Going through big life changes can be tough on its own. The added stress of getting a family lawyer involved can feel even more isolating and scary. If you’re in a sticky situation and wondering whether you would benefit from the legal advice and help of a family lawyer, read on.

Understanding the Role of a Family Law Attorney

Family lawyers or attorneys help guide you through legal challenges related to your family relationships. They offer legal expertise — and often, empathy — to help you navigate complex and emotionally charged situations. These professionals can assist with a fairly wide range of legal matters.

Family law can include divorce, child custody, spousal support, and many other sensitive situations or parts of your life. A family law attorney not only brings legal expertise but also recognizes the personal nature of these matters and handles them with care.

Depending on the lawyer, a family lawyer can help with any of the following:

  • Advocacy for your rights and interests during legal processes like divorce, child custody, and many other situations.
  • Essential legal advice, consultation, and guidance for complex situations, including pre- or post-nuptial agreements and guardianship or conservatorship arrangements.
  • Emergency legal measures for domestic violence cases and other situations where safety is a priority.
  • Estate planning and probate assistance, such as creating a will or trust or settling a deceased family member’s estate.
  • Representation in court, including presenting evidence and seeking legal remedies.
  • Negotiation to help you settle or come to an agreement in a dispute.
  • Assistance with the mediation process, either as a lawyer helping you or possibly as an impartial mediator with additional training.
  • Education on your legal rights and responsibilities.

A family law attorney is an essential partner in just about any legal matter that impacts your family relationships. Whether you’re dealing with a mildly complex divorce, child custody, domestic violence, or other family-related legal issues, having a family law attorney by your side gives you much-needed legal support and guidance.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Protect Your Interests

While hiring a great lawyer isn’t free, it can improve your chances of seeing the legal outcome you so desire. A lawyer can help you build your case, understand your own and your family members’ legal situation, and avoid future legal challenges.

This article will cover just some of the circumstances where a family lawyer may be able to help you get the best possible legal outcome.

1. A Good Family Lawyer Can Help Through a Divorce

Divorce is one of the most important decisions many people ever make. When a relationship is coming to an end, both parties must agree on several long-term decisions that will affect them and their family’s future.

If you’re going through a divorce, a good family lawyer can help you understand every step of the legal process. They can also make you aware of your rights and make clear the options you have depending on your situation and the outcome.

Nobody dreams of going through a divorce, but there are steps you can take to soften the blow on you and your family. Hiring a family lawyer can help you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse move through divorce with as much ease as possible while keeping other aspects of the life you built safe and secure.

2. A Family Lawyer Couldn’t Be More Important During Custody Disagreements

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Whether you’re going through a divorce or a non-parental custody action, child custody disagreements are heart-wrenching. Non-parental custody action, or third-party custody action, is when individuals are seeking legal custody of a child of whom they are not a parent.

Once the court decides on who has custody of a child or children, it is often very hard to change that ruling in the future. For this reason, hiring a family lawyer to help you and your family couldn’t be more important. If you’re in a custody battle, a family attorney can help you move through the court system as swiftly as possible, leaving your children out of the messy situation.

3. A Family Lawyer Can Help You Through the Adoption Process

Adopting a child is often a wild mix of emotions. New parents can feel overjoyed, excited and hopeful, while also feeling anxious, frustrated, and worn down. The legal process of adopting a child can be grueling, especially if you’re adopting a child from out of state or from another country.

Adoption has an enormous effect on biological and adoptive parents, as well as the child or children being adopted. These sensitive situations should be handled with care, which is why a family attorney is always recommended.

Whether you’re going through an open, closed, foster care, step-parent, domestic or international adoption, a family lawyer can help you along the way.

4. When You Are Hoping to Move But Subject to a Parenting Plan

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If you are divorced and have shared custody of a child, you can’t simply move out of the state without getting legal consent from the person you have a parenting plan with.

Before you move, you must file and serve a Notice of Intended Relocation to the other legal parent, or any other party that has legal visitation rights with the child. From there, the other parent or party involved can either approve or object to the relocation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the issue is brought to the court of law.

If you are the parent moving or being served with the Notice of Intended Relocation, consulting with a family lawyer can help you keep your family safe.

5. It’s Always Good to Have a Family Lawyer When Modifying a Parenting Plan

Parenting plans are child custody plans that are negotiated and decided on by the parents of the said child. Once a parenting plan is in place, any formal modification of the plan needs to go through the court. If one parent decides to modify the parenting plan on their own, it could result in serious legal issues.

Minor parenting plan modifications can include changing transportation arrangements, child care or supervision, pick up or drop off times, and more. Major parenting plan modifications often involve switching the legal custody of a child from one parent to another.

Whether you’re looking to modify a minor or major aspect of your parenting plan, having a family lawyer on your side can help you achieve your goals and ensure your family isn’t negatively affected. An experienced family attorney can help you gather evidence and present it effectively in court.

6. When You Are Supporting a Dependent Adult Child’s Education

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If you are divorced, currently divorcing, or have never been married to your spouse, the court can help you decide who is to support your dependent adult child’s education or professional training. This is also called post-secondary support and it is never automatically assigned when the parents of the adult child aren’t legally married.

Post-high school and college education can be extremely expensive. How a child’s education or formal training should be paid for is often decided through the court to avoid confusion or conflict. Hiring a family lawyer can keep your finances safe while allowing your child(ren) to pursue higher education.

What to Expect When Hiring a Family Law Attorney

No matter why you’re hiring a family law attorney, finding the right attorney is crucial. In most cases, the process of hiring a lawyer will look something like this.

  1. Get referrals. Ask friends, family members, or colleagues for recommendations. Personal referrals often provide valuable insights into an attorney’s reputation and capabilities. You can also explore online reviews and testimonials to gather some perspectives on the attorney’s performance, with the understanding that online reviews are sometimes fake or a poor representation of the attorney’s usual work.
  2. Research potential attorneys. Look for attorneys who specialize in family law and have experience handling cases similar to yours. From there, verify the attorney’s credentials, including their education, certifications, and any relevant memberships in professional organizations.
  3. Schedule initial consultations: Many family law attorneys offer free initial consultations. Take advantage of these opportunities to meet with potential attorneys, discuss your case, and assess whether they seem like a suitable lawyer for your situation. Come prepared with some questions about the attorney’s experience, approach to cases, and the potential outcomes of your situation.
  4. Assess their communication style: A good attorney-client relationship is built on trust, understanding, and shared expectations around communication. You need to establish a communication plan, including how you can reach your attorney and how often to expect updates on your case. For family law cases in particular, you should feel comfortable discussing personal matters with your attorney, and they shouldn’t be too busy to communicate with you when there are updates.
  5. Discuss fees and billing: Ask about the attorney’s fee structure. Some attorneys charge hourly rates, while others may work on a flat fee or retainer basis. Don’t forget to ask if you should expect any additional costs or expenses associated with your case.
  6. Review your agreement before signing: Once you’ve selected an attorney, you may be asked to review and sign an engagement letter. This document outlines the terms of your agreement, including fees, services provided, and other relevant details.
  7. Trust your instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to explore other family lawyers until you find the right fit.

 

Where to Find The Best Family Lawyer

With thousands of family lawyers to hire, it can be difficult to know which attorney is right for you and your situation. At Anderson Hunter Law, we have the knowledge and experience to help you with whatever legal challenge you and your family are facing.

The Anderson Hunter Law Firm is the largest private law firm in Snohomish County. We have been helping people in Washington State for decades. Our reputation for high quality legal services at a fair price is what separates us from the rest. Give us a call today and find out why Anderson Hunter has stood the test of time.

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