Are Family Law Attorneys Just for Divorces?
When you’re looking to hire an attorney in Portland, it’s important to know what the different fields of law cover. If you’ve never needed a family law attorney before, you may be thinking that family law lawyers only handle divorces. While divorces are a large segment of this field of law, it’s far from the only thing they help clients with.
Why Might I Need a Family Law Attorney in Portland?
When it comes to major life changes, it helps to consult with an expert. For major shifts such as getting divorced, separating, or requesting a change in custody of a child, a family law attorney would be the expert to consult with.
The family law field covers legal disputes between two parties, usually family members, spouses, former spouses, domestic partners, or parents and children. Family law attorneys will help you navigate and resolve the issues involving that kind of relationship. They also understand the sensitivities involved because of personal matters.
Another thing to keep in mind is that laws, rules, required actions, and regulations vary for each state. Thankfully, experienced attorneys are experts in the guidelines of the states where they practice.
Aside from divorce, Portland family law attorney services include legal advice, support, and representation on nonmarital cohabitation, conservatorships, and family law-related appeals. Read on to find some more examples:
As the name implies, this is a legal service conducted before a marriage is made legal. It often includes things like how property will be divided in case of a divorce. Family law attorneys can also help with postnuptial agreements.
Child Custody and Visitation Rights
Whether or not you were ever married, custody and visitation are an important part of a separation if you share children. This area entails creating guidelines for co-parenting, such as figuring out parenting plans and time schedules.
There are different kinds of custody:
- Physical, or the amount of time spent with each parent.
- Legal means the parents have a say in matters such as schooling, healthcare, and general lifestyle.
- Sole custody means only one parent has primary physical and legal custody of the child, although the other parent may be allowed visitation.
- Joint custody means it is split between both parents. This is not necessarily a 50/50 split. Decisions like the exact amount of time spent residing with a parent will vary depending on several factors.
Some parents can agree to an arrangement that satisfies them both, but some custody and visitation discussions can be very contentious. This is one of the very sensitive and emotional issues that family law attorneys are equipped to handle. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, the court will decide based on the children’s best interests.
Attorneys can help come up with a child support agreement based on custody, income, and client’s wishes. Each state has its own child support guidelines, which a family law attorney will be familiar with. Attorneys are also used if a parent is not supplying the child support they were ordered to by the court.
Establishing paternity can be an important aspect of deciding child custody and support. It’s another delicate and emotional legal matter where family law attorneys will provide immeasurable help.
Alimony and Spousal Support
Alimony or spousal support is a financial arrangement post-divorce. Typically, if one party makes significantly more than the other, they will pay a certain amount per month to their former spouse. It enables the spouse to continue living a similar lifestyle.
This is an agreement that can be temporary or permanent. The exact parameters of alimony will depend on the individuals and the state where they reside. For instance, certain jurisdictions have time limits.
Family law attorneys also handle palimony, which is a similar financial arrangement, only between two separated parties who were not legally married.
Division of property and/or assets may already be laid out in a prenuptial agreement, or the former spouses could come up with an arrangement that satisfies them both amid the divorce. In that case, it’s still wise to have an attorney to consult, as they’ll make sure everything is up to snuff.
There’s also a possibility that the division of property will be contentious. In some cases, this can be worked out and resolved with each party and their attorney. But if that still doesn’t settle things, the decision may be turned over to a judge and a court.
Some determining factors include income, length of marriage, the amount of property, and the spouses’ respective ages. The division of property can also vary by state. In some areas, a court will most likely determine that marital or community property should be divided up 50/50.
Some choose a legal separation over a divorce. Since it is also a legal arrangement, it helps to have an attorney in your corner.
Adoption and Foster Care
Family law attorneys can act in facilitating a private adoption. Adoption can include a stepparent legally adopting their stepchild, and may require one or both biological parents to abdicate their status as parents.
Guardianship refers to being legally able to make decisions on behalf of another individual. It is often used for children and can be a step toward adoption. It can also be used when an adult is unable to take care of themselves. When guardianship is granted, the adult or child is then referred to as a protected person.
In family law, emancipation refers to a minor requesting to be released from the custody and control of a parent or guardian. Once granted, the minor will typically be enabled to make legal decisions for themselves instead.
Family law attorneys take these accusations very seriously and will help with obtaining orders of protection.
For the best family law attorneys in Portland, look no further than our team at Warren Allen LLP. We have provided top-of-the-line legal services to the Pacific Northwest area for over fifty years now. For more information on our Portland family law attorneys, visit our website.