Family lawyers are trained in and focused on matters to do with families. They are not only practiced in the laws of family matters, but also in the delicacy with which these cases need to be treated.

There are many different types of cases a family lawyer will represent, and they usually focus on doing so as respectfully and calmly as possible. Most lawyers don’t want family matters to become big disputes, but would rather resolve them as quickly and fairly as possible and try to avoid going to court to ensure the family remains as in tact as possible, regardless of the situation. Here are some types of cases a family lawyer could become involved in.

1. Divorce and separation

Family lawyers often take care of divorces or separations of couples. This means helping to settle things like the division of the couple’s property – who will get which assets that were accumulated over the years like the house, or even a business they may own together.

Support from a family lawyer will last throughout the divorce process, and will continue after the fact as well. There are many sub-issues that surround a divorce, and a family lawyer will be able to take care of them all.

2. Child custody, access and support

Often involved in divorce or separation cases are matters to do with the children of the couple. Namely: who will get custody and what are the visitation rights of the parent who does not get custody, if equal custody is not granted?

The family lawyer will also help the couple to negotiate what the amount of child support should be. If one parent receives full custody, a negotiated amount of child support will be given to them from the other parent, usually each month, and is meant to cover some of the costs that come with taking care of a child and providing them with the necessities to live.

3. Finding middle ground

Family lawyers can also help solve disputes by mediation and arbitration. Both mediation and arbitration are methods of resolving issues without going to court and are ways of finding compromises and agreements that work for both parties.

4. Mediation

In mediation, an impartial third-party – which could be a family lawyer – will help to guide conversation and agreements between the two parties. They can make suggestions and help with decisions but cannot force their opinions or solutions in the end.

5. Arbitration

In arbitration, the third party has the final say and essentially judges the arguments that each party make to support their case. The decision of the arbitrator is final, and if any party owes anything to the other, they are required by law to do so. If either party does not follow through on any part of the agreement, they will be required to go to court over it.

6. Adoption

Family lawyers can help families who are working through the adoption process. Whether a family is adopting a child, or whether a step-parent is legally adopting their step-child, the laws around adoption are strict and difficult to manoeuvre. Family lawyers can help smooth out adoption issues, and alleviate stress from the parent(s)-to-be.

7. Domestic/marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements

Family lawyers can help draw up marriage contracts which are made in preparation for any future issues. These agreements dictate things like property division and some decisions regarding their children or future children.

A cohabitation agreement would be created before marriage when a couple decides to combine their assets and live together, however should they be married this agreement could become a domestic or marriage contract or could be adjusted to become one.

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