Beyond Divorce: 6 Family Issues That Need Legal Consultation
Domestic issues are rather sensitive, and most people outside this immediate social circle would prefer not to dip their hands into these problems. But the truth is, many family-related disputes need legal intervention to be settled fairly.
In fact, there’s an entire branch of law that aims to address these types of conflicts. Family courts are best known for handling divorce settlements. However, not many people know that family law exists to cover all issues involving a wide range of domestic issues. Whether it’s about children, their parents, or other blood relatives, you can consult a family lawyer to resolve any complex kin dispute.
Here’s a rundown of specific situations where you’d need sound legal counsel regarding family law:
1. Estate ManagementYou’ll never know how strong or weak family ties are until they’re embroiled in property disputes. While most aging individuals don’t see the need to create a last will and testament, it’s often the only way for the departed to provide comfort and peace of mind to family members after they pass away.
When a person passes away without setting clear instructions on how to divide their assets, it can become a major source of disputes. A family lawyer can act as a neutral intermediary to settle differences between family members and guide them on how to move forward in implementing fair estate management and administration.
2. DivorceDespite the costs involved, the divorce rate in the country was pegged at 7.6% in 2019, with Arkansas reporting the highest numbers, according to the United States Census Bureau.
As a legal action to dissolve a marriage, divorce can be messy and complicated. Divorce laws vary in each state. In order to lawfully end the union, spouses need to secure a judicial decision—the first step of which is to file a divorce case.
In most instances, couples are given three to six months to settle their differences. If both are unwilling, it’s time for the spouses to consult a family lawyer to push through with the dissolution of the marriage. Often, you’ll also need a lawyer for the separation of assets in a divorce. Property settlement is often the most complicated part to resolve.
3. Legal SeparationIf the couple hasn’t quite decided to completely dissolve their marriage, they may set an appointment with a family lawyer to understand the implications of getting a legal separation. Often seen as an alternative to divorce, legal separation is different in that it doesn’t dissolve the marriage. This means the un-couple can sleep in different beds or houses but remain married to each other.
What’s the use of legal separation, you may ask? Some states require couples to seek legal separation prior to divorce. In addition, a party may ask the court to divide the assets, discuss custody support, and settle contestable issues, even at this level.
4. Spousal Support Or AlimonyFollowing separation or divorce, establishing spousal support—better known as alimony—is the next important step in finalizing the process. As the name implies, alimony refers to the financial support given to the other spouse to help them maintain their standard of living prior to and despite the dissolution of the union.
The court will determine the terms, including the amount, frequency, and duration of the support, depending on its own appreciation of the case.
5. Child Support And CustodyIf the separated couple has dependents or children below 18 years, spouses ideally will have to decide who takes full custody of the children. If both are willing to take care of the kids, each will have to file a custody case. The parent who’s granted full custody can decide how much time the other parent can spend with the children.
The family court will have to issue legal guidelines to support these minors until they’re of legal age. The parent who spends most of the time caring for the children will receive child support. Like spousal support, the court will consider elements such as the income of the parent who doesn’t have full custody and the number of children who need to be supported.
6. AdoptionAdoption is an interesting prospect for individuals and couples who want to expand their families. However, a complex legal procedure may be involved when taking in another family member.
All states require a home study and visits to evaluate an adoptive family’s capacity, and to help them prepare for the process as well. Adoptions should be lawful and fully authorized by the family courts.
States likewise have various adoption laws that you may not be aware of. As such, a family lawyer should assist you in fulfilling the adoption process.
A family lawyer can help you address disputes and potential problems arising from the complex blood relations. This can cover elderly family members, spouses, and children.
While families may settle some of these issues on their own, legal consultation is still imperative to keep everything in accordance with state laws.
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