Relationships between parents and children are often intensely personal and emotionally rich. As your family grows and changes, your instinct may be to attempt to face challenges and resolve problems together and keep issues within the family rather than involving any outside parties.
However, there are many situations in which seeking help from a family law attorney can alleviate your burden and lead you toward a successful resolution to some difficult family problems.
While family law attorneys are often associated with divorce, they can also assist with a range of other family matters that require legal guidance. An experienced family lawyer can not only provide counsel and representation that helps you protect yourself and your family, but will also treat you with the empathy and compassion that you need during a major life event, whether joyful or painful.
Here are some of the ways that a family law attorney can help:
If you are an unmarried parent, it may be necessary to establish your children’s paternity to ensure the father’s involvement in their lives. As a mother, you may want to establish paternity so that your children’s father is required to make child support payments and contribute his share to their daily needs and other expenses including medical care, school, and extracurricular activities. As a father, you may want to prove your paternity so that you have the right to spend time with your children and contribute to important decisions about their life and upbringing. A family lawyer can work with either parent to legally establish paternity, whether through a signed acknowledgement of paternity or a voluntary or court-ordered DNA test.
Divorce can be hard for both separating spouses and their children. In addition to the emotional stress that comes with a divorce, you will also need to consider your financial situation and work toward a fair distribution of assets and debts, and possibly seek spousal support. If you and your spouse have made the mutual decision to divorce, a divorce lawyer can guide you through the process of mediation, which allows you to cooperate and provide input on an agreement that meets both of your needs. Mediation can save you from the time, stress, and invasion of privacy that comes with a trial, but if a trial is necessary, an attorney can work with you to present a strong case in court and protect your interests.
Negotiating Parenting Agreements
If you have young children when you divorce, some of the most important decisions you make will involve child custody and visitation. Custody includes much more than which parent the children will live with primarily. You also need to consider each parent’s responsibility for important decisions in your children’s lives like their education, medical treatment, and religious upbringing. You will also need to reach an agreement on a schedule of the children’s time with each parent. A family law attorney can help you negotiate your parenting plan as part of your divorce agreement, and ensure that it accounts for each parent’s desires, and more importantly, considers the best interests of your children.
Aiding In Adoption
Adopting a child can be one of the happiest moments of your life, but the process to get there may be long and complicated. A family lawyer can guide you through each step to make sure you are taking appropriate action and completing all necessary paperwork to keep the adoption on track. An attorney can also navigate the unique elements of different kinds of adoptions, including agency and independent adoptions, step-parent and relative adoptions, and co-parent adoptions for same-sex couples.
Obtaining Orders of Protection
Unfortunately, domestic violence is a serious issue that impacts many families. If you or your children have been victims of domestic violence it is crucial that you obtain protection from the abuser. A family law attorney can help you seek an order of protection from physical or verbal abuse, harassment, and other threatening behavior, whether it comes from a spouse, a parent, or another member of the household. In an emergency, a lawyer can help you seek a protection order that is enforceable as soon as the same day, as well as make sure that law enforcement officers are available to keep you, your children, and your home safe.
Any of these situations can be difficult to handle on your own, but if you know when and how to seek help, you can create a better life for yourself and your family. A divorce lawyer can guide you through an emotional time while helping keep conflict to a minimum, and a family law attorney can help you ensure that your children are protected and provided for, whether you are unmarried, married, or divorced. When you know your family’s legal matters are in good hands, you can focus on strengthening your family bonds and enjoying your lives together.
Author Bio: Tricia D. Goostree knew she wanted to be an attorney when she was 10 years old. After being accepted to the John Marshall Law School with a Dean’s Scholarship, Tricia added excellent writing skills to her love of working in the courtroom. Tricia is the founder and managing partner of the Goostree Law Group, P.C. in St. Charles, Illinois.