Family law is an important legal specialty in the United States. Not only are parents represented, but children’s rights are protected, and sometimes guardianship for grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members are considered in the interest of a child. To gain a good understanding of what family attorneys are and the roles they play in our country’s legal system, let’s dive into this subject a bit more closely.
An Overview of Family Law
According to Legal Information Institute, “Family law, also referred to as domestic relations in many states, is the broad body of law that covers marriage, divorce, child custody, adoption, domestic violence, reproductive rights, and other matters regarding family relationships.”
Aspects of family law can be complicated and emotional, which is why it’s best to hire an experienced attorney who specializes in this practice area. Whether the issue at hand is related to divorce, child custody, adoption, or something related, having an attorney by your side will save you a lot of headaches and money. Representing yourself in these types of cases isn’t advised, as you can actually cause more damage to your family.
Characteristics of a Good Family Law Attorney
Family attorneys have many responsibilities and work on many different types of cases. Because of this, a family lawyer should have the following characteristics:
- Patience: When it comes to working with emotional families dealing with divorce and child custody cases, patience is key. A lawyer must be a reassuring and guiding presence during the legal process, not an angry or impatient person.
- Excellent Communicator: There’s nothing worse than lacking information, especially when it comes to your family. This is why hiring a family lawyer who is an effective communicator is so important. They should provide necessary updates to your family as often as possible so you remain in the loop.
- Prepared: Lawyers work on many cases at once, but that doesn’t mean they should slack when it comes to the family law case you’re paying them to represent you in. Proper preparedness goes a long way when it comes to divorce, child custody, and adoption situations. You don’t want to lose custody of your child because your family lawyer wasn’t prepared for your case.
- Honest: Honesty is a major part of the legal process, especially when it comes to family law. You need your lawyer to be upfront with you and effectively communicate what may be difficult to hear.
- Experience: Knowledge and application of family law are key in any case within this practice area. That’s why you need to hire a family attorney who has plenty of experience under their belt when they go to represent you in court.
- Professionalism: When it comes to family matters, professionalism is crucial. You need a lawyer who keeps their own emotions and opinions out of the equation, instead putting you and your case first.
Day-to-Day Duties of a Family Lawyer
On a daily basis, family attorneys perform a variety of duties. It’s important to have an understanding of what these lawyers do before hiring one to represent you. These duties include:
- Overseeing and managing family legal issues
- Offering effective legal advice to families
- Directing and supervising mediation sessions
- Coordinating with other legal staff
- Preparing briefs for cases going to trial
- Recording proper documentation
- Organizing legal documentations
- Attending meetings with clients, other lawyers, and support staff
- Preparing for and attending conferences, court appearances, trials, and hearings
- Updating clients
- Overseeing wills as well as family estates
Here at Forefront Law, our family attorneys provide a variety of family law services, including cases regarding guardianship, divorce, and child support and custody, including modification and relocation. Whether you’re looking to divorce your spouse, gain custody of your child, or gain guardianship of another child, an experienced family attorney can assist you!
In Florida, guardianship cases occur under select circumstances. These decisions may be made on behalf of a minor whose parents have become incapacitated due to illness or injury or have passed away. They can also be made on behalf of minors or adults with significant mental or physical disabilities. The state of Florida recognizes the ability of both individuals and organizations to serve as guardians.
Florida is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce cases, which means that either spouse can file at any time and cite irreconcilable differences as the “reason” for divorce. Elements of a divorce in Florida include the dissolution of marriage, determining alimony, and the equitable distribution of liabilities and marital assets.
When it comes to the divorce process, a couple in Florida can expect to go through the following steps: petition for dissolution of marriage, service, mandatory disclosures, discovery, mediation, and trial. Keep in mind that, according to Finances Online, it typically takes a total of one year to complete a divorce.
Child Custody and Child Support
Child custody cases in Florida involve the primary consideration of determining custody and visitation in the best interest of the child. Florida courts also favor both parents sharing responsibilities and providing financial support to the child. The Income Shares method is used to determine child support amounts.
Family attorneys assist families through each of these family law practice areas: guardianship, divorce, child custody, and child support. It’s most important to hire an excellent family lawyer for your case because you want to do what’s in the best interest of the child or children involved. At the end of the day, the Florida courts care about determining what situation is best for a child in terms of financial and emotional support.
If you and your spouse have come to the conclusion that you’d like to divorce, you’d like to gain guardianship of a child in your life, you’d like to adjust your child’s custody arrangement, or you’d like your child support situation to be reexamined, the next step is to hire a local lawyer.