No matter how healthy you think your family life is, you never know when an issue might pop up that will require legal counsel. And you might be surprised; even some of the most joyous moments and milestones might still require the help of a skilled family lawyer. Here are some instances in our family journey when legal counsel is necessary.
Before getting married
Marriage may seem like the fairy tale romance the media portrays it, but it’s so much more than that. It’s even more than just a ceremony to publicly declare your love and devotion to one another. It can also be a complex legal affair, especially if one or both sides have many financial assets. Having a lawyer guide you through the whole process can be advantageous, especially if you’re not well-versed in your home state’s legal requirements for marriage. Legal counsel that specializes in family law will be able to help you navigate your legal responsibilities and rights before you become a spouse. And most importantly, they will be able to help you prepare the pre-nuptial agreement to help you and your partner protect your assets, especially if there are dependents from a previous marriage.
Last will and estate plans
If you and your family have a sizable estate, then last will planning and estate plans should always be updated at least once a year. This ensures that the oldest family members will be able to leave this world in peace, knowing that all their assets and possessions go to the people they choose and trust. A last will is a detailed description of how assets will be distributed among the dependents, while an estate plan is a more elaborate and detailed version that lists down how the assets are to be managed and owned. Estate plans also help heirs and heiresses avoid legal issues and liabilities that may come while ownership is being transferred.
Civil union or domestic partnership
Civil unions or domestic partnerships are suitable for partners who don’t necessarily believe in the sanctity of marriage but want the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of married couples. The details of domestic partnerships and civil unions may vary from state to state. Still, they also entail many legal requirements, compliance, and jurisdictions—just like in a marriage. Couples can also opt to develop prenups with their lawyers before entering into a domestic union.
Before and during a divorce
If you find that your marriage is ending and that there’s no way to save it, you need to lawyer up immediately. Just like entering a marriage can be a complex legal affair, ending it can also take up so much of your time, financial resources, emotional energy, and everything else you have to give. Legal issues will mostly come from dividing you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s financial assets, property, child custody, alimony, and others. The reason for the divorce won’t matter; you and your ex are both entitled to legal rights and liabilities. Having a lawyer will help you advocate for your interests as you go through the divorce proceedings. Lawyers are also beneficial during child custody battles.
Going through the adoption process
Even something as joyous as the process of adoption requires you to have legal counsel. This is because adopting a child is a legal process that can take plenty of time, and many people who try their hand at adopting get derailed due to different legal problems. The journey of adopting requires applicants to file plenty of paperwork and to present legal documents that are required by the authorities. During the process, soon-to-be parents might also be required by the state to attend a few court meetings, and an attorney will be able to help make a favorable case for those who want to adopt.
When someone in the family lawyers up
If a member of your family chooses to lawyer up and sue you, you also need legal representation of your own. For example, if you and your family members own a sizable company or many financial assets together, you will need experts to help represent you as you and your family members seek to resolve your issues through the law.
Needing an attorney to help solve issues with people you’re supposed to be close with may be hard, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure you and your rights are protected according to the full extent of the law. So don’t hesitate to lawyer up when you need it, and believe it’s what’s best for you and your family.