Things Family Attorneys Can Do For You
Family attorneys 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 courts. Below are some of the things that family lawyers can do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Represent Litigants in Court
Although family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some of these matters still end up in the courts. 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 the family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.
Benefits of Hiring a Family Law Attorney
There is nothing that definitively states that you have to hire an attorney to represent you in a family law case, but it will be in your best interest to do so. Unless you and the person you are dealing with in court are on the same page for every issue, whether it be divorce, property division, child custody, or more, family law attorneys guide you within the means of the law and provide an effective shield should the litigation become too much to handle.
Hiring a local family law attorney gives you the following benefits:
• Insight on different legal approaches
• Handles contentious issues with objectivity
• Burden of all of the legal paperwork taken off your plate
• Access to the necessary experts and consultants
• Use of alternative dispute resolution methods
• Develop settlement agreements to your advantage
• Knowledge of the local family court and judges
When you are involved in a legal matter, it will rarely simply and easy. Lawyers have years of experience and must constantly work to stay updated and informed on new developments in their field. Hiring a local attorney is even better since it allows you to have access to their services when you need it, whether it be stopping by their office or for emergency calls when something unexpected occurs.
How Much Does a Child Custody Court Case Cost?
The cost of a child custody court case can range anywhere from $3,000 to $60,000-plus according to most sources. Why such an enormous range? Because there are so many factors that impact how much a case will cost.
The two factors that will have the most impact include:
1. The attorney you hire
2. If your custody case is contested or uncontested
Attorney fees can range anywhere from $85 to $400 or more per hour depending on the experience level of the lawyer you hire, their reputation, and their track record of success in litigating child custody cases. Attorneys can bill for their services in several different ways. A straightforward hourly billing process is standard, meaning you pay-by-the-hour for any time the attorney spends on your case, which means every phone call, email, meeting, and court appearance about your case will increase your bill. Some lawyers will bill a flat fee for child custody services. If the case is simple and straightforward, the flat fee will likely be less than a complex or contested custody case. Finally, some lawyers charge on a retainer basis. A retainer is a fee paid in advance to the lawyer for handling your case. The lawyer draws from this retainer to pay his or her expenses as the case proceeds. If the case is finished quickly, depending on your agreement, you may be refunded remaining funds left in the retainer. If the retainer is used up before the case is settled, you will be required to make an additional payment. It’s essential to understand what is included in your attorney fees. Other items that attorneys may charge for include travel expenses, paralegal services, copying, faxes, and more. Make sure your contract is clear about how billing works, so you are not surprised by fees you didn’t expect.
Contested or Uncontested Case
The other major factor that impacts how much your child custody case will cost is whether your case is contested or uncontested. Having a contested case means that there is a dispute or challenge about how the custody of the child will be handled. For example, if one person is determined to have sole custody and refuses to cooperate or compromise, the case will proceed to a full-court trial, which will then require depositions, court time, possibly specialists or expert witnesses, and much more.
Other Child Custody Fee Factors
Other factors that may impact how much your child custody court case will cost include:
• The state where you live.
• If you need assistance negotiating or compromising on specific terms within your child custody agreement or parenting plan, you may need a mediator or arbitrator. Those costs can range from $100 – $300 an hour.
• If you require a custody evaluation done by an expert such as a child psychologist, these experts can cost anywhere from $1,500 – $6,000 or more.
• You may incur fees for miscellaneous items such as paying the sheriff or third-party to serve paperwork, court filing fees, subpoenaing bank records, or other documents.
Usually, each party in a child custody case is responsible for paying their legal fees. A judge might make an exception if one party makes substantially more money than the other, or if one party cannot afford legal representation. Some people may be entitled to legal aid or a pro bono attorney depending on their income level. While the thought of hiring an attorney and paying legal fees may seem daunting, in some child custody cases, it may be one of the best investments you ever make if it ensures the best situation for your child. Many attorneys will allow you to schedule an initial consultation at little or no cost so that you can learn more about your options.
Family Lawyer Vs. Divorce Lawyer
We throw terms around without really thinking about them sometimes, but those terms influence how we think about the things those terms describe. Different terms have different connotations. For instance, the term, “family lawyer”, might generate a sense of wholesomeness; while the term, “divorce lawyer”, may conjure up a different set of feelings. These terms can be interchangeable, but they suggest different nuances about lawyers who handle divorce cases and family law in general. Many people assume that “Family Law” is a euphemism for “Divorce Attorney”. The reality is more nuanced than that, so we will break those terms down and flesh them out for you. Divorce is actually a subset of family law. A divorce lawyer is a family law lawyer who does divorce. Most attorneys who practice family law handle divorce, and divorce is usually the primary or main subset of work that a family law attorney does, but a family law attorney usually does more than divorce. Family Law encompasses divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support, paternity (establishing the legal father/child relationship), adoption, guardianship, orders of protection and other things. A lawyer who practices Family Law also should not be confused with a “family lawyer”. The term, family lawyer, is not so much a term of art like family law attorney is. It is more of a way an attorney might describe herself focusing her practice on families. The Family lawyer might practice family law, but she will also (most likely) do other things that might include real estate, estate planning, business formation, criminal law, personal injury and other things.
In other words, a person holding herself out as a family attorney might be suggesting that she represents families, doing things like handling estate planning and estate administration, real estate, family businesses and so on. When choosing an attorney, it is helpful to be aware of some of these nuances. How attorneys hold themselves out, also says something about the attorney. For instance, a family law attorney who identifies as a “divorce attorney” is certainly aware of the less than flattering, hard line connotation of the term, divorce attorney. A person who holds herself out as a divorce attorney may be suggesting that she embraces that edgy, tough, bulldog image that the term divorce attorney suggests to most people. Whereas someone who holds herself out as a “family law attorney” may be suggesting that she is a bit more holistic, bigger picture focused and resolution orientated. There are clues in the ways describe themselves for us to decipher. We think of divorce attorneys as ruthless litigators. Whereas, the idea of a family law attorney suggests a more moderate, resolution orientated approach. Both attorneys do the same thing, but they reflect different images in the way they define themselves. While family law attorneys and divorce attorneys may do the same thing, the attorney who represents herself as a divorce attorney is likely to have a different approach than the attorney who represents herself as a family law attorney. Whether someone identifies as a divorce attorney or family law attorney, or as a lawyer or attorney, shouldn’t necessarily determine your choice of legal service provider, but it should begin to give you some clues about what to expect. Doing your research before making your choice of an attorney to represent you has never been easier with the proliferation of information on the Internet.
File & serve your Family Court documents
When you apply to the Family Court or respond to someone else’s application, you will need to give documents to the court. This is called filing. All documents filed in Family Court must be printed single-sided. You’ll find more specific information about filing documents under each section on this website for example, apply for a Parenting Order or apply for a divorce.
How to file your documents
• You can file documents by handing them in at your local court or mailing them to the court.
• Sometimes you can email them to the court.
• Number of copies
• You’ll usually need to file the original documents and some copies.
• Filing fees
• You might need to pay a fee when you file your documents.
• Serving your documents on the other person
The court will usually arrange to give a copy of the documents that you filed at court to the other people involved in the case. This is called serving documents. If you’re applying for a divorce on your own (a one-party dissolution of marriage), you’ll need to arrange service yourself. You’ll be given instructions on how to do this after you have filed the application.
Free Initial Consultation with Lawyer
It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. Whether it’s your son who gets in a car wreck, your uncle who loses his job and needs to file for bankruptcy, your sister’s brother who’s getting divorced, or a grandparent that passes away without a will -all of us have legal issues and questions that arise. So when you have a law question, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you!
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States
Telephone: (801) 676-5506