When Is It Time To Hire A Family Divorce Lawyer?
Photo by Melinda Gimpel
DIVORCE IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON INSTANCES WHERE A FAMILY LAWYER IS NEEDED. HERE ARE THE TIMES WHEN YOU SHOULD CONSIDER HIRING A FAMILY DIVORCE LAWYER.
Are you going through a complicated divorce? Are you wondering if it’s time to hire a family divorce lawyer?
Divorce can be an unsettling time. You may find yourself experiencing feelings of anxiety, anger, and confusion. While you’re looking forward to a new beginning, your current state of uncertainty about plans and expectations can leave anyone overwhelmed.
Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get an experienced professional on your side. Here’s when you know it’s time to hire a family and divorce lawyer.
1. Financial Issues
You and your spouse may have trouble communicating about a number of issues during a divorce. You may, for example, have shared equity in a home or joint bank accounts. If you can’t agree to an equitable resolution, a qualified divorce lawyer can help you reach decisions that are satisfactory for everyone.
You may have shared debts or expenses. In some cases, the disagreements between two spouses may be so intense that they have difficulty being in the same room together.
A qualified attorney can act as a moderator and provide expert advice. For example, your state laws may not support an equal splitting of assets. Or one spouse may be entitled to income from the retirement account of their partner in the future.
You’ll need a professional with intimate knowledge of your state’s laws and protocols before beginning to divide your assets and debts.
2. Child Custody
If you have children, coming up with a satisfactory child custody arrangement will require the best family divorce lawyer you can find.
Issues with child custody can be complicated. Parents may argue over who has physical custody, or the ability responsibility for the daily physical care and supervision.
One parent may have sole physical custody and the other may have visitation rights. Or with joint custody, the child will spend equal amounts of time with each parent.
Other complicated issues are those related to legal custody. This is when parents make important decisions about the upbringing of a child. These could include medical care, education, or religious upbringing.
Legal custody issues can be sensitive. For example, one parent may choose to stop bringing their child to church. Or the other parent may disagree with a particular physician’s diagnosis of a learning disability.
If this is the case, you’ll need the help of a qualified attorney to help you sort out the details. And you can be certain that your resolutions will be compliant with local regulations.
Even after your original plans are made, custodial issues could arise. For example, one parent might move away and change the other parent’s custody schedule. These moves may need to get approved in court before they can happen.
Maintaining a positive relationship with your divorce attorney can help you to keep all of your decisions open and above-board.
3. Domestic Violence
In cases where there has been domestic violence, you may need to seek a court order. This can happen if someone tries to harm you physically or threatens or pressures you sexually.
This also comes to bear when it comes to custodial arrangements. If an abusive parent wants to have any kind of custody of the child or children, they’ll need to show that they’re taking steps to address anger issues. These could include therapy, counseling, and parenting classes.
In cases where domestic violence has occurred, you’ll need a qualified family lawyer to help ensure that all decisions are in compliance with the law in your state.
4. Your Spouse is Trying to Limit Your Contact With the Children
Your spouse may be using sneaky tactics to try to limit your contact with your children after your divorce is final. These could include denying visits or canceling at the last minute.
If this is the case, you could do more harm than good by paying a visit to your ex. You’ll want to have an attorney in your court that can help you negotiate the situation legally.
5. Your Situation Changes
In some cases, you and your ex may have had an arrangement that gets changed by a significant shift in your lifestyle. This may involve you moving, remarrying, or even moving in with a new significant other.
The courts will generally consider whether or not a relocation will benefit a child before approving a relocation. You may have a new job opportunity with increased income that will benefit your child. Or you may be moving closer to extended family who can assist with child care or financial support.
If the potential benefits outweigh any loss that the child would experience due to decreased visitation rights with the other parent, the courts may approve of such a move. The right lawyer can help you to prove your case to the required court of law.
In cases of remarriage, your custody arrangements may not change at all. If, however, the remarriage isn’t in the child’s best interest, the court may move to modify custody arrangements.
6. Child Support Issues
In some cases, one parent will be required to pay child support to cover the basic needs of a child. These could include medical care, educational fees, and childcare.
You may experience some changes in situations that require a modification of child support. These could include a decrease in income or an increase in the income of the custodial parent. There could also be an increase in expenses.
A remarriage could also impact child support arrangements. You’ll want a qualified attorney on your side to help you make fair, legal decisions that are in the best interest of your child.
Finding the Right Family Divorce Lawyer
You won’t want to hire just anyone to help you through a divorce. You’ll need to find a local attorney, as these professionals will have an intimate knowledge of the laws and regulations in your area.
Ask your friends and family for recommendations, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Was the attorney knowledgeable and respectful? Were they happy with the resolution of issues? Were there any unexpected fees?
If you can’t get any personal recommendations, go online, and search for qualified attorneys in your area. Your lawyer should have completed a J.D. at a law school that’s approved by the American Bar Association. Many states also require a specialty in family law.
Read online reviews and see what former clients are saying. Remember that anyone can get a poor review once in a while, but you’ll want to be looking out for patterns.
For example, are a lot of people remarking on how difficult it was to get in touch with the legal team? Or are most former clients remarking on how helpful the attorneys were throughout the process?
Many family lawyers offer free initial consultations, and you can use this as an opportunity to find out if you want to work with them. Ask them what their experience is with divorce law, and especially with cases like yours.
Ask your lawyer to give them a situation similar to yours that they have handled. What was the outcome? And what was their strategy for coming to a satisfactory resolution?
Pay attention to your gut when talking with potential divorce attorneys. If they seem comfortable, knowledgeable, and confident, chances are you’ll enjoy working with them.
Affording a Family Lawyer
Family lawyers commonly charge by the hour. Flat fees get charged upfront, and then a retainer fee could get added to your hourly fee structure.
A number of factors could impact the cost of hiring a lawyer. These include the level of conflict between you and your spouse, the complexity of financial issues, and the involvement of children. You can also expect your geographical location to play a role.
Before deciding upon a divorce lawyer, get estimates from at least three local professionals. You should be confident that the fee you’ll be paying is reasonable for your case type in your area.
If you’re having trouble affording a divorce attorney, you can look into federally funded programs that can help you afford legal services. Your state bar association may also be able to help you find pro bono representation.
In many cases, people find that hiring the right divorce attorney ends up saving them time and money in the long run.
The right family divorce lawyer can support you in many ways. With expert legal advice and knowledge of local regulations, they can walk you through complicated legal matters. And you can begin the next chapter of your life with peace and confidence.
Don’t stop getting smart about your divorce now. For an expert legal team in your area, contact us today.