The law is continually changing, and family law is no exception. It’s a rapidly growing field. Family law is a complex area of law that requires the expertise of a family attorney to ensure a person’s rights are not violated or overlooked. When working with a family law attorney, one can be confident that they will be working with someone who is up to date on the latest changes in the law and who will help navigate challenges. A family law attorney can represent a client in many legal areas to not feel overwhelmed by all the legal complexities of family law. But before hiring an attorney, what are the various facets of family law?
What is Family Law?
Family law encompasses the legal issues that can arise in a marriage or domestic partnership, the separation of these couples, and the parents’ rights in permanent separation. Family law includes child custody and child support, as well as alimony, property division, and more. Family law is also a broad term that provides for separation and the legal issues surrounding it and prenuptial agreements, protection orders, and other legal subjects. Every state has a family code that is a set of statutes that governs family law.
Why Work With an Attorney
When it comes to legal issues, family law is one of the most challenging areas and sensitive issues can arise. Especially when children are involved, their choices are not just legal—they are emotional and deeply private. When facing a family law issue, the client needs to trust the attorney with all the details to find a solution. Further, it’s also helpful to have someone who will guide them through the process and help make choices that are right for the family.
In most cases, separation consists of two spouses living in different residences, and it is a temporary legal status that precedes a formal marriage separation. The purpose of separation is to allow married partners to work out an agreement regarding the financial, legal, and parenting aspects of the relationship. When the separation is finalized, the couple can prepare for permanent separation.
An official marriage separation isn’t just hard on adults; it is also hard on children. A separation can complicate a child’s life by making them spend a lot of time in different households. The good news is that something can be done about it: as the separation proceedings begin, it’s possible to work out a custody arrangement so that the children live with one parent and only visit their other parent on certain days.
As part of the separation process, it must be determined what type of custody will be granted for the child or children. “Sole custody” means one parent has sole responsibility for decisions regarding a child’s welfare, including education, medical care, and religious training. The court typically makes this decision if one parent is deemed unfit or if the parents can’t agree on the arrangement. “Joint custody” means both parents share decision-making authority on major issues. If parents can’t agree on an issue, they can ask the court to make a decision.
Parents who share custody must also decide how financial responsibilities will be handled, including child support. Here is where things can get a little dicey. In short, child support is a legal requirement. As such, the amount of child support parents pay for each child is based on a formula that considers both parents’ income and the number of children they have to support. The parent getting child support is called the custodial parent, and the parent making the child support payments is the non-custodial parent. Typically, the support is paid monthly by one parent with the purpose of helping the other parent cover the basic costs of raising a child.
One of the most important things to deal with in a separation is the division of property. While the division of assets during a separation is something that’s governed by state law, there are a few ways to divide property without going to court, which an attorney can help with. When going through a separation, couples are often caught off guard by the actual process of dividing property. Most people don’t realize a few things upfront. First, there will be at least a three-way split, with each spouse having their own portion and then any jointly owned items being split between the two. Second, each spouse is entitled to their own attorney, which adds a lot to a permanent separation cost. Third, it’s very likely the process will go on for a year or more.
Alimony, also known as spousal support and maintenance, is a legal arrangement that requires a higher-earning spouse to financially support his or her lower-earning spouse after an official separation. If someone is concerned about the financial impact the separation will have, it’s advisable to ask the court to require the ex-spouse to pay alimony.
The judge may order the payment of alimony only for a short period of time, such as five years, or until their children reach the age of majority. In addition to this, the court may order alimony in the form of child support, and the spouse receiving the payment will have to make tax returns to report it as income. Furthermore, the judge may order that payments be made through the clerk of the court to prevent either party from interfering with payments.
While requiring the services of any type of attorney such as a personal injury lawyer in Orlando is not a situation most people want to be in, needing a divorce lawyer in Orlando is not much easier. Family law is complicated because it covers a broad range of legal issues related to marriage, children, and family. It’s not just the marriage itself or the separation but also involves issues related to children, property and finances, and more. As a result, family law specialists are needed to help with these issues. It’s crucial to find a family law attorney who is experienced in dealing with specific concerns.