A Family Law Attorney You Can Trust
Although the family is considered as the basic and arguably the most essential unit of society, it is often not without its flaws. Spouses can become estranged, child custody battles can ensue, and child support and visitation rights have to be determined, as a consequence. When you find yourself in the midst of a complicated and on-going struggle involving your spouse, children, or other parties, you need a family law attorney you can fully trust. Whether you are planning for mediation or proceeding to litigation, you need a family law attorney who, in addition to legal experience and knowledge, also possesses the essential qualities of compassion and commitment.
The Types of Situation That Call for the Help of a Reliable Family Law Attorney
Sometimes, family life will not always be smooth-sailing. Some decisions may not necessarily be amenable to all family members involved. Alternatively, external forces may be at work in complicating an otherwise harmonious family life.
As much as some complications can be ironed out without having to take legal procedures, some family-related issues do necessitate appropriate and immediate legal help. To avoid putting yourself and the rest of your family members at risk for possible and needless aggravation, you need reliable and committed legal representation.
This is where a family law attorney becomes indispensable. A family lawyer can help you and other members of your family as you go through the following challenging situations:
- Parental responsibility issues
- Child support
- Child custody
- Paternity tests
- Child abuse
- Child abduction
- Prenuptial agreements
- Spousal support
- Property settlements
The presence of a family law attorney helps to ensure that you and concerned family members are made aware of your rights as you go through a challenging process.
When you have sufficient knowledge of pertinent family laws that may have a bearing on your specific situation, you are able to make better and more informed decisions.
The impartial perspective of a family lawyer can also help you deal with your emotions, especially in painful situations where your spouse, minor children, or other family members are involved.
From a Family Lawyer’s Perspective: Adoption, Divorce, and Custody Statistics
In a list of compiled data on families in the United States, the United States Census Bureau has ruled that as many as 69% of children under 18 live with two parents, while 23% live within a single-parent household. The remaining percentages point to living arrangements that involve grandparents and/or relatives.
The same U.S. bureau has furthermore stated that as many as 50% of these two-parent families involve re-married or re-coupled parents. Various forms of the ‘family’ have emerged through the years, often involving previously-divorced parents with children, step-parents, single mothers, divorced dads, and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer) unions with biological children from a prior relationship and/or adopted children.
These non-traditional forms of the American family are brought about, in part, by divorces, which reached to 827,261 cases in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The United States Census Bureau has reported, furthermore, that only one-half of custodial parents are in possession of either formal/legal or informal agreements on child support payments. Furthermore, only 43.5% of custodial parents who were expected to receive child support were able to receive full support in 2016.
Family Law Cases: Settlement, Mediation, Collaborative Law, or Litigation?
When dealing with a family law dispute, you will be faced with a variety of legal options. A few of these common legal actions are whether to settle through counseling, to allow for mediation, or to pursue litigation.
It is thus essential for your family law attorney to be thoroughly familiar with the details of your case for him or her to be able to dispense the right advice. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all family disputes. Just because the next family was able to conclude successfully through litigation doesn’t mean that your own dispute will have to go through a negotiated settlement or court action.
If litigation is not an option, some of the common resolution methods for family law disputes are the following:
The parties involved in the dispute may participate in a direct or face-to-face discussion to settle their differences and concerns. Although these negotiations can be done by concerned parties on their own, it will be helpful for them to have consulted with their respective lawyers first, or to have their lawyers with them during these negotiation discussions. Depending on the state where both parties reside, they may have access to court-provided services that can help in these out-of-court negotiation talks.
Conciliation is where both parties resolve their dispute through the help of a court officer who will give them time to revisit their situation and evaluate all possible options considered helpful in arriving at an amenable arrangement. Conciliation is also known as court ADR (Assisted Dispute Resolution).
Mediation also involves assisted dispute resolution, where a mediator serves to help both parties reach a reasonable settlement regarding family disputes. However, instead of just allowing the concerned parties to discuss with one another, the mediator will assume a more intervening role. Here, the mediator will provide communication assistance to each of the parties during discussions so that their concerns may be put forth clearly and objectively.
Mediation is often an option undertaken by parties who are involved in issues like child support, parenting arrangements, visitation rights, and property settlements, among others.
- Collaborative law.
In this non-litigation action, the lawyers of both parties involved in the family dispute will collaborate and help their clients to cooperate and negotiation with the other so that a fair and favorable settlement may be achieved. In this process, derogatory remarks between both parties are discouraged to address conflicts better and to build good faith towards reaching a satisfactory, mutually-advantageous settlement.
When Does Litigation Become a Necessity for Family Law Disputes?
The availability of various settlement options, however, will not immediately point to the non-viability of litigation, especially where complicated cases are concerned. If the collaborative law has already been taken as a resort and this, too, has failed to achieve any solid resolution, litigation may be considered as a last and final option.
Frequently, litigation is viewed as a viable legal option when it already becomes crucial for the case to be heard by a family court judge, specifically because both parties have failed to reach a workable settlement between them. Some cases are also more complicated than others. While negotiation and dispute resolutions can take care of the simpler cases, litigation may have to be a requisite before re-negotiate settlement in complicated cases can commence.
However, there several reasons why litigation is often considered as a last option for family issues. The costs involved can be several times more expensive than resorting to a settlement. It can take long months before a case will be heard in a state family court. Once the case is heard by a judge, the complexity of the case may further derail the court’s decision. If you are looking for an early way out of the family dispute you are embroiled in, litigation may not be the route for you.
Nonetheless, litigation can serve as a way for a settlement to be re-negotiated in front of a judge. There are many cases where property settlements or child support cases have had to undergo litigation, only to result in a clearer and more amenable settlement arrangement for both parties and other family members involved.
Important Qualities to Look for in a Family Law Attorney
When looking to hire a family lawyer, whether for custody, divorce, or visitation matters, court experience, and family law expertise are just the basic requirements.
With family law being one of the more sensitive and difficult legal areas to tread on, it pays to have a compassionate and committed family law attorney who will work on your case from mediation or negotiation to litigation, if needed.
Some of the most important qualities of a family lawyer are the following:
- Updated knowledge of family law.
The intricacies of family law and certain legal guidelines may vary from state to state. Moreover, certain laws could change or become updated over a period of years. If you are filing for a case or seeking for mediation within a specific state, your family law attorney should be someone who works within that geographic area and someone who stays abreast of the most recent and relevant law revisions. The last thing you would want is to face your spouse or opposing parties unprepared because your lawyer failed to do his or her prior research.
- Willingness to negotiate or to litigate, as needed.
Different cases require different approaches. A family law attorney, for example, may suggest for you to seek out counseling or any other preliminary conciliatory effort first if this has not yet been done.
Or, your lawyer may suggest a settlement, employing collaborative law where you and the other party (such as your spouse, the father of your child, or the surrogate parent, etc.) will sit down with the family attorney to address pertinent issues in a non-violent and non-confrontational manner.
However, some cases may benefit from a firmer approach, such as litigation. If all efforts have been made to no avail, your family law attorney should have the ability to represent you and defend your case in front of a family court judge. It is important for your legal counsel to leave all possible options open, from counseling to mediation to litigation, to ensure that your case results in the most positive outcome for all concerned parties.
- Solid people skills.
These soft skills are crucial in any profession, which means they can also be valuable to your attorney. Your family law attorney will need people skills, whether in communicating and building relationships with clients or in working with his or her staff.
A personable quality will help you to build rapport with your lawyer and encourage you to speak out about your most important, even most personal, concerns. You can easily ask questions from a lawyer who makes himself or herself available for consultation and updates at all times.
Finally, you will benefit from a lawyer who knows how to work with a team, whether it’s a paralegal or a firm partner. To be able to move your case in the right direction, your lawyer should have the ability to act and serve as a team player, whenever the need for it arises.
This quality comes from having the skill to listen and to empathize with what you are going through whether as a spouse seeking a divorce, as an adoptive parent, or a mother fighting for child support.
Family concerns are some of the most difficult struggles to deal with and, frequently, the cases will involve estranged spouses, parents, children, and other family members. A compassionate family law attorney will listen to your side of the story without judgment, retain the necessary objectivity as s/he deals with the facts of the case, and consider the best interests of the family members when handing out legal advice.
Finally, your family law attorney should be dedicated to working on your case no matter what the circumstances. Furthermore, s/he must be able to inform you of any change or update as they arise.
Get Only Reliable and Committed Legal Services from the Carolina Law Group
Some family problems are no simple matter. If family concerns and struggles can no longer be settled among the parties concerned, a family lawyer can serve as legal counsel and collaborator.
Here at the Carolina Law Group, we have the family lawyers who can work on your case, from adoption and divorces to property settlements and child custody, among others.
Your case deserves proper and fair legal representation. Get in touch with us at the Carolina Law Group today to talk with a family law attorney you can trust.