Having a family can be a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, not everything always goes to plan. Stresses and pressures mean that sometimes family situations can get out of hand and require a little outside mediation.
And this is where a family lawyer comes in. From divorce proceedings to untangling financial assets to child custody and dealing with deceased estates, a family lawyer can be invaluable when family life gets complicated.
What is family law?
Family law is anything that involves issues around family relationships, including disputes, separation and divorce, and child custody and adoption. Within these areas, a family lawyer can provide help and expertise to ensure you are treated fairly. They can explain the laws and legislation relevant to your situation and advise you of what is likely to happen.
These are some of the key areas that a family lawyer will commonly work in.
Child custody and protection
A family lawyer will can be vital in helping to mediate child custody disputes and ensuring the child is legally protected. Determining child custody during divorce or separation proceedings can be complicated and emotional. A family lawyer can help to put forward a case for why their client should get custody or argue for visitation rights.
In cases where there is evidence of abuse or violence towards the child, the child’s best interests will be paramount. This may mean they have less contact with the abusive parent. A family lawyer would, therefore, help you build a case to ensure that your child is safe and happy in the care of one or both parents, depending on the unique circumstances of your situation.
While there are such things as ‘no-fault’ divorces in Australia (where the relationship has ended and there is no likelihood that the couple will get together again), and these can be handled without a lawyer, not all divorces are as straightforward. Even no-fault divorces can be tricky as it is likely that the couple will have amassed property and belongings together that need to be split. A family lawyer can help you ensure that the division of items is fair and help with any disputes. Additionally, family lawyers can help with trickier divorce situations beyond no-fault divorces.
Family dispute resolution
Not every family dispute will need to be handled in court. Family mediation can be sufficient to resolve some disputes, and a family lawyer can also help you with this. They may recommend you to mediation services or help you take your case to court if mediation does not work.
In cases of family violence, a family lawyer can help ensure that you and your children are safe. They can help you make safe arrangements for your children and organise a Domestic Violence Order, as well as making sure you have access to support services in this difficult time.
You may be considering adopting your partner’s children (your step-children) or adopting a child on your own or with your partner. The legal process of adoption can be difficult, as well as emotional, so seeking the advice of a family lawyer can make the process easier. A family lawyer can make sure that all requirements are met and smooth the adoption process.
This is only a quick look at the services a family lawyer can provide you – family law covers a range of other issues involving couples and families. Speak with a family lawyer today about your situation.