Love, money and attorneys

Articles by Carina Castañeda 10 May 2010

Family law cases are governed by state laws, and such rulings settle matters related to divorce, separation, child custody, visitation and support (both spousal and child), alimony, premarital agreements and adoption. Family law rulings are generally decided in three ways depending on the case:  an agreement made between parties, through mediation (third party facilitator), and by a judge in a trial or a hearing.  Prior rulings can also be modified to fit the needs and serve the current interests of all involved parties.

Family law rulings regarding divorce and separation settle a number of issues resolve issues such as the division of marital assets, including debt, resources, and property. Alimony or spousal support is another matter that concerns the parties. If a child or children exists, determination of responsibility for the children will be allocated between the parents. For those who have children-at-issue, child support, visitation and custody are primary concerns.

Family law rulings will always work towards accomplishing what is deemed for the best interests of the children involved.  Factual evidence should be brought forward by a competent attorney to insure that a proper and adequate order is implemented.  Physical and legal custody of children will be divided, usually by way of joint custody or sole custody, and/or visitation rights. Sole custody without visitation rights can be the outcome of family law rulings when one parent is harmful to the child in some way.

Premarital agreements also fall within the jurisdiction of family law courts. A thorough investigation of the partner’s assets and/or debts is a must. Adoption cases are also governed by the family law courts. It is a legal process that may involve stepparents, social services agencies or independent adoption agencies.  It takes a very experienced attorney to insure that all governmental and legal requirements are met in order to avoid future problems.

Even minor emancipation is within the review of the family courts. Emancipation frees a child from the custody and control of their parents. It absolves parents from support responsibilities. Emancipation is highly scrutinized by the court and will only be granted in cases with parental approval and upon a showing of the minor’s financial capabilities and for the best interest of the child involved.

Many are probably wondering why this article is entitled above. But for most, it is easy to recognize that the family law arena is highly emotional and involves the family unit. For many, money becomes the central issue especially in the areas of the division of assets and support. Yes, it gets ugly but I also entitled it “attorneys” in order to underscore the need for a compassionate and effective counsel. An attorney should act appropriately and “counsel” her client accordingly to prevent a protracted litigation.   Trust me, in the realm of family law, this becomes very easy.

As such, look for an attorney whose goal is not simply to charge you more fees by looking for more ways to get issues to become hotly debated and require court hearings, but one that could find a reasonable and attainable solution. This is not easy but an experienced and professional attorney should diffuse the emotions rather than increase the animosity.


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