Every family lawyer has a list of things they wish their clients knew before they got too involved with their cases. Family law attorneys work hard to bring the folks they represent up to speed on matters that can be legally and emotionally difficult to try to cope with. Let's take a look at what your family lawyer would be happy to learn you already know before a consultation.
Family Courts are Different
More than other types of courts within the system, family courts are built around trying to create the most stable arrangement possible rather than imposing justice on guilty parties. This is understood even in cases where crimes have been committed. Do not come into family court trying to administer justice, or you will quickly draw the ire of the judge. Particularly if there are children involved in a case, stay focused on stability as your main goal.
A Family Lawyer Provides Space
Working with a family law firm is a good way to establish some distance between yourself and the emotions that come up during these types of proceedings. It's common for folks to either want to pick a fight or to try to get everything over with as quickly as possible. Neither of those approaches is a good way to protect your rights and interests. Let your family attorney act as an unbiased guide so you can get an unclouded view of what's going on.
Informal Agreements are Bad
You and a former partner may feel you can co-parent in a structured and friendly manner without involving the courts. Even if that is 100% the case, there are numerous situations that can fall apart quickly without formal paperwork in place. Let's say two parents die within a short timeframe. In the absence of formal paperwork regarding who their children should live with, a contest may break out among grandparents, aunts and uncles, and other family members who might feel they can better take care of the children.
Life comes at you fast. One parent may decide, for example, to take a job out of state. How do you ensure the other parent has access to children? All parents have rights, and the children also have an interest in having access to their parents. Whenever changes have to be made to an arrangement, it's important to take the time to consult with family law attorneys.