Dealing with the legal ramifications of a family issue can leave you wondering whether it might be time to hire an attorney. It might be possible to navigate some situations without an attorney, but there's always the risk that whatever arrangement you enter into endangers your rights or creates more problems than it solves. Let's look at three times it's wisest to contact a family law attorney:
The best way to think about divorce is that it's like dissolving a company. Assets and debts have to be divided up, and it's to your advantage to handle that work in a structured manner. Without a divorce attorney present to advise you, there's a real risk that you'll enter into an agreement that's either disadvantageous or incomplete.
Suppose, for example, that your ex had secured a loan against a vehicle you were given in the divorce. In the absence of full documentation of the transfer of the vehicle and a change to the loan, there's a real risk you may be on the hook for the collateral on their loan.
While folks tend to think of family law as mostly being about fights over child custody and alimony, it covers a lot more. Some of those things are even happy things, like adoption. The adoption process requires extensive documentation of your personal history and the ability to support a child. More unusual forms of adoption, especially adopting a child from outside the country, get even more legally demanding. If anything ever called for the support of an attorney, it's dotting the i's and crossing the t's on adoption paperwork.
Contested Custody and Support
The American legal system strongly encourages parties to try to resolve matters amicably. In fact, the no-fault divorce system is designed to really keep the amount of time in court to a minimum.
Disputes, however, happen for a variety of reasons. Family law issues tend to get people's dander up, and that means misunderstandings and fights are common. People use their kids as weapons during divorces. Assets are withheld to punish former partners, too. It's also hard sometimes for folks to understand what they're signing with things like visitation agreements, and they're often reluctant to agree to anything without a court order.
A family law attorney can be your shield during disputes. Never be afraid to tell an ex to talk to your attorney if you're feeling spent, upset, or confused.