? Many would say divorce and/or the courtroom, but that’s the tip of the iceberg.
It is natural for people to identify “family lawyers” as someone who only helps individuals get a divorce. Pictures are conjured of lawyers arguing with each other in court. But a good family law lawyer does much more. Family lawyers deal with any situation(s) which may arise between individuals who have a familial relationship, either by blood or by marriage. This can include grandparents, spouse, siblings, grandchildren, guardians, stepparents, or even domestic partners.
A good family law attorney wears many hats.
He or she is an advocate in court of course – but also a counselor, a coach, and a sounding board for advice. Family law, by its definition, requires dedicated lawyers who are willing to help families. Often this involves helping people think through the outcome of a divorce, and ways to settle it with the least disruption. Key issues are custody (and the exact way people will share time with their kids), property division, support, and child adoptions. But behind these key points are layers of detail. Who claims the kids on taxes? How should someone divide up family pictures or other belongings? What is the best way for a divorcing couple to communicate? How do we get the house sold?
I like to also help people adjust from marriage to being single. What concerns do they have? What fears are there? Some clients are afraid of the future; others can’t wait to get there. And I strongly encourage mediation and other ways to resolve the case. I am a certified family law mediator in addition to working as an attorney. It’s rewarding when two people can put aside differences to plan out their new future.
A good family lawyer guides people on ways to resolve things before a divorce or paternity action is filed. Time in the courtroom should be a last resort.
Finally, good family law attorneys listen.
It’s important to have a support group when you go through a divorce, and your attorney is part of that mix. Listening to clients is not always easy but it’s an important part of our role as counselors, advocates, and confidants. Family law issues go to the core of a person’s life, and a good family lawyer pays attention to those details. In short, he or she gives all clients the respect they deserve.