5 Things a Family Lawyer Can Do For You

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Family Law AttorneyFamily lawyers are legal professionals that specialize in matters to do with family law. They handle legal issues that are concerned with members of the family. Such legal issues include divorce, child custody, and guardianship among others. Family lawyers can act as mediators when family disagreements develop. They can also represent litigants in family conflicts that end up in court. Below are some of the things that family lawyers can do.      

1. Handling Divorce Issues

Undergoing a divorce is probably one of the most draining experiences that a family can face. Emotions may set in and make it impossible for a couple to settle it calmly. In such a case, a family law attorney can act as a mediator, and assist them to approach the issue rationally and within the law. In other words, a competent family law attorney can assist couples in the process of divorcing to settle the matter fairly without necessarily going to court. Consult Austin Lawyer Referral Service to refer you to a knowledgeable family lawyer.

2. Handling Estates and Wills

A will is a legal document through which people state how they would wish their property to be managed when they die. Family law attorneys are responsible for assisting people in drafting these documents. They also have what it takes to ensure that an estate is administered as stated by a deceased via the will.

3. Handling Child Custody Agreements

When a couple separates, one of the most difficult issues to handle has to be what happens to the children. Couples need to agree on how to take care of the children they have had together in the new arrangement. Child custody is defined by an agreement in which both parents have to live with the terms therein. A competent family lawyer can help parents that are parting ways to draft such an agreement. A family law attorney can also help parents in amending child custody agreements if need be.

4. Handling Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or a civil union. Although the content of such a contract may vary from one case to another, its main aim is to spell out the provisions of spousal support and division of the property in the event of a breakup or a divorce. A family lawyer can assist a couple in drafting a prenuptial agreement and handling any matters that may arise from the contract according to the law.

5. Represent Litigants in Court

Although family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some of these matters still end up in court. In such a case, family lawyers are best suited to help litigants get justice. These attorneys handle such cases almost every other day, and therefore, they have the necessary legal knowledge and practical experience to help litigants to navigate the complex jungles of family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.

The Takeaway

Overall, it is apparent that the importance of family law attorneys cannot be overemphasized. They help members of families to rationally handle family disputes that would otherwise be crowded by emotions. These lawyers have knowledge and experience to help people settle issues relating to divorce, child custody, prenuptial agreement, and estate administration among other legal issues affecting families. Thus, if you are having a family legal matter that needs a rational approach, contact Bauer family Law for a qualified family law attorney.

Benefits of Hiring a Family Law Lawyer

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Hiring a Family Law LawyerFamily lawyers handle a variety of issues from divorce and child custody to establishing paternity and guardianship. If you are considering getting a divorce, want to establish paternity, or are having any other family-related legal issue, you have probably asked yourself whether you should hire an attorney. While hiring a lawyer is not always the best move, hiring a family law attorney can greatly benefit you and your loved ones who are affected by your case.

Knowledge of the Law

Divorce law, child custody law, and other family law varies from state to state. An experienced family lawyer in your state will know the relevant statutes that govern your situation.

Knowing the law is highly beneficial whether or not your case ends up in court. An experienced attorney can use their knowledge of the law to advocate for you in court and defend your rights. In addition, a knowledgeable attorney can help you reach a settlement or other out-of-court agreement. Many divorce cases never go to court. Instead, the parties to the divorce agree on terms through informal discussions or formal mediation. Knowing the law can help you negotiate a more favorable agreement with your spouse.

Objectivity and Professionalism

Family law issues are often deeply personal, and strong emotions can flare up during the case. A family law attorney has some distance from the underlying relationships in your situation. An attorney can often remain calm and logical when it may be difficult for you to do so. Family law attorneys also have experience communicating and negotiating over highly personal matters. A family lawyer will be able to avoid engaging with an argumentative spouse.

Hiring a family lawyer can be beneficial if interactions with your spouse or other parties are stressful or tense. An attorney can ease your emotional burden throughout the case, often resulting in a faster and more satisfactory resolution.

Organization

While your legal issue is extremely important, the rest of your life cannot freeze until your case is resolved. It can be challenging to juggle work and your other responsibilities while staying on top of developments in your case. Legal paperwork often has to meet certain requirements, and courts have strict filing deadlines. If you miss a deadline, a court can dismiss your case or even enter a default judgment in the other party's favor. Hiring an attorney can ensure that you meet all deadlines and that all your paperwork complies with relevant standards. It is your lawyer’s job to be aware of important dates in your case, and a good lawyer is highly organized and dependable. When you hire a family law attorney, you will not have to let your other responsibilities slide while you resolve your legal issues.

Honest Advice

If you hire a family law attorney, they will approach your case with your best interests in mind. The right lawyer will listen to all the details of your case without the judgment that can sometimes come from even close family and friends. An attorney will also give you straightforward honest advice about how you should proceed to achieve your desired outcome. If you think that your case could benefit from hiring a family lawyer, you should make sure your lawyer is someone you feel comfortable with and can trust.

5 Reasons To Hire A Family Law Attorney

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Issues within the family can be stressful and strain the relationships between family members. There is a myriad of reasons to consult a family law attorney; among the most prominent are the complexities of the legal system, which is oftentimes difficult to navigate alone. Family law cases can pertain to child custody cases, divorce, and filing a restraining order. And it is often especially important to hire a child custody lawyer if you are a father, as 51% of custody cases award the mother as the primary parent.

Difficult To Navigate The Complex Legal System

The legal system can be difficult to navigate, especially for those who are not familiar with the legal lexicon. Furthermore, there are various deadlines that must be met before the statute of limitations expires and other important documents that must be filed with the courts. Hiring an experienced lawyer is also important because of their knowledge of past cases and their outcomes. As a result, lawyers can base your case on these parameters to achieve the best possible result.

The Other Party Has Representation

Hiring a family law attorney is also important when going to court, as the other party may have representation with copious amounts of legal knowledge to fall back on. Furthermore, the other party will be more prepared to go before the judge due to the legal counsel provided to them by the attorney.

Proper Documentation

When defending yourself in a court of law, it is critical to have all the proper legal documents and other evidence to support your case. These types of documentation and legal procedures could help decide the outcome of the case. Furthermore, a lawyer will know what you are entitled to, mitigating the need for you to argue your case in court.

Save Money on Legal Expenses

Although hiring a lawyer is a significant expense, it can be even more expensive if you choose to defend yourself. For example, if you end up losing your case, you may be paying more in alimony or other expenses to the opposing party. A family law attorney will be able to argue your case to get you the money that you deserve, while paying less money to the opposing party.

Relieves Stress

Family issues can be extremely stressful, as there are various circumstances to take care of at home, let alone worrying about adhering to deadlines and other dates. Therefore, hiring a family law attorney allows you to handle urgent issues at home, while your lawyer takes care of all the legal matters.

Tips to Starting a Family Law Practice

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on February 03, 2017, 6:00 AM
So you actually want to start a family law practice? And you did not come to this decision because a friend or family member asked you to help with a divorce? Do you actually want to spend your life in the most emotional battle zone in law? Just checking, because, if you didn't know it, there are good reasons why many lawyers run from practicing family law. It can be emotionally draining, financially challenging, and even dangerous to your health. Once you can accept that, it's not that hard to start a family law practice. Here are some tips, but first a story to double-check your commitment:

Gunshots Heard 'Round the Courthouse

Years ago, I was practicing family law in a jurisdiction where a commissioner, two lawyers, and two litigants were shot and killed following bitter custody battles. A grandmother and grandchild were victims, too, in a murder-suicide with a lawyer. That should be enough said, but here's how it affected the practice in general. Lawyers were scared. The man who walked into the opposing counsel's office and shot him dead probably did it for many attorneys. Or maybe it was the guy who followed the commissioner home and murdered him in his driveway. Anyway, one day I stopped by another practitioner's office to deliver some documents and to chat. She had installed bullet-proof glass in the reception area. Think about that.

Clients Will Come; Challenges Will Follow

If there is a bright side to these tales of woe, it is that there is no shortage of angry and disillusioned people who need legal help in family matters. Getting clients is not the real challenge to starting a family practice. Statistically, half your married friends will need your help with a divorce one day. Being there for people who are emotionally broken is actually the "good" part of the practice. You can be a counselor in more than the legal sense, helping the wounded to heal emotionally and legally. Just do a good job and they will come. The biggest challenge to "family practice" is that it is really more like "everything practice." You may start by filing a petition for dissolution in family court and end up in probate court if somebody dies (naturally, hopefully; otherwise, it may be criminal court.) Domestic violence and juvenile proceedings may actually be in the same building because "family lawyers" easily get entangled in other practice areas. New practitioners try to learn it all but they really should learn to refer cases to others for special handling. For example, new family attorneys should send out qualified domestic relations orders -- which divide pensions and retirement plans -- to other counsel who keep up with that part of the law. Basically, the learning curve is continuous and continuing education is mandatory.

Family Law Specialists

Certified by state bars in some jurisdictions, family law specialists usually have a leg up on the competition. Clients like to know that their lawyer knows more than their spouses' lawyer. In any case, you will get to know most of the attorneys in the family law community. There is certain collegiality, and it is a good thing in a difficult practice area and useful for referral work, especially for new practitioners. It is even appropriate to drop by and chat with opposing counsel -- if you can get past the bullet-proof glass.

What is Family Law?

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Family law is a legal practice area that focuses on issues involving family relationships such as marriage, adoption, divorce, and child custody, among others. Attorneys practicing family law can represent clients in family court proceedings or in related negotiations. They can also draft important legal documents such as court petitions or property agreements. Some family law attorneys even specialize in adoption, paternity, emancipation, or other matters not usually related to divorce. The matter of family encompasses so many life aspects. Lawyers in the field, therefore, help all kinds of people facing all kinds of sensitive issues that many people wouldn't immediately assume go under the family law umbrella. The following is a primer on family law and what it entails.

Helpful Terms to Know

  • Emancipation: A court process through which a minor becomes self-supporting, assumes adult responsibility for their personal welfare, and is no longer under the care of their parents.
  • Marital Property: Property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage that is subject to division upon divorce.
  • Alimony: An allowance made to one spouse by the other for support during or after a legal separation or divorce.
  • Paternity: Origin or descent from a father (to establish paternity is to confirm the identity of a child's biological father).
  • Prenuptial Agreement: An agreement made between a man and a woman before marrying in which they give up future rights to each other's property in the event of a divorce or death.

Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney

Most family lawyers represent clients in divorce proceedings and other matters related to divorce. But family law is a relatively broad practice area, including such issues as foster care and reproductive rights. Since family law matters hit so close to home, having a trusted legal professional by your side can help you ensure your loved ones are properly represented and protected during any legal process. The most common reasons to hire a family law attorney include:
  • Divorce: Each partner hires their own attorney, who will help devise a settlement plan in order to avoid a trial. Divorce attorneys typically are skilled at dividing marital property, calculating spousal support, and proposing a plan for child custody, visitation, and support (if applicable).
  • Child Custody / Child Support: Court orders and settlement agreements involving both custody and support usually are included in the larger divorce case, but maybe revisited as conditions change. For instance, child support may be altered after the non-custodial parent's financial situation changes.
  • Paternity: In most cases, paternity cases are filed by the mother in an effort to secure child support payments from an absent father. But sometimes biological fathers file for paternity in order to have a relationship with their child. Paternity typically is determined through DNA testing.
  • Adoption / Foster Care: Adoption is a complex process that differs according to the type of adoption, where the child is from, variances in state laws, and other factors. Therefore, it's important to consult with a family law attorney. Foster parents sometimes adopt their foster children, but the foster process does not necessarily require legal representation.

Related Practice Areas

Family law often intersects with a wide range of other legal practice areas. For example, instances of domestic violence and child abuse typically involve criminal investigations (and may result in arrests and charges). Along with that process, family courts are tasked with determining how to best protect the victims and ensure a relatively safe environment for those involved. Other related legal practice areas include the following:

Marriage and Divorce Laws Vary by State

States have the right to determine "reasonable formal requirements" for marriage, including age and legal capacity, as well as the rules and procedures for divorce and other family law matters. The timeframe of the divorce process, for example, depends on location. Some states have divorce laws that require a waiting period. Same-sex marriage has historically been a state matter. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, some states restricted marriage (and divorce) to opposite-sex couples only.

Need Help With a Family Law Matter? Talk to a Professional

Whether you're in the process of a divorce, need help with an adoption, or have questions about enforcing a child support order, it's often in your best interests to work with an attorney. Get the help you need by contacting an experienced family law attorney near you.

What Are the Effects of Divorce on Children?

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Divorce can be a difficult time for a family. Not only are the parents realizing new ways of relating to each other, but they are learning new ways to parent their children. When parents divorce, the effects of divorce on children can vary. Some children react to divorce in a natural and understanding way, while other children may struggle with the transition. Children are resilient and with assistance, the divorce transition can be experienced as an adjustment rather than a crisis. Since the children in a divorce vary (different temperaments, different ages), the effects of divorce on children vary, too. FamilyMeans understands this and approaches a divorce by understanding what the effects are on children of all dispositions. With this in mind, here are some of the most commonly seen effects divorces has on children FamilyMeans can help parents manage:

Poor Performance in Academics

Divorce is difficult for all members of the family. For children, trying to understand the changing dynamics of the family may leave them distracted and confused. This interruption in their daily focus can mean one of the effects of divorce on children would be seen in their academic performance. The more distracted children are, the more likely they are to not be able to focus on their school work. Holding Hands

Loss of Interest in Social Activity

Research has suggested divorce can affect children socially, as well. Children whose family is going through a divorce may have a harder time relating to others and tend to have fewer social contacts. Sometimes children feel insecure and wonder if their family is the only family that has gotten divorced.

Difficulty Adapting to Change

Through divorce, children can be affected by having to learn to adapt to change more often and more frequently. New family dynamics, new house or living situation, schools, friends, and more, may all have an effect.

Emotionally Sensitive

Divorce can bring several types of emotions to the forefront for a family, and the children involved are no different. Feelings of loss, anger, confusion, anxiety, and many others, all may come from this transition. Divorce can leave children feeling overwhelmed and emotionally sensitive. Children need an outlet for their emotions – someone to talk to, someone who will listen, etc. – children may feel the effects of divorce through how they process their emotions.

Anger/Irritability

In some cases, where children feel overwhelmed and do not know how to respond to the effects they feel during divorce, they may become angry or irritable. Their anger may be directed at a wide range of perceived causes. Children processing divorce may display anger at their parents, themselves, their friends, and others. While for many children this anger dissipates after several weeks, if it persists, it is important to be aware that this may be a lingering effect of the divorce on children.

Feelings of Guilt

Children often wonder why a divorce is happening in their family. They will look for reasons, wondering if their parents no longer love each other, or if they have done something wrong. These feelings of guilt are a very common effect of divorce on children, but also one which can lead to many other issues. Guilt increases pressure, can lead to depression, stress, and other health problems. Providing context and counseling for a child to understand their role in a divorce can help reduce these feelings of guilt.

Introduction of Destructive Behavior

While children go through a divorce, unresolved conflict may lead to future unexpected risks. Research has shown children who have experienced divorce in the previous 20 years were more likely to participate in crimes, rebelling through destructive behavior which harms a child's health, with more children reporting they have acquired smoking habits or prescription drug use.

Increase in Health Problems

The process of divorce and its effects on children can be stressful. Dealing with these issues can take its toll, including physical problems. Children who have experienced divorce have a higher perceptibility to sickness, which can stem from many factors, including their difficulty going to sleep. Also, signs of depression can appear, exacerbating these feelings of loss of well-being, and deteriorating health signs.

Loss of Faith in Marriage and Family Unit

Finally, despite hoping to have stable relationships themselves when they grow up, research has also shown children who have experienced divorce are more likely to divorce when in their own relationships. Some research indicates this propensity to divorce maybe two to three times as high as children who come from non-divorced families. Yet, while these are some of the possible effects of divorce on children, they are by no means absolutes or written in stone. More and more, families understand just how stressful divorce is for their children, as well as their selves. Families have begun to turn to supportive services such as at FamilyMeans, seeking help to find a peaceful way to divorce. Through our Collaborative Divorce program, we are helping families more successfully navigate this transition, both for the sake of the parents and for the children involved.    

What Types of Family Law Are There?

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Family law encompasses a wide range of services, all having to do with the family. While most people think that family lawyers only deal with divorces, the truth is that they actually handle a spectrum of cases, often pertaining to the formation of or the dissolution of a family. Here are some of the types of cases that family lawyers handle. Be aware that not all family law attorneys will handle all types of cases; many choose to specialize in just one or two, while others become a jack of all trades, at least where family law is concerned.  

Divorce Lawyers

If you have gone through a divorce, you might be well-versed in what divorce attorneys do. They can guide you through your separation and/or divorce. They work with you to get you the best settlement possible when it comes to your divorce. They can help you negotiate on matters like who gets the house, who pays alimony (if applicable), how to divide assets, and how to split the liabilities of the marriage. Most of the time, your divorce lawyer will help you get the results you need without having to go to trial. In a small minority of cases, however, a trial is necessary; when this happens, your lawyer will represent you during that process. Many divorcing couples can’t afford attorneys or simply don’t want to pay high fees for a private attorney. In these situations, a legal advocacy group can help. This type of group handles the same things that an attorney would and helps their client achieve a fair and equitable settlement from his or her divorce.  

Child Custody and Paternity Lawyers

If there’s a question of paternity for a child, a family lawyer can help either the mother or the father prove or disprove paternity. If a man was paying child support for a child that turns out not to be his or if he wasn’t paying child support for a child who is, in fact, biologically his, a paternity attorney can help. An attorney can also help both mothers and fathers who need to develop a parenting plan for their children when the marriage or relationship breaks up. They can help their client get joint physical and legal custody; conversely, an attorney can also help a parent gain sole custody if that’s what is in the best interest of the child. Finally, a child custody attorney can also help figure out disputes related to child support. Which parent should pay, what the amount should be, and what expenses each parent is responsible for covering are all matters that a family attorney (or a legal resource group) can help their clients negotiate.  

Marriage and Civil Union Lawyers

People who are getting married or going into a civil union or domestic partnership might need an attorney to help them develop a prenuptial agreement or to receive counsel on assets, a business, or other legal matters. Some couples who are already married decide to put together a postnuptial agreement; a family law attorney can help with this, too.  

Family Law Lawyers Dealing With Abuse

Domestic abuse and child abuse are very serious issues that a family law attorney might handle. They can work for the person who is abused (or the non-abusive parent of the abused child) or for the person accused of abuse. An attorney can help a victim file a restraining order or file a lawsuit. They might help a battered spouse seek financial compensation for medical care or emotional trauma. If the lawyer is hired by the person who allegedly abused their spouse or child, they might be able to help them prove that the incident didn’t happen or that it wasn’t them who committed the crime. They might also help a formerly abusive parent gain visitation rights (often supervised) with their child.  

Adoption Lawyers

If you want to adopt a child or place a child for adoption, you might need an adoption lawyer. They can help you find an appropriate adoption agency and file any legal paperwork that might be required to either relinquish or adopt a child. They can also help with step-parent adoptions or with adoptions by same-sex couples. If there are legal complications (such as the birth parents or the adoptive parents changing their minds), an attorney can represent their client in court.  

Guardianship Lawyers

If you are trying to get guardianship of someone who is not your own minor child, you will likely need a family attorney. Guardianship can include children as well as adults with dementia or developmental problems. For example, if you have a child who will require a guardian even once they are an adult, you will need a family lawyer to facilitate that paperwork. Also, if you have a child in your family (such as a niece, nephew, or grandchild) whose parents are unable to care for them properly, a family attorney might be able to help you get custody and avoid having the child go into foster care. If one of your own children has been placed in foster care, a family attorney can help you with the steps needed to get your child back. They can refer you to a social worker, a counselor, or other professionals who will be able to reunite you with your child. When it comes to choosing a family attorney, it’s important to look for someone whom you feel comfortable with and who has taken on cases similar to your case. You might have used a family lawyer for another case in the past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that individual is the right person to represent you in your new case. For example, a divorce attorney who mainly handles divorces might not be the right lawyer to contact if you later want to adopt a child. Keep in mind that you don’t always need to pay the high fees of a private lawyer. Legal groups like Family Law Legal Group can represent you for less money, depending on the specific issue. Think about what services you need and give us a call to find out if we can help you.

10 Tips for Dealing With Divorce & Family Law Matters

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The complexity of Divorce and Family Law matters can be an overwhelming challenge for any spouse. Although lawyers and judges have seen almost every version and variation of a divorce, spouses experiencing it for the first time encounter a steep learning curve. It would be oversimplified to distill such an individual and unique experience down to any kind of generally applicable recommendations, but here are some simple tips that can only help with the process. Not surprisingly, the focus is on those things that are genuinely within your control, in a realm where many things are not.

1. Don’t Believe What You’ve Heard

You will hear things from family, friends, co-workers, fictional television and literary characters. Take all of that “legal advice”, reduce it to writing and run it through a paper shredder. Do not put any prophetic value in their particular outcome. Often lawyers will hear things like, “my friend got $10,000.00 per month in spousal support, why can’t I get that?”..or “my cousin got sole custody of his children, so I want the same.” Permitting those who have been through a divorce or separation to set your expectations of legal entitlements or obligations will leave you vulnerable to disappointment. Consider that each case is analyzed within its own unique and sometimes peculiar set of circumstances: the income of this particular couple, this particular couple’s assets and liabilities and the perceived best interests of this particular couple’s children. Prototypes or cookie-cutter approaches don’t have a place in Divorce and Family Law matters. One spouse’s particular legal outcome is not relatable to another. That being said, you should listen to and value what they may have told you they felt about the process. That is wholly relatable.

2. Ensure That You Have a Reliable Support Network

You will need support through the divorce process: emotional and possibly financial support. Emotional support might come in the form of professional counselling, an online support group or just a solid core of family and friends with whom to commiserate. You will likely have those moments where you feel that the walls are closing in. You will be well-served by having those people in your corner who are prepared to do nothing more than listen on the bad days.  Any other healthy form of emotional self-treatment is advisable, as you will be perpetually trying to compartmentalize and “find your happy place”. Also, legal fees for contested Divorce & Family Law matters can be challenging to manage.  In addition to making sure the lawyer you choose is within your financial means, you should pre-emptively consider a tangible plan to finance their fees, upfront and as matters move forward.

3. Choose the Right Lawyer

Make sure that the lawyer that you choose is adequately able to meet the moment. Considering your spouse and the issues, if you are able to anticipate the complexity, style, pace and tone of your Divorce and Family Law matter, be sure to choose your lawyer accordingly. Each Divorce Lawyer comes with different scopes and depths of experience, but equally important, distinct styles. If you are convinced that your spouse will narcissistically and aggressively employ a “scorched earth” approach, you may want to retain a lawyer who is comfortable dealing with high conflict matters. If you have an amicable relationship that you want to salvage and cultivate even after divorce, you might be better served by a lawyer with a more collaborative style.

4. Distinguish the Battles from the War

Some Divorce and Family Law issues have a higher degree of urgency and should be resolved with some immediacy.  Also, some issues can be summarily resolved as the “low-hanging fruit”, where the fair and just outcome is self-evident to all. Those should be resolved upfront, if even on a temporary basis, pending a final decision. Discuss your priorities with your lawyer and triage the issues accordingly. Hopefully sooner than later, with merit, urgency and priority assigned to your issues, the genuine impasses should reveal themselves. The only remaining decision will be how to resolve them.

5. Explore Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Court is never the only option. Quite the contrary, it should always be considered the final resort. Models of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) are rapidly growing in popularity and rightfully so. Conventionally called “mediation”, this forum provides amicable, economical and emotionally healthier means for parties to resolve their Divorce & Family Law issues. There is no limit to the applicability of ADR. It is an attractive option whether your divorce involves parenting matters, child/spousal support or property division.

6. Get Organized

Resolving money matters in divorce, including support and property division, calls for a high degree of financial transparency between the spouses.  The spouses are expected to exchange information including income tax returns, pay stubs, bank account statements and monthly budgets. Regardless of how amicable the financial issues are between you and your spouse, full, honest and accurate financial disclosure is a fundamental principle of resolving a divorce. Start gathering your financial paperwork. You will need it.

7. Rediscover Your Marriage Contracts

Consider any prenuptial or cohabitation agreements that you may have signed prior to marriage. These documents often find themselves tucked away in safety deposit boxes or filing cabinets, but their value cannot be overstated. They may play a role in partially or wholly predetermining the outcome of your divorce matters.

8. Communicate Appropriately on Social Media and With Your Spouse

Experienced Divorce and Family Lawyers can cite no shortage of examples of spouses undermining their own positions on social media and in written communications with their spouse. This could come in the form of shamelessly broadcasting their antagonistic and abusive remarks to leave no doubt who is the “unfriendly parent”. Or perhaps immodestly posting photographic evidence of any new found wealth amid allegations of their under-reporting of income. You can bet that this information will be used by your spouse to strengthen their position and weaken yours. Favorable outcomes in Divorce and Family Law issues become that much more challenging when you are literally the “author of your own misfortune”. Throughout divorce proceedings, sensible spouses exhibit discipline and restraint in their use of social media and telecommunications. Be sensible.

9. Consider the Need for Experts

A healthy lawyer-client relationship provides the principal means by which to move Divorce & Family matters forward toward resolution. However, that ongoing exchange of client instructions and legal advice has its limits. At some point, if external professional opinions or advice is required, that should be delegated to experts uniquely qualified for those roles. Certain parenting issues may call for the retaining of Counsellors/Parenting Experts. Certain financial issues may call for the retaining of Forensic Accountants or Income Analysts. Everyone should stay in their lane. Let the Lawyers do the lawyering. Let the Counsellors do the counselling. Let the Accountants do the accounting. No one should ever be forced to overreach or step outside of their role. Of course, consideration must be given to the cost of expert fees. Each spouse backed by their own multi-disciplinary “Dream Team” of favourable experts might be theoretically attractive, but it is not financially viable for most. Wherever possible, experts should be conservatively and judiciously chosen, and only where there is the most critical informational need. Spouses may even consider jointly retaining an expert to minimize cost and pave a path toward consensus.

10. Prepare for the Real Possibility that Your Divorce is More of a Process Than an Event

All divorcing spouses seek the proverbial clean break, allowing them to swiftly move on from their marriage without ongoing interference or conflict. That is simply not achievable in all cases. Where issues are subject to changing fact situations, it might be necessary to revisit those issues as things evolve. Formal arrangements made for parenting time, decision-making for the children, child support and spousal support are only as useful as the facts on the ground at that time. When those facts materially change, so too should the arrangements that were made. Support should be subject to annual review as employment situations and incomes change. Parenting matters should be monitored closely to ensure adequate ongoing responsiveness to the “best interests of the children”. No one wants to have a Family Lawyer on their payroll or on speed dial. The process that is divorce is more a function of the unpredictability of life events than it is unscrupulous lawyers milking the system. Once again, ADR has presented itself as a process by which spouses can deal with ongoing fluid situations in a relatively cost-effective fashion.
Whatever your Divorce and Family Law need, Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP is ready and able to assist. We are pleased to offer the general public access to information to alleviate anxiety and help with decision making. If you or someone that you know has any questions or concerns about the legal challenges of Divorce and Family Law, Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP is available for a consultation. Also, please be sure to sign up for the Kirk Montoute Dawon LLP Family Law Webinar Series for more information.

5 Steps to Establishing a Family Law Firm

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Earning a law degree and being admitted to the bar unfortunately no longer guarantees a job in a law firm. Even before the pandemic, only about 60% of law firms were looking towards hiring new attorneys. This number is likely even lower now that we are in a pandemic recession.  Considering these facts, you might want to explore hanging up your own shingle. Since the thought of starting a firm can be overwhelming, here are the tried and true steps from those who have gone before you.

Here are the Steps to Establish a Family Law Firm

1. Find Your Niche

Your law firm will benefit the most from focusing on a particular niche market. Focus on your niche before your law firm ever accepts its first client so that you set yourself up for success when it does. You’ve picked a niche in becoming a family law attorney. Do you want to address all areas of family law, or do you want to narrow your practice even further into sub-specialties such as international adoption, LGBTQ family issues, or high-asset divorce, for instance? What training, education, and experience have you acquired that most other people in your niche have not? Outside of the practice of law, how can you best connect with your target market? Your website and social media platforms should make your niche clear to prospective clients. You can use these platforms as a place to market your services and tell potential law clients why they should hire you instead of the competition.

2. Register Your Business

Before starting a law firm of any type, you need to register your business with your state’s Department of Corporations. Companies need to register to be official in the state’s eyes (s) they operate in. However, before taking this step, it’s necessary to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS. This number is unique to your firm and is required to file both state and federal income taxes and for reporting your employee’s income taxes, including any revenue you pay yourself. Upon registering your business with the state, you will also need to provide the following information:
  • Officer name(s) and their primary mailing address
  • A registered agent, along with their address
A registered agent is someone authorized to accept service of process on behalf of the firm if a lawsuit is filed against it.

3. Reserve a Unique and Memorable Domain Name for Your Website

In today’s digital age, no company or firm will survive without some sort of online presence. If you can’t be found online, you likely don’t exist with your potential clients. The first step in building an online presence is to reserve a domain name. The web address or URL someone uses to access a website is a domain name. Getting one might seem like a minor detail in the grand scheme of establishing your law firm; however, it’s imperative to your business’s short- and long-term success. Select a domain name that is exclusive to your family law firm, but don’t let it get overly long or complicated. Domain names that are wordy, confusing, or difficult to recall may not be found by your potential clients when they go to find you online. You should provide prospective clients who want to visit your website with a smooth and effortless process. If that’s not what they experience, they will most likely look elsewhere online for their legal service needs. Don’t let something as simple as a difficult domain name deter prospective clients from getting the help you offer.

4. Create an Optimized Website

A short and catchy domain name for users is a necessary step. Still, you’ll need to develop a website that’s built for search engine optimization (SEO). SEO (search engine optimization) is a form of internet marketing. It can help your website rank higher in search engine results. A website’s SEO can make the difference between having it readily visible on the internet or being buried in millions of results and ultimately overlooked. As a future business owner, you might be alarmed to learn that 75% of Google users never scroll past the first page of search results. If you can’t get your website to rank on this first page, preferably in the first few results, it can be very difficult to get the clients you need to keep our business afloat. For instance, if you’re a Seattle lawyer working on divorce cases, you’ll want to rank on the first page of Google results for “Seattle divorce attorneys.” Ways to optimize your website’s rankings include:
  • Using videos and photographs
  • Regularly posting blog content that uses searchable keywords and phrases
You may even want to consider hiring an experienced SEO marketing firm to help you create a website that will take your law firm to the next level.

5. Utilize Your Networking Power

social networking for lawyersOne pillar of business success is networking. Simply put, don’t hesitate to tell other people what your vision is and what your law firm is doing. If you’ve been working in private practice for another firm before starting your own, you’ve likely developed an extensive professional network. It might seem silly but, take the time to create a list of names in your professional network. Doing so will help you comprehend the depth of your connections and ensure you don’t forget anyone. Once you’ve identified all the members of your network, send an announcement in the form of a letter or an email to let everyone in your network know what you’re doing. A professional network is a valuable and easy way to produce leads and referrals for your law firm. It might also be the key to getting your family law firm off the ground when you first open your doors.

Follow These Steps to Establish a Successful Family Law Firm

Starting a business of any kind is a challenge. Getting past the first year or two can be a relief, but it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Sadly, more than half of all entrepreneurs fail after their fifth year in business. However, you don’t need to contribute to that statistic and can help avoid it by following these steps to establish a family law firm.

What is family law?

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The legal definition of family law is the collection of laws and legislation that relate to issues that have a serious and significant impact on family relationships. While family law is often seen as synonymous with handling divorce proceedings, the reality is that it encompasses a wide range of subjects that affect all areas of personal and family life.

Why is family law important?

Family law lays out and protects the rights and responsibilities of family members across a wide spectrum of situations. It is designed to be a framework that provides a basis for achieving fair and equitable results for all family members involved, whether they are adults or children. Family law can be an emotionally charged area of law, dealing as it often does with failing relationships and the resulting conflict. For this reason, family law solicitors require not only legal knowledge but also a good understanding of people and how to support them with appropriate sensitivity.

Types of family law

As already mentioned, family law is a diverse and wide-ranging area of practice, although it can be most briefly categorised into three areas: matrimonial, financial, and child-related. At Robinson’s Solicitors, our specialist solicitors work across all sectors to provide the full spectrum of family law from prenuptials to Child Arrangement Orders.

Divorce

For many people, family law touches their lives only when they file for divorce. Family law relating to divorce covers all aspects of ending a marriage, including separation of assets, financial support, and Child Arrangement Orders

Prenuptials and Cohabitation Agreements

Prenuptials are no longer the preserve of the rich and famous. While seen as unromantic, a prenuptial should be considered a sensible and pragmatic course of action that allows both parties to calmly agree future expectations should the relationship break down. UK law does not recognise the status of unmarried couples and so there is no protection should the relationship fail. For those considering setting up home together, but not intending to marry in the near future, a Cohabitation Agreement acts in a similar way to a prenuptial, ensuring that both parties are in agreement about what should happen to shared assets should they part ways.

Finances for the unmarried

As covered above, UK law doesn’t recognise what is often called ‘common law’ partners. When unmarried couples split, they have often acquired assets together. Without the legal framework afforded to married couples, good legal advice and representation are vital to achieving a fair and equitable resolution, especially if children are involved.

Children

Child Arrangement Orders and access can be the most contentious part of any relationship breakdown, and is arguably the most important. Should parents be unable to reach an agreement between themselves, then clear guidance and experience of handling such issues are invaluable. In cases where families have become involved with the local authority, it is essential for family members to understand their rights and responsibilities with regard to the affected children.