Family law firms handle legal matters between people with a close familial bond, including parents, grandparents and spouses. They also deal with matters that concern or involve children, including custody, adoption, and juvenile delinquency. While no one ever hopes to need the services of one of these attorneys, there are several occasions where this type of law firm may be beneficial for you and your family.
If you and your spouse have attempted everything possible to make your situation work, and have discovered that divorce is the best option, you will benefit from hiring an attorney who works for a family law firm. He would be able to assist in the division of property accumulated during the relationship, work out who should be awarded custody of any minor children, as well as settle questions regarding visitation and help with setting up alimony or child support payment arrangements. Keep in mind, however, that the opposing party may also have sought the assistance of such an attorney, and choose to contest the divorce. If matters cannot be resolved, a judge may become the final arbiter.
In divorce or separation cases, along with filing paperwork and preparing for court appearances, much of the work done by family law attorneys involves working with their clients, and trying to keep the emotional situations under control, something that often is an issue in matters regarding spouses or children. In these situations, they can serve as legal counsel to one party, or they may choose to provide counseling services to the couple, or simply act as impartial, third-party mediators.
A representative from a family law firm can also help to try resolve situations before they occur. For instance, prior to a couple taking their wedding vows, a family law lawyer could help them draft a prenuptial agreement that spells out how money and property would be shared in the event of a divorce, or he might help create the agreement once the marriage has taken place. These postnuptial agreements often include issue regarding child custody, visitation rights and child support, as well as the division of property and other assets.
On occasion, a family may need to consult with a lawyer who specializes in family law because of a criminal issue that involves a minor family member, or in situations that involve domestic violence or abuse. Often, these attorneys will have made matters such as juvenile law, or possibly criminal law, their specific area of expertise.
Not many work deals with emotional pain and discord, however. Lawyers that work through family law firms also have the opportunity to deal with a family's happier occasions, such as adoptions. They are often called on for advice and assistance in making sure that all the necessary steps and procedures are followed so that everything goes smoothly, and the process can be finalized quickly and easily. In situations where one or both parents have passed away, the attorney would also be responsible for working with the child's grandparents or other relatives to establish visits and possible living arrangements.