There are many reasons why would you need a family lawyer, and while you certainly can hope that you will never have to use them, it’s a good idea to keep them in mind. A family law firm is the best equipped to manage and deal with issues like child custody, in-family addiction problems, residential disputes, DUI charges, and other civil issues that impact families. By having a go-to family lawyer, you can better prepare yourself in the event that you need their services, and it gives them a better chance to learn about your family and get to know you as a client.
To help give you a better idea of the situations that affect why would you need a family lawyer, here are five reasons you should keep in mind.
1. Child Custody and Divorce Problems
Firstly, to help you understand why would you need a family lawyer, let’s look at a major problem that many divorcing couples face. A lawyer that specializes in family issues can be a great help when it comes to child custody disputes, and many family law firms have at least one lawyer or attorney on staff who handles custody problems specifically.
Although not all divorces will have difficult custody issues, even minor disputes can be helped with the expertise of an experienced lawyer or attorney. A child custody attorney can help you navigate the process and understand everything that you need to provide. For instance, if you are trying to argue for full custody of a child, it will be up to you to prove why you’re the best candidate — as opposed to your ex — and why shared custody isn’t the best option.
This can be a lot to try and manage without a lawyer, and you should never try to prove your case without their input and guidance. A custody attorney can also help you understand the various laws in your area that pertain to your case so that you won’t have to worry about being blindsided by any legal issues.
Working with lawyers and attorneys can also give you the best chance of winning custody, or otherwise finding a custody deal that works best for your children. Ultimately, their goal is to examine the situation and determine what would benefit the children in the situation, and their outside perspective can be invaluable.
Additionally, if there are any problems with child support or alimony, a family lawyer can help you get them sorted out. This way, you can ensure that you get the best possible ruling that is fair to you.
2. Healthcare Disputes
Healthcare disputes are another reason why would you need a family lawyer and they can occur when family members disagree about the decisions made under a healthcare directive.
This can occur if a family member — who is unable to advocate for themselves — has healthcare decisions left to an appointed agent who is usually designated in their records or a living will. However, if other family members disagree about the implementation of these directives, a lawyer may need to get involved to help sort out the issues.
If the issue goes to court, some states have the authority to declare the directive unenforceable, and this is usually determined after reviewing the necessary evidence. Family members, as well as the family physician, may be asked to testify about their options, and the court will specifically look for any evidence that points to the directive have been fraudulent or coerced.
Additionally, disputes involving medical insurance may also be handled by a family lawyer. Cases like this can include situations where the insurance is refusing to pay for a procedure or otherwise not paying the amount that they should. The withdrawal of coverage without warning can also be a concern that your lawyer should be informed about. In some cases, they may refer you to another lawyer that has more experience taking on medical insurance agencies, but this can save you time by preventing you from having to hunt down another lawyer on your own.
A family lawyer can be an invaluable source of experience and knowledge, even if they won’t be the ones handling your case directly. Because they will have more knowledge of your needs than a lawyer that you’ve never spent time with, they will also have more insight into the services that will benefit you most.
Drug addiction and substance abuse can be a major concern for families, and it is often something that many people don’t know how to handle. However, when a person is struggling with addiction, it affects everyone around them, and it’s important to ensure that they are able to get the help that they need.
When it comes to understanding why would you need a family lawyer for this issue, it’s important to understand the rehabilitation laws in your area. Currently, 37 states allow for individuals to be involuntarily committed to rehabilitation centers for treatment, and sometimes this is the best way to help someone who is unable to help themselves.
Whether or not your state allows for involuntary commitment, it can be beneficial to get a lawyer involved to help point you in the right direction for treatment. This can be especially true if the individual is facing DUI charges or charges of possession or intent to distribute. A DUI lawyer can help if the individual is facing DUI charges, and they can help argue for the need for treatment in court. Similarly, criminal lawyers can do the same if the person arrested is being charged with possession and/or intent to distribute a controlled substance.
If addiction or substance abuse is the reason for a divorce, your family lawyer can help argue for custody for the party that is not struggling. They can also ensure that all marital assets are appropriately distributed, especially if there is a concern that these assets could be used to obtain illicit substances.
If you are worried about a family member who is struggling with addiction, you can speak to your lawyer about adult guardianship, if you feel they are in immediate danger. As a petitioner, you and your lawyer will have to prove that the struggling individual’s incapacity, and either two physicians or a physician and licensed psychologist or social worker, will have to submit a certificate finding this incapacity.
If the court agrees to guardianship, you will then be able to give consent for medical care and substance abuse treatment. However, it is worth keeping in mind that guardianship is usually a last resort option and many ‘functioning’ addicts or alcoholics may not qualify for adult guardianship. It’s worth speaking to your lawyer to learn about the options in your state that can help you help someone struggling with addiction in your family.
4. Family and Real Estate
Sometimes, family disputes can include real estate and this is one reason why would you need a family lawyer to get involved. Many real estate disputes can start during divorce or after the death of a family member. For instance, in the case of a divorce, if a property is in both parties’ names, it can require lawyers’ intervention to help sort out who is entitled to the property.
Similarly, after the death of a family member, there may be a dispute over who gets their property, especially if no will was written or if no one was specified within the will. However, even if the will designates someone as the inheritor of the property, sometimes family members can dispute this, which will require legal intervention.
If there was no will at the time of death, states can provide a list of people who could be eligible to fill in. If a probate court case is needed, the court can choose a person who they find most fit based on this list. In many cases, the surviving spouse or domestic partner is usually the first choice, followed by adult children, and then other family members.
When it comes to property in these cases, it’s important not to call up a real estate agent to try and sell the home before all proceedings have finished. While this can take time, it will be in your best interest overall. Without a will, the property will usually go to the spouse or domestic partner, and more distant relatives can only receive it if there is not a spouse, parent, or child who can inherit it. That said, all states have some rules that can prohibit inheritance if a person treated the deceased party poorly. For instance, if they caused the death through criminal means or if they were a parent who abandoned a child or withheld child support, they won’t be able to inherit anything from their child.
Issues involving real estate can be tricky and nearly impossible to navigate on your own. This makes it all the more important to contact your family lawyer before going forward or agreeing to anything. Never put anything in writing before running it past your lawyer, and hold off on calling in movers to remove any of the deceased person’s possessions if the dispute over them is ongoing.
Another reason why would you need a family lawyer includes drafting up and finalizing prenuptial agreements. Although some people dislike the idea of prenups because they think it shows the expectation of divorce, it can help safeguard both parties.
Prenuptials are a good idea if you have a disparity of assets, or property and heirlooms that you want to keep separate just in case a divorce occurs. While it may not be the most romantic conversation to have with your future spouse, ultimately, it just serves as a precaution that can save you both time and money should a divorce occur.
Work with your lawyer to draft the prenuptial terms that work for you. For instance, the lifespan of a prenuptial agreement isn’t set in stone and you can stipulate that it ends after a period of time. For instance, you choose to have it end after 10 years of marriage or you can choose to have it last indefinitely. This gives you more control over the terms, and it can help you decide if you ever want it to end.
It’s important to communicate with your fiance and your lawyer throughout this entire process to ensure that everything suits your needs and that everyone is in agreement as to what is included. Although it will hopefully never be needed, this is one reason why would you need a family lawyer.
Finding Your Family Lawyer
There are many reasons why would you need a family lawyer, and they can help keep you safe in numerous legal situations. When looking for the right family lawyer for you, consider the options in your area and meet with different firms so that you can find the one that you trust most. By having a lawyer that you can go to and build a relationship with, you can put yourself in a better place for whenever you need to use their services.
Family lawyers can be an invaluable source of knowledge, and they can also help connect you with other lawyers in different specialties if they are unable to provide the services that you need. This can save you valuable time and money if you find yourself in a difficult legal situation.
If you currently don’t have a family lawyer that you can go to, consider these five reasons why would you need a family lawyer, and start searching for trusted law firms near you. While you will hopefully seldom need them, it is better to be prepared ahead of time than to be left scrambling when you need them most.