What A Family Attorney Can Do For You

What A Family Attorney Can Do For You

Photographer: Sebastian Pichler | Source: Unsplash

What exactly is a family attorney and when would you need one? A family attorney is someone who looks after any legal matters that affect a family. It would seem that the title is self-explanatory, but in fact it's a little complex. If you're very lucky, you'll never need the services of one, however, it's rare that families won't need an attorney at some point. In order to ensure the best handling of your affairs, it's best to find someone who is experienced in the legal matters that surround your specific situation.

Most people think that family attorneys only deal with divorces, but there are many other legalities that they deal with including adoption, child custody, guardianship and wills. If someone decides to take a case against another member of the family, that's another case when a family attorney would be required. Below you can find explanations on the different types of issues that a family attorney can handle.


Even though divorce rates appear to be decreasing, it's still a sad fact that just under 50% of marriages end in divorce. Going through a divorce is challenging for all family members involved. Even if both parties plan to have an amicable split, there can be unforeseen circumstances that arise in the process. Emotions make it quite difficult to handle everything without any outside assistance. This is one of the most important times to get the help of a family attorney. They can act as a mediator and advise both parties on how to settle the matter cleanly. They can also assert their legal obligations to each other. Most divorces do not need to go to court. Having a good family attorney can help couples avoid the hassle, pain and expense of a court case. If the split is acrimonious at all, it makes sense to each consult separate family attorneys to manage the divorce.

Pre-Marriage Legal Advice

When people are in the blush of love and planning a wedding, they may not consider any legal advice. However, this is an important time to consult a family attorney. They can help you plan for the future and safeguard documents and finances. A family attorney can help you draft a prenuptial agreement that is fair. It may seem unromantic, but many people have been very thankful in the long-run. Family attorneys can also help with marriage registration in some states.

Handling Adoption

Adopting a child is a huge emotional step for a family, but it is a big legal step, as well. A good family attorney should be consulted in advance to ensure that everything is above board. When adopting, there are several processes to adhere to, and if you are moving a child across state lines, then you must be very careful that you have followed the letter of the law. Consult a family attorney near you so that you can welcome your newest family member without any issues.

Child Custody Agreements

Many families these days are formed in different ways. Some couples may not be married but may have a child together. When the couple splits, regardless of the scenario, figuring out how to manage the children of the relationship can become a problem. As children are so cherished, it can become a very emotional argument as to who gets to keep them and when. A family attorney can help mediate the situation and draw up a child custody agreement that both parents can follow. Your family attorney can also amend this agreement at a later date should there be any changes to the living situations. Once again, people can save a lot of money by hiring a good family attorney, in order to avoid lengthy court battles over their children.


When a family member is sick or losing control of their faculties, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian for them. Family attorneys understand the ramifications of this and can assist in the process, which can be long and rather confusing if you aren't familiar with the legalities. It can seem like an insurmountable pile of paperwork, but this will be navigated with ease by a family attorney. This will ensure that everything is done legally and prevent any problems arising from the guardianship.

Estates and Wills

A will is a legal document through which people state how they would like their property to be managed when they die. If you have very little and your situation is straightforward, then you can make a will yourself but getting it checked by a family law attorney will ensure that you have covered everything.

If there is an estate to be settled upon a family member's death, a family attorney can ensure that it is executed in the correct way. They can also assist with any disputes that may arise when settling the estate.

Court Representation

Although the aim of family attorneys is to settle as much as possible outside of court, sometimes it's necessary to go through this process. If it is a matter of divorce, custody or estate, then it is best to have a family attorney representing. They will help get justice for the litigant. Make sure you choose someone with extensive experience so that they have the practical know-how as well as the legal theory to back it up.

Family attorneys deal with emotional, legal and financial affairs. They can navigate the minefield where these things meet in order to make life easier. It's good to find one nearby and have a chat with them as to how they can help with your family matters.

Don’t Leave You’re Family Wondering – Leave Them With a Will

Don’t Leave You’re Family Wondering – Leave Them With a Will

No one wants to think about their death. You don't want to think about your own and you definitely don't want to think about the death of the people you love. That's why most of people don't make a will, at least in early life.

But like so many things in life, avoiding it because it's unpleasant leads to things being worse when the inevitable finally does happen. Everyone dies, no matter how careful they are in life. It's best to be prepared so that your passing or your partners passing doesn't cause any more pain than it has to.

One way to do that is to make a will. Your will tells your family what to do with your estate, your remains, and your assets after you're gone. It's not as complicated to make as you'd think, especially not with the help of a professional. Below are reasons to call someone about making a will, as soon as possible.

You Get to Decide Who Gets What

This is what most people assume a will does, and they're right. Wills do allow you to divide your assets and any money in your accounts to the people you love. But that's not all it is. If you don't delegate different assets to different family members, they have to go through a very lengthy and legally expensive process called probate.

Probate is so complex that there are entire units in college math courses that teach how to properly divide property. Since you probably aren't an expert in property division math, you'll have to pay someone, like a lawyer, who is.

The probate process can cost upwards of $5,000 for a simple case. That's more than it usually takes to put together your will. Don't push that expense onto your loved ones, it'll create resentment.

And that's only if everyone agrees with the first outcome. Siblings can spend months fighting in court. It's a lot easier to say "that's what grandma wanted" than go through a court battle.

It Makes Dictating Custody Easier

The worst thing imaginable, other than losing a child, is having a parent die when a child is young. The absolute worst would be two parents. In that case, your child is in the custody of whomever you appointed to be godfather or godmother, but does the state know that? You need to write these custody directives into your will. Worst case scenario your children could go into the foster system while the court is sorting custody out.

You can even write if-then, statements into your will. An example is, "If (name of guardian) can't take the child in good faith because of whatever reason, then the second choice for custody goes to (another name)". You never know what's going to pop up in life, so make sure you leave your children and loved ones with options.

It Reduces Estate Taxes

If you have a sizeable estate including your home, your assets, and whatever stock you have, then you have to pay taxes on the total to the federal government. The Federal cutoff is 11.4 million or more is subject to taxes, while there are a dozen or so states that have their own rules. When you create a will and distribute assets, it's like dividing your estate. You pay fewer taxes in the end.

You can Inherit and Disinherit Based on Circumstances

Let's say your daughter is part of a growing group of millennials that don't want children. You're determined she'll change her mind, but unfortunately you may not get to find out. You can make a statement in your will that says something like, "x amount of money is set aside for daughter's child. If she doesn't have a child by the year ___, then the total amount shall be transferred to her name".

This is your money, so you get to create the contingencies. While you have the right to be specific, try not to be petty. You want to go into your afterlife knowing that those you left behind love and respect you.

You Can Make Gifts and Donations

People often leave certain sums or even percentages of their estates to charities or educational institutions. If there's a lot of money, a grant can even be set up with the funds. This way you get to decide who benefits from the money you worked hard for all your life, and help the mission of organizations close to your heart.

You can even leave specific assets to charities, like your home or your car if you think they'd be of use to them. But know that by leaving something to an organization, you're giving them the right to sell the asset if they feel that's more appropriate.

By choosing to make a will, you don't put any added stressors on your family in their state of sadness. The time and money it takes to make a will is worth not having your loved ones suffer any more than they already will from your passing.

Now that you know the reasons to make a will, it's time to get started. All you need to do is contact a family attorney who has experience in end-of-life planning. They'll help you name all of your assets, and walk you through the rest of the planning process. Don't leave your family guessing. Let them mourn in peace by creating a will.

Getting Divorced? A Family Attorney Can Help

Getting Divorced? A Family Attorney Can Help

Do you need a family attorney to complete your divorce? Yes and no. You can choose to go about the divorce on your own. This choice is totally personal. It depends on the duration of marriage, the partner you are dealing with, and reasons for dissolution. In every case, divorce remains a highly emotive issue and there is a likelihood of making wrong decisions out of emotions. You need another person to see things clearly and help you protect your interests even in the middle of the turmoil.

Why is that Some People do not Engage a Family Attorney?

If the marriage had not lasted long, some people opt not to engage a divorce lawyer. Let’s say a year or two. If there was no property acquired together or children whose interests need to be protected, a few people choose to resolve it on their own.

When the other partner is understanding and agrees to end the marriage and settle all interests amicably, you may not feel the need to engage a lawyer. Some people feel that divorce lawyers tend to fan the flames during the process. To avoid aggravating the emotional anguish, you might opt to go through it alone.

However, this is not always the case for everyone. Most divorce processes are ugly and to be safe, it is advisable to look for a family attorney to expedite the process and protect your interests.

Getting divorced? Here are the incidences that require the help of a family attorney

If you Want to be Divorced

If you have made up your mind that you are following through with a divorce, engage a family lawyer. Think about the specific services that you need. It could be drafting an agreement in writing or coming up with a settlement plan. You could also contact a lawyer for representation or full litigation in court. It could also be something as simple as advice.

Decide the approach of the divorce. Is it a normal case, a preventative or a true emergency? Do you want an amicable approach or a hostile one? Know your personality and match it with that of the law firm you want to engage. Each law firm has a different personality and approach, understand what approach works with your case.

If you Have Been Served with Divorce Papers

If you have been served, there might be legal statements that are beyond you. Call a family attorney to help you understand the implications of all the clauses before you append your signature. Let them advise you concerning your rights, obligations and privileges arising from the divorce.

With an attorney, it is possible to pick grey areas in the proceedings. When you consult an experienced attorney, he or she will advise on the best response. You will be able to know whether to end the process immediately or come up with a new agreement and settlement plan.

If your Spouse has Involved a Family Attorney

There is no way you are going to match up against a seasoned divorce lawyer on your own. If your spouse is already talking to a lawyer, get an attorney to represent you as well. There are so many legal issues that you may not be aware of. To protect your interests, and that you will not be at a disadvantage, seek legal, and experienced representation.

Remember lawyers understand the processes, they will see potential problems in your case. They can advise you on how to prepare. They will also advise on how to stop the spouse from taking advantage of some loopholes. You need to be sure of what you are agreeing to. Most importantly, it will help you keep away from dealing with ugly banter between lawyers. It is absolutely draining.

When Dealing with a Violent Partner

Stay away from a violent partner. It is almost impossible to negotiate with a violent person. The idea of a mutual agreement is completely out of question. To avoid any ugly incidences involve a family attorney to represent you during divorce agreements and court rulings.

The court needs to be aware of violence in the relationship because it holds a lot of weight in divorce deliberations. A representation by a lawyer will also keep you safe from physical harm. The lawyer can help make the best decision on custody and visitation while ensuring that you are safe and your rights are respected.

If you Feel your Spouse is Hiding Something

It is possible that your spouse wants a divorce and they may be deliberately hiding or spending marital assets you bought together. When you suspect that this could be happening, reach out to a divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

When one partner is disposing of assets without the knowledge of the other, the case becomes complex. It is also clear that there is malice on the part of the spouse and his or her attorneys. The best course of action is to get the help of a family lawyer to guide a way out.


Divorce is complex and more painful when children are involved. It is important to have their interests upheld even after the parents separate. You need a lawyer to help come up with an agreement on custody, child support, and other issues pertaining to their wellbeing. Some spouses tend to be slippery especially when it comes to responsibility, have a registered agreement, whether it is negotiation or trial, to ensure that everyone plays their part.

Shared Assets and Property

If you and your partner own a lot of assets and property together, it is a complex process deciding on how to go about dividing the property. The contention on how to split the shared assets could lead to a protracted court battle. You could also be pushed out of your ownership in the process. Involve a lawyer at an early stage to advice on a way forward.

Whether you are going to require mediation, a written settlement, or a court hearing, let the lawyer represent you in all the hearings. It will help you catch issues and dangers of being outsmarted. The lawyer will help you protect your ownership and ensure you get what you are not entitled to.


It is complex when there is settlement on alimony or child support. Rarely do most spouses agree to these things before involving a negotiation or court process. Going through a divorce, then having to keep following a spouse for child support keeps opening painful wounds. Make arrangement for support or alimony through a family attorney to avoid the inconveniences.

To reduce the emotional burden that comes with a divorce, it is advisable to find engage an attorney. it is not safe to go through a divorce alone especially when it is complex because of shared property, children, or support. To identify the best attorney in your area, visit us.

do i need a lawyer for a will

Drafting a Will: Things You Should Consider

Just 1 in 5 millennials have a will.

Even some famous people, like Aretha Franklin, passed away without a will. Your estate may not be worth the $80 million that the Queen of Soul’s was. But that is no excuse, if you own any property or have any money to your name, you can get started drafting a will.

So now that that is settled, you may be asking, do I need a lawyer for a will? Many people will tell you that if don’t have a large or complicated estate then you don’t need a lawyer.

This advice isn’t totally correct, here’s when you need a lawyer to help you write a will.

You Need an Estate Plan

Most people assume you need a will to distribute your assets when you pass away. What you really need is an estate plan. What’s the difference?

An estate plan is an entire set of legal documents that take care of everything in preparation for your death or disability. A will is just one of these documents in the plan.

Without an attorney, you’ll miss other important documents that will make your loved one’s lives easier. This could include items like a healthcare power of attorney, or financial power of attorney, or disposition of final remains.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

To build on our last point, you don’t know what you are missing when you don’t know your options. This is bigger than creating an estate plan.

For example, each state creates their own laws for inheritance and probate. First, you’ll need to make sure that you follow all of the laws for your state. Then you need to look into the laws of all states where you have assets.

If you don’t follow the law to the letter, your will could end up unenforceable. If this happens your estate will follow intestacy laws, which may or may not align with your wishes.

There Are Unknown Complicating Factors

There are certain circumstances in life that will complicate things. The more complicated your life, the more complicated your estate plan, the more you need a lawyer to guide you.

Multiple Marriages

Have you married multiple times? If so, you’ll need to address this and if there are any previous agreements with your ex-spouses.

Own a Business

If you own a business then you need to discuss with a lawyer what happens to that. You need to create a plan for what happens and address any possible claims your family could have on the business.

Caring for Family

If you currently care for an incapacitated or disabled family member, then creating a will may not be enough. You’ll want to ensure their care continues beyond your passing. A lawyer can advise you on a better way to do this such as a trust.

Minor Children

If you have minor children, you’ll need to create a section of the will that outlines their care. We know this is a tough thing to think about, but if something happens, who will care for your children?

How will you ensure the money you leave for them will go towards their care?

Save Money

So you’re tempted to do a will yourself because you think hiring a lawyer is too expensive? But this is only looking at the short term.

What a lawyer can tell you is how your decisions now will cost you in the future. If you don’t prepare your will correctly, you could end up costing your heirs expensive fees in estate taxes.

Federal Estate Tax

The federal estate tax seems like a high threshold at $5.49 million. But 2 in every 1,000 have to face paying it. It ends up being about 1/6th of their total estate.

The good news is that there are loopholes to avoid this tax. An attorney can help you navigate these loopholes.

State Estate and Inheritance Taxes

You will need to talk with a lawyer if your state has an estate or inheritance tax. Did you know there is a difference between these two types of taxes?

Six states impose an inheritance tax. This is a tax imposed on the person inheriting.

While fifteen states impose an estate tax. This is a tax imposed on the estate no matter who the intended heir is.

Ongoing Support

The law is a changing and evolving thing. So if you prepare your will in accordance with the law today, it may not comply with the law in effect when you pass away.

Changing Laws

When you work with a skilled and knowledgeable firm they can give you ongoing support. They can also check your documents for any errors that might render your will invalid.

Changing Life Circumstances

You can also reach out and consult with them as your life changes. Let’s say you get married, or have children, or buy a home. These are all life events that will be a trigger to update your will.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Will? The Answer Is Yes.

Hopefully, you should no longer be asking, “do I need a lawyer for a will?” The answer is yes, you do. Sure, you can try to use those online premade forms and templates.

But then you run the risk of not having your estate distributed the way you intend and wish. You risk having your will deemed invalid.

You risk your heirs paying heavy estate taxes. You risk missing out on completing important documents.

So let’s help you prepare your will by taking the first step, finding a knowledgeable and skilled estate attorney. Look for a lawyer to help you write your will today.

do i need a lawyer for a will

Preparing Your Will: 8 Important Checklist Items to Consider

Sixty percent of Americans admit to not having a will prepared. 

Preparing a will is a task many people will put off because they believe they still have many years to live. But unless you can predict the future, you should prepare a will now just in case. 

There are many important reasons for having a will. Having a will can prevent family disputes, provide for your loved ones, plan for your funeral arrangements. 

By now you probably understand the importance of drawing up a will, but what should you actually include in it? Here are eight checklist items to include in your will.

1. Assets

When wondering what to put in a will, assets are probably the first things that come to mind. 

Here are a few assets to consider when writing out your will:

  • Bank accounts
  • Investments
  • Retirement funds
  • Cars, boats, or real property
  • Royalties or copyrights

This is not an all-inclusive list. There are many other things you can consider as an asset, ranging from frozen embryos to social media accounts that generate income. 

2. Guardianship

Guardianship is one of the most important aspects of a will. 

If you have children, choosing a person to take guardianship of them if you die is no easy task. The most obvious option is the child’s other parent, but in the event that both of you pass,  there should be an alternative guardian declared. 

Consider close family members and friends. Choose someone you think would be responsible and love your child as their own.

The most important thing to do is to ask their permission first and see how they feel about the idea. If they do not wish to take on guardianship, don’t include them in your will anyway. This isn’t fair to them or your child. 

While not as common, many people choose to also include guardianship of pets in their will. 

3. Real Property

While some may include this with their assets, real property is another one of the big things to include in a will.

this includes your primary residence, any vacation or rental homes, and any other owned properties. You can assign that a specific real property is left to certain beneficiaries.

You can also decide that all your real property is to be sold and the profits divided up among your beneficiaries. This can make things more equal if you have multiple beneficiaries. 

4. Specific and Residuary Bequests 

When putting together a will, you shouldn’t forget about any specific bequests. 

Do you have a family heirloom that you’ve promised to a specific family member? What about gifting each of your grandchildren a specific amount of cash for their college fund? These are considered specific bequests. 

Once all specific bequests and real property is taken care of, you can then choose residuary bequests. This involves any remaining assets being divided among beneficiaries. So after your specific requests, you can choose to have all your assets divided equally among all your children. 

5. Alternate Beneficiaries

It’s always a good idea to name alternate beneficiaries in your will. 

While you may want a specific family member or spouse to be your beneficiary, there is a possibility that they won’t be alive when you die. In this case, you should name alternate beneficiaries. 

You can name one or multiple people as an alternate beneficiary. You can also choose to make a specific charity an alternate beneficiary. 

6. Business Assets

Don’t forget about any business assets when putting together your will. 

If you own a business, you want to make sure it is taken care of in the event of your death. You don’t want your employees showing up to work one day unsure of what to do with the company. Instead, include your business assets in your will. 

You can choose to name a business beneficiary to take over the business, be it a family member or an employee. You could also choose to have the business sold off and the profits given to your employees or family members. 

Either way, be specific about all of your business assets. 

7. Debts and Taxes

To minimize work later on for your loved ones, also consider any debts or taxes you may owe. 

Plan out how any debts you owe are to be handled. Don’t forget about probate costs, real estate tax, and inheritance tax. 

You can also include funeral expenses and specific funeral plans in this section of your will. It’s best to have these things planned and handled ahead of time.  

The easiest way to take care of this is to mark a specific bank account or amount of cash be left to handle these expenses. 

8. An Executor

The final, but extremely important thing you should include in your will is an executor. 

An executor is a person who is in charge of making sure your will is carried out according to your specific wishes. They handle dividing up all your assets and any other aspect of your will. 

The executor can also be in charge of your end-of-life decisions, including do-not-resuscitate orders. 

Just like with your beneficiaries, it’s advised that you also name an alternate executor. Your first choice for executor may be deceased or choose to decline the responsibility. 

Need Help Preparing Your Will?

Now that you know the eight main things to include in your will, it’s time to prepare yours. 

It’s important to seek legal help when preparing a will. There are plenty of free resources online that claim they make will preparation easy. But the truth is, these documents aren’t state specific and don’t account for everything. 

To avoid mistakes and hassle down the line for your loved ones, seek professional legal help when preparing your will. A professional is able to answer all your last will and testament questions. 

Not sure where to go for professional legal help? Visit our online database to find the best family attornies in your location. 

temporary order

Family Law: What Is a Temporary Order?

You and your ex cannot get along. And you’ve finally decided that it’s time to go your separate ways. Trouble is, you can’t reach an agreement on the terms of the separation either. So, you ask for a temporary order.

One of the most common mistakes divorcing couples make is disregarding a temporary order. That’s a serious problem since temporary orders are designed to help spouses hold their own until a divorce is finalized.

Here, we’re explaining everything you need to know about a temporary order, including how it works, what it’s for, and how to ask for one.

What is a Temporary Order?

Let’s say two parents decide to get a divorce. Like many divorcing couples, they find that they can’t agree on exact terms for anything in their divorce. So, the divorce lawyers are called.

Then, the parent taking care of the kids realizes that they can’t afford extended legal fees while feeding and housing their kids. But they can’t take a divorce decision lying down either.

Or, the couple doesn’t have kids but they do have shared property that needs to be divided and living arrangements that need to be decided, choices that can’t be put off much longer.

Here’s the problem: most lawsuits take months, if not years, to make it to court. Divorces, especially cases where the spouses fight on every issue, are especially difficult.

This is where temporary orders can help.

What are Temporary Orders For?

Temporary orders are designed as a stopgap measure to help couples who can’t wait for the court to make a permanent decision about who gets the kids and who pays for what.

A temporary order can address several issues in a divorce. This can include child custody issues such as:

  • Who gets custody of the children
  • Who is responsible for paying child support
  • Who will carry health insurance for the children
  • Creating a temporary visitation schedule for the parent without primary custody
  • Whether a guardian is needed for the children
  • How extracurricular school expenses will be paid

It can also address property-related issues such as:

  • Which spouse will live in the marital home
  • Who is responsible for the mortgage and other shared bills
  • Who is responsible for credit card debts
  • Who drives what vehicle and who pays for what vehicle
  • How household belongings and items will be split

It can also be used to handle spousal support decisions.

Keep in mind, though, that a temporary order may not dictate the final divorce arrangement. The temporary order will remain in effect until the court reaches a final decision regarding the divorce.

Why are Temporary Orders Important?

With all of that in mind, it should be fairly obvious why temporary orders are important, especially with regards to child custody.

If the two spouses have an amicable split or can agree on several issues, that can help expedite the process considerably–they may even be able to avoid going to court altogether.

But if the two spouses cannot agree, they’re going to have to continue to handle joint expenses and responsibilities before their divorce is finalized. This is a tricky problem, especially if they cannot agree on the terms of support.

Unfortunately, children rely on their parents to care for them, and children are often the unintentional sufferers when divorcing parents cannot get along.

Even if a couple doesn’t have any children, a temporary order can be a lifesaver. Say that a couple bought a house together primarily on the salary of one spouse. If that spouse leaves, the other could be stuck in a home they can’t afford any longer or saddled with debts they can’t afford to repay.

In this case, a temporary order keeps that spouse from drowning in debt while the divorce proceedings continue.

When Should You Ask for a Temporary Order?

With that in mind, let’s talk about when you should ask for a temporary order.

When two spouses decide to divorce and one of them moves out of the house, you have two options: agree on how to divide child custody and shared expenses, or, if you cannot agree, ask a judge to make the decision on your behalf.

Most couples wind up with the latter option.

If there are critical issues you cannot agree on that can’t wait months, you should ask for a temporary order immediately. Especially if you’re the spouse who’s taking care of the children or saddled with the bills.

How to Ask for a Temporary Order

If it sounds like a temporary order is something you’re going to need, let’s talk about how to get one.

What You’ll Need

Before you ask a judge for a temporary order, you’re going to need a few things on hand, such as:

  • A request for the court order you want
  • A proposed temporary order granting the relief you’re requesting
  • A supporting declaration
  • A proof of service

In some states, your request will include an Application for Order to Show Cause and an Order to Show Cause. These are basic legal documents outlining what you’re asking for–you just need to fill in boxes.

You’ll also need a proposed temporary order. If the judge grants your order, they’ll sign the proposed order. The supporting declaration sets out the legal justifications for granting the order under penalty of perjury.

What to Expect at the Hearing

Once you have the necessary documents, you and your lawyer can prepare for the hearing. Usually, this is held within a few weeks of submitting the request, but in an emergency, it can be held in a few days.

This type of hearing typically takes 20 minutes or less. The judge will review the details you’ve provided, ask your spouse for their side of the story, ask a few clarifying questions, and (in child support cases) refer to the state’s recommended support guidelines.

After the hearing, the judge will issue a decision within a week. If your request has solid legal standing, they’ll either grant the order you requested or modify it somewhat. This decision will stay in effect until the divorce is finalized, either through a court decision or an agreement between spouses.

Need a Family Attorney for Your Case?

If it sounds like you might need a temporary order, then it’s time to find a family lawyer who can help.

We help you find a family lawyer, whether you live in San Antonio, Washington DC, or a totally different region of the country.

And if you’re still looking for guidance, check out our blog for more tips, like these eight signs you need a child custody lawyer.

How to Get Custody of Your Grandchild

Around the country, nearly 3 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren instead of biological parents. This is so normal that judges and legal systems across the country know how to grant this custody in a standardized manner. IF you’re trying to figure out how to get custody of your grandchild, patience will be your ally and honesty will be your best friend.

Here are five things to consider when aiming for custody of grandchildren.

1. Understand the Stakes

When you’re seeking to get involved with your grandchildren’s guardianship, you need to be realistic about who you’re fighting against. You need to maintain peace at all costs with your children, as they could make it harder for you to get the custody you’re seeking.

You’re grandchildren likely have two parents who could be vying for custody of them. Whether or not you think their parents would be the best guardians, it might not be likely that you’re going to get custody.

If both of the children’s parents are willing to come to court and testify, the judge is likely to see them both as potentially fit to care for the children. This might be hard for you to face, but you have to see the people you’re fighting against are your own children. Fighting against them viciously will tell the judge everything they need to know about what kind of parent you’d be.

You might have the time, resources, and wherewithal to take care of the children, but it’s not up to you. Perhaps, instead of fighting for custody, you offer all the support you can to the children. Let them know you carer and set boundaries with their parents.

The children will see you for the loving family that you are and will eventually seek to spend more time with you.

2. Timing Is Key

One of the times that grandparents will sometimes try to get in the middle of a custody battle and advocate their own guardianship. This might seem like a good opportunity, but ultimately it’s a bad look for grandparents.

You might think you can make a good case, but you’ll be looking at the custody battle through the eyes of an opportunist. This will make it look like you think that passing the children around like a football is good for the family. Don’t risk looking like you’re heartless.

Be careful with how you time your custody case. Support a parent’s right to their children and you’ll find them more receptive to sending children to spend time with you. Unless you feel that you can prove that the child or children would be in physical danger in the hands of either parent, you shouldn’t try to get custody.

Remain supportive until you can prove it’s a bad idea.

3. Keep Your Eyes On Safety

The issues that courts and judges will be most receptive to are going to be centered around the safety of children. Your most strategic advantages will lie in taking advantage of situations where parents can’t take care of the children safely. While you shouldn’t let the children get into an unsafe position to prove your point, take note of any warning signs.

When you point out how the children are endangered, it will make it much harder for parents to win a custody case. You’ll look like a stronger candidate for custody when you show the disparity in safety and support that children will receive.

If there are stressful situations that you can prove the children have already gone through, you’ll have a strong case. When children survive trauma, it marks them for years to come. If you can tell a judge what’s happened and why it will happen again, you can make a strong case for why you should have custody.

4. Calling Police or Protective Services is Tricky

Don’t immediately call Child Protective Services or 911 if suspect there’s an issue. This can also endanger and traumatize children. Seeing parents taken away in handcuffs or being whisked away to foster care is a memory that will scar your grandchildren.

If your grandchildren are in immediate danger of being abused or neglected, then you should consider calling. However, if you can’t prove that it’s happening or has happened recently, you will be calling for no reasons. You’ll seem like you’re harassing the parents, your children, rather than trying to help your grandchildren.

State officials will be required to follow through on reports that you make. If it looks like you’ve given a false report, that will end up on record. This will look bad for you in court.

If you’re trying to build a case, false reporting could shatter your chances of proving that your grandchildren are in dire straits.

5. Get The Right To Visit

Visitation rights can be powerful. If your grandchildren can’t trust other adults and don’t feel safe with their parents, they could open up to you. When push comes to shove, they could testify on your behalf if you seek custody at a later date.

Start by asking to be allowed visitation rights. If you have a relationship that’s a lot like a parent-child relationship and you can prove it, you will easily get the right to visit children.

Rather than getting custody outright, being able to visit them could make your role official. If anything bad happens, you’ll be in line to take over for their parents. The court will evaluate your role and assess how much time you get with them.s’ fitness.If you provide significant support, find a way to show it to the court. Figuring Out How To Get Custody of Your Grandchildren is Complicated

When you’re trying to navigate how to get custody of your grandchildren, you’re going to struggle with the legal system. However, at the end of the day, you need to do what’s best for your grandchildren and respect what the court says. Your goal needs to be to support your grandchildren, not to win custody.

Before you hire a family lawyer, check out our guide for tips.

What Happens If You Commit Perjury in Family Court?

Perjury is the act of lying under oath.

And we all know from 5th grade civics class that this is a crime in and of itself.

But, unfortunately, it’s incredibly common in family court, as well as court in general. It’s supposed to be punishable as a criminal act, and in a perfect world, all people who commit perjury would face consequences.

Reality is far from perfect.

So what really happens when someone commits perjury in family court? Read on to find out more about what the consequences typically involve.

Perjury in Family Court

Family court typically involves parties who are going through a divorce or who are seeking custody of children.

In some cases, these conflicts can extend for the majority of the children’s lives and can become quite nasty.

Therefore, it isn’t uncommon for people to lie in family court. They may lie about things like abuse, paying for child support or other things that blatantly aren’t true.

The goal for both parties in family court is often to gain custody of the children. In some cases, the goal is the illicit a higher child support payment, or have the child support payment lowered.

While both parties sign witness statements under the penalty of perjury, unfortunately, it doesn’t really mean much to the court of law. The cases are often “he said,” “she said,” and need to be arbitrated based on who has the “best story” or which lawyer is the most skilled at ensuring his or her client gets what they’re asking for.

Because of this fact, it can be difficult to prove someone is lying under oath unless one party has clear and solid evidence. This may include emails, text messages or videos of the other party committing the act they allege. Otherwise, the situation is, unfortunately, one person’s word against the other.

What Constitutes Perjury in Family Court?

Perjury in family court can be committed in a number of ways. In addition to lying about abuse or child support, it may include things like lying about where a child resides, lying about the current custody schedule, falsely alleging the other partner prevents a parent from seeing a child, hiding paychecks, hiding documents or falsely stating that a parent is uninterested in being in the child’s life.

In extreme cases, this may also include forging letters or documents and presenting them to the court as authentic.

What is the Penalty for Perjury?

The penalty for perjury is very clearly outlined in most states. Federal law states that perjury can be punished with up to five years in prison in addition to fines and probation.

If someone commits perjury in family court, this creates an entirely separate case. While committing blatant perjury can affect the outcome of the case, the person who did commit perjury won’t be prosecuted as part of the family law case.

Instead, a different case will need pursuing to ensure the person is properly punished for the perjury. This case will be for the crime of perjury alone.

But while the federal law states that perjury is punishable with up to five years in prison and a fine, perjury in family courts rarely amounts to punishment.

This is partially because of the nature of the case, and the fact that most people cannot unequivocally prove that the other party committed perjury.

Another reason why it is not often pursued is due to the fact that most court systems are already overloaded. They’re typically not interested in working with someone who may have committed perjury or prosecuting them. This is most often because they have what they perceive as more serious crimes to deal with.

While someone can start up an investigation into perjury in family court, most lawyers say they’ve never actually seen that occur.

Instead, the person who committed perjury most often gets away scot-free.

Sometimes, a judge will pursue a perjurer for contempt of court. This is typical if the lying is easily provable, and the person has committed another form of attempting to obstruct justice. Again, this isn’t very common.

More often, lawyers who knowingly commit perjury are indicted for their crime. This is much more common than a plaintiff or defendant receiving a punishment.

What to Do If You Catch Your Ex Lying in Family Court

If you’re currently in a potential custody situation, the best thing to do is to immediately get a lawyer. He or she is the best person to help you navigate the situation and can give you the best legal advice based on your personal circumstances.

You should also document everything you can in order to show the court. This can include text message conversations, emails, videotaping abuse and other such evidence. While it may not be easy to prove that the other party is lying, when you have a body of evidence, the court is more inclined to take your word more seriously.

Family Courtroom Drama

Unfortunately, family court can be a messy affair. And perjury in family court is a growing and serious issue that plagues our court system. The fact that very few people have been prosecuted for committing perjury in family court makes it all the more frustrating for those who are genuinely interested in the welfare of their children.

If you are facing a custody issue or think your case may be headed to family court, contact us today. We can advise you on the next steps to take.

family lawyer

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Family Lawyer

You’re headed down the road of divorce, and it’s a bittersweet feeling.

On the one hand, you can’t wait to break up with your spouse and move on with your own independent life. At the same time, you’re dreading the rocky moments you’re likely to encounter on the way to freedom — you know, the fight over the house, the money, and the kids.

Know, though, that you’re not alone. After all, research shows that between 40%-50% of marriages today end in divorce in the United States.

How smooth your divorce proceeding goes has a lot to do with the family law attorney you choose to handle your case. So, before you choose one, here’s a rundown on the top 10 questions to ask a family lawyer before hiring him or her.

Let’s get started!

1. Ask Your Potential Family Lawyer, “How Much Experience Do You Have in Family Law?”

This is perhaps the most critical question to ask any family law attorney you’re interested in hiring.

You need a lawyer who possesses the necessary knowledge and experience to navigate your case in the most streamlined manner possible. An attorney who lacks family law experience might not understand your case’s intricacies in the same way that a seasoned lawyer would.

2. “How Quickly Do You Typically Respond to Emails and Phone Calls?”

When you’re on pins and needles during your divorce proceeding, it’s understandable that you want to hear from your lawyer in a timely fashion. For many people, having a lawyer respond to them within 24 hours is ideal. For you, weekly communication may be enough.

Before hiring a lawyer, make sure that you ask the attorney his or her policies about responding to your questions. A smart lawyer will give you the personalized attention you desire while also streamlining your communications to keep your legal expenses as low as possible.

3. “What is Your Method of Charging Clients?”

When you’re interviewing potential family law attorneys, ask them how they usually charge clients.

For instance, some attorneys charge by the hour, whereas others work on flat fees or retainers.

You may also have to cover other costs as part of your case, such as travel expenses, fees for outside consultants and court costs.

A reputable family law attorney will be honest about your case’s costs and how he or she will handle your billing process.

4. “How Often Have You Handled a Case Like Mine?”

If you ask family law attorneys this question, they’ll likely say they’ve handled quite a few cases. But, you should ask them how often they’ve handled cases featuring circumstances like yours.

Even if an attorney has handled more than 60 divorce cases, he or she might have handled only a few cases involving complicated alimony matters.

Especially if your future ex-spouse is adversarial or if your case might be contentious, it’s critical that you also ask how often your potential attorneys have represented clients like you in a divorce trial.

5. “Who Will Handle My Case?”

Many family law attorneys have teams of people working with them on complicated cases.

For instance, an attorney might enlist the help of a paralegal or a support associate. Accountants or financial advisors may also help your attorney to determine how to divide assets during your divorce.

This team approach could save you money in the long run and also help your attorney respond to your case’s demands more effectively. Be sure to ask your potential attorney how experienced these other professionals are.

6. “What’s Your Approach to Representing or Winning Cases?”

This is a particularly important question during a divorce proceeding. After all, if you’d like to divorce your spouse in the most amicable manner possible, an aggressive attorney might not be a good fit for you.

At the same time, if you want to take your divorce case to trial, you’ll need a family lawyer who doesn’t mind pushing the envelope to get you the best outcome.

7. “What Options Do I Have for Resolving My Legal Issue?”

In line with question number six, let’s say you fall under the category of those wanting an amicable divorce. In this situation, be sure to ask a potential attorney what out-of-court options you have for resolving your case.

For instance, the attorney may have a lot of experience with divorce mediation or collaborative divorce. Or, he or she may enjoy participating in informal negotiations. These divorce processes offer the benefit of being less costly and time-consuming compared with traditional divorce litigation.

8. “What Is My Case’s Likely Outcome?”

This is a fair question, as you naturally want to know how good your chances are of winning your divorce case.

Don’t choose an attorney who gives you the answer you want to hear. Instead, choose one who gives you an honest answer.

The more honest answer you receive, the more prepared you’ll be for what comes your way as you progress through your divorce proceeding.

9. “How Will You Get in Touch with Me?”

As we mentioned earlier, communication is essential when you’re working with a lawyer. In addition to finding out how often you can expect to hear from him or her, find out what communication methods he or she prefers.

Some attorneys prefer to talk by phone, others by email. Choose one that fits your communication style so that you have the most pleasant client-attorney relationship possible.

10. “Who Are Your Typical Clients?”

This question is frequently overlooked, but it’s an important one.

For instance, you may own high-value assets that will be complex to split during your divorce, such as a family business. In this situation, you don’t want an attorney whose clientele is predominately those in the lower middle class, where the splitting of assets may be a bit more straightforward.

Your prospective attorney’s typical clients will tell you a lot about whether he or she can handle your case with ease.

How We Can Help

We offer a comprehensive listing of more than 6,000 attorneys who are ready to meet your legal needs.

Begin your attorney search here to kick-start your divorce process with the right family lawyer near you today.

family attorney

10 Times You’ll Need a Family Attorney on Your Side

family attorney

Are you in need of an experienced family lawyer to help you through your legal issues?

An experienced family law attorney can give you valuable insight into the legal process. He or she can also be a trusted counselor and someone to lean on during a difficult time in your personal life.

While many people identify a family lawyer as someone that handles divorces only, these attorneys practice in a wide range of family law areas.

Read on to learn 10 times you’ll need a family attorney on your side.

1. Divorce

Are you and you and your spouse unable to reconcile your differences as a married couple?

According to the American Psychological Association, 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce.

You need a family lawyer to help guide you through the divorce process in your particular state. That’s because laws vary from state to state and you need to be sure that you have the best representation in your jurisdiction.

2. Property Settlement

The dissolution of marriage can be an emotional time for everyone involved.

One of the most important areas of a dissolution is determining what is a fair property settlement. This can be a complicated process if you and your spouse have a lot of different assets.

The property settlement will be based on who has the right to the asset. It will also be based on the dollar value of that asset at the time of your dissolution of marriage.

3. Child Custody

Many types of family lawyers are experienced in child custody issues.

This can be the single most meaningful aspect of a divorce because both spouses may want as much time as possible with their children. Each state treats this issue differently, which means you need a lawyer licensed and experienced in your state.

For example, Florida family law judges use the best interests of the child (BIC) standard. To make a determination on this issue, they look at a wide range of factors to decide what suits that child’s interest the most.

4. Adoption

One of the rewarding parts of a family attorney’s job can be bringing a family together.

If you are considering adopting a child, a family attorney can help you through the process so that you understand how the process works. They can also help you ensure that you are going about things the right way through the adoption agency.

This way you can avoid having to repeat the application process or endure extended delays until you are approved to adopt a child.

5. Civil Unions / Domestic Partnerships

An attorney for family law can also help you with a civil union or domestic partnership.

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges held that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

This landmark case set off a major increase in same-sex marriages in states across the country. However, even after this case was decided, there are still couples that wish to form a civil union or domestic partnership.

An experienced family law attorney can help you and your partner by answering your questions and explaining the legal ramifications of each option you have.

6. Alimony

Alimony is payment for the support of a former spouse and can have a major impact on your quality of life.

This payment can be made at once in a lump sum or ordered by a court to be paid each month, or on another schedule. Although this amount will be court ordered at the end of your dissolution case, it doesn’t mean a former spouse will stick to it.

Even after the dissolution of marriage, you may need to hire a family attorney to fight for back payments or other amounts that have gone unpaid over time.

7. Marriage

A family lawyer can help prepare you for submitting the proper paperwork to receive your marriage license.

They can also help you by giving you advice on how to ensure you make the proper updates after a name change.

Officially changing your name is only one step in the process. You will also need to ensure you are changing it with all necessary entities and that you have done it in a reasonable amount of time.

This way you can avoid confusion after your nuptials and enjoy spending more time as a married couple.

8. Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a way for a spouse to protect assets that he or she holds before they marry the other spouse.

In short, this is a contract that is signed by both parties. It states that the property listed in the contract is to be maintained as that of the original owner and not to be considered marital (or common) property.

It’s crucial in these agreements that they are written correctly so that the proper intent is recognized. They also need to be legally enforceable of they will be rendered invalid by a court in your state.

9. Separation

A family law attorney can also help you and your spouse separate from one another.

This is important because a legal separation is different from a divorce. It also is often used by a couple to separate from one another and attempt to work out differences.

In the event that separation does not work, the spouses may opt to take the next step and formally divorce from one another.

10. Child or Spousal Abuse

A family lawyer can also help you through handling allegations of child or spousal abuse.

These are important allegations because if proven, they can have criminal penalties including jail or prison time. This also depends on the severity of the facts and the crime charged, if any.

These allegations can also serve as a basis to remove custody of a child in favor of the for the other spouse. You need an attorney that can guide you on these issues and help you make an informed decision in the end.

Wrapping Up: Do You Need a Family Attorney?

A family attorney can help you through many different areas of family law.

But to make the most of any attorney-client relationship, you have to take the time to find the right lawyer for your needs.

This is a time-consuming process but it is worth it to learn about your attorney before the representation begins.

Are you interested in finding a family law attorney in your area?

Check out our blog post on ‘A Complete Guide to Prenup Agreement Pros and Cons’!