Working out if or when you need a family lawyer can be difficult. Most people never want to be in the position where they need one, and may put off making contact with a lawyer for as long as they can.
Contacting a family lawyer can be a great way to find out where you stand on some very important matters – so don’t put off contacting one because you’re not ready to face the fact that things have gotten this bad. In truth, if you make contact with a family and relationships lawyer now, things may not get as bad further down the track.
Speaking to a family lawyer sooner is an excellent way to get some peace of mind and feel more secure about your situation and your future.
Let’s have a look at what a family lawyer does and help you figure out if you need one or not.
What does a family lawyer do?
A family lawyer, or family and relationships lawyer, has a pretty broad-reaching range of skills and expertise.
Family lawyers help with the legalities of relationships including marriage, de facto partnerships, and relationships between children and their carers. This, of course, includes same-sex marriages and partnerships.
They have an in-depth knowledge of the rights and responsibilities that come out of these kinds of relationships. The definition of family is broad, which is why it is better to think about this kind of law covering family and relationships.
They know how to apply the law to protect the people within the relationship, especially those that are most vulnerable.
Most commonly, this kind of lawyer will help you through divorce or separation proceedings, including division of property and child custody arrangements.
They also help with property and financial agreements, child support, situations of domestic violence, and matters around adoption and surrogacy.
Family lawyers help to write and negotiate agreemeents, and help people through mediation and dispute resolution, in the hopes that you won’t need to go to court. If you do need to go to court, they will guide you through each step of what can be an overwhelming and daunting process.
Good family and relationships lawyers will have skills as problem solvers, multitaskers and support people as well as a thorough understanding of the law.
Do I need a family lawyer?
Some legal matters can be very confusing, and you may not know if a lawyer can help you or not. You may be hoping that consulting a lawyer can be avoided if possible.
Family breakdown can be incredibly stressful, especially if you are a parent trying to look after children as well. Will you lose the house? Will your kids need to change schools or lose their friends? How are you going to pay the bills? Will your children be affected by having separated parents? Will you be safe?
Speaking with a lawyer means that you aren’t going through this alone. It also means that the legal side of everything is being looked after, which will help to ease your stress while you manage the day-to-day stuff.
If you are facing any of the following situations, you may need to talk to a family and relationships lawyer:
- Separation or divorce
- Division of property
- Child custody arrangements
- Family violence
- Adoption or surrogacy
- Protection of a child’s rights in a family breakdown or through the death of a parent.
Because separation and family breakdown can be emotional times, even if you still get along ok with your partner, you may not be in the best frame of mind to make sure your property and personal rights are looked after.
Consulting a lawyer can make sure that nothing is overlooked, missed or forgotten, and that you and your children can get through to the other side in the best shape possible.
If you aren’t sure, but you are in a relationship with a partner where you are worried about your safety and rights, or those of children, then you may need to consult a lawyer.
What should I be looking for in a family lawyer?
Look for someone that you feel you can communicate with – that you feel listens to you and helps you understand your legal matter. They should be available and get back to you when you contact them.
Look for someone who doesn’t just speak in legal jargon, but who talks like a human being as well.
They should, of course, know what they are talking about, but more importantly they should make sure that you understand it too. Look for someone honest and genuine, who won’t sugar coat things, but who has your best interests at heart.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please also note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.