Lawyers do not work with married couples merely on issues of divorce and adoption—a lawyer can also offer services that provide financial security and a comfortable and secure life at home. Here are 8 of the most common reasons that married couples hire lawyers.
Divorce, separation, or annulment
These are three of the most common reasons, of course, that married couples seek the assistance of an attorney. The differences between the three of these are rather technical. Divorce refers to legally ending a marriage; legal separation keeps a marriage intact but prevents both partners from remarrying, an option that for couples who want to divide their finances and property; and annulment determines that a marriage is not really valid.
An attorney can help a family grow by through private and stepparent adoptions, or can represent parents challenging adoptions that they did not consent to. An attorney might also work through removal and dependency proceedings in the case of alleged child abuse or neglect.
Child custody and guardianship
Child custody and guardianship play a central role in divorce proceedings that involve children. An attorney will help in the process of determining custody type—be it sole, joint, or split—as well as in determining child support arrangements. There is also the issue of guardianship, where sometimes a family member might need to step in when parents are unavailable, unwilling, or unable to care for children.
Establishing paternity is essential for fixing legal rights to children, for establishing who has the legal responsibility to care for children, and for establishing who has the right to custody and visitation. An attorney can represent family members seeking to establish paternity, fight for father’s rights, and challenge paternity proceedings.
Name changes might be necessary for ex-spouses seeking to change their name after divorce, or for arranging for a parent and child to have the same name.
Many couples planning to get married choose to establish prenuptial agreements in order to protect the rights and assets of both parties involved in the event of a divorce.
Violence in the home is another reason that a spouse might seek the assistance of an attorney. Attorneys can help victims of verbal abuse, physical abuse, and stalking to to obtain protective orders that will keep the abuser away from them and their family. An attorney might also represent parties seeking to establish or defend allegations of domestic violence, which has an effect on child custody, child support, spousal support, and more.
Married couples looking to arrange how their assets will be divided after they are deceased can work with attorneys to draft wills, trusts, and advance directives. They can also guide families through probate, trust, and estate administration under state laws. Estate planning can offer a family peace of mind and save a great deal of time and headache for a couple’s posterity.