By Jim Warren
People look for family lawyers for a few main reasons, each a very important use of our services. Most common, perhaps, are those who reach out to us for help as they consider separation. Also among the more common reasons for contacting a family lawyer is when folks need to know their rights regarding child custody and support.
Regardless of your situation, you should know that our services—like those of attorneys in different practice areas—are both proactive and reactive in nature. With our proactive services, people are taking the initiative and working on a plan with us, while with our reactive services, we help people respond to situations that arise in the context of family life.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways people engage with family lawyers, starting with proactive areas of our practice.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Those who are getting married sometimes take advantage of a service that requires both legal representation and a legal record, as they plan for possible negative outcomes for their marriage just as they may make estate plans. Couples are motivated by a variety of reasons and circumstances to pursue prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that outlines what happens in the event that the marriage ends before death.
Sometimes people want to protect their income or accumulated wealth. Other folks live on inherited money and want to ensure that their family’s money is protected. Some want to protect the rights of children from a prior marriage in his or her estate. We’ve also seen some people who’ve been burned by the outcomes of previous marriages, and they’re willing to go to any length to preventing that from happening again.
The bottom line is that for many, if not most people, divorce can get quite expensive. Many see prenups and postnuptial agreements as a way to have peace of mind and efficiently and more cost-effectively settle a potential divorce by planning ahead.
While many think of us simply as divorce lawyers, family lawyers like to think of themselves as another line of protection for those in need. Sometimes that means reacting to situations of prolonged emotional abuse or neglect, but we also see immediate, acute situations in the area of domestic violence.
A family lawyer can be a wonderful resource to help you work with the authorities—police, sheriff, child protective services—as well as take appropriate legal measures, such as seeking protective orders that place you and your children at a safe distance from harm while justice runs its course. While it’s our sincere hope that we see fewer domestic violence cases each year, the fact is there will always be violent situations, and we will never shrink from helping those in need get the protection they deserve.
Custody and Visitation
Many folks don’t realize that the repercussions and considerations of divorce live on for many years after the actual end of the marriage, especially when there are children involved. Parents of young children will need to peaceably coexist and co-parent until the children turn 18—if you’re divorcing when your child isn’t yet attending school, that’s a long time, and over the course of that many years, disputes and challenges will almost certainly arise.
Many things can upset the applecart of custody and visitation rights carefully worked out during the divorce proceedings. Education and healthcare choices can provoke disputes, as can the individual behavior and changing life circumstances of the respective ex-spouses.
Much of our practice revolves around helping clients be proactive in protecting their parental rights, as well as reactive when those rights are threatened by a former spouse. Child custody arrangements can be litigated and re-litigated many times through the years. Unfortunately, that special someone we marry when young can turn out to be not-so-special with each passing year. If you’re in this kind of ongoing drama, we can help you draw the appropriate lines, in the best interests of your children, whenever necessary.
You may find yourself a financial prisoner of your marriage, and there are remedies for this situation should you want to be proactive, dissolve your nuptials, and move on with your life, instead of living an unhappy life due to financial dependency. Know that alimony and spousal support can be awarded to help you get back on your feet and possibly maintain the lifestyle to which you were accustomed during your marriage.
One of the best roles we play, as family attorneys, is when we help people find solutions that allow them to live their best lives. Don’t limit yourself by thinking you have all of the answers. Our job is to help you find the right solutions for your situation.
Whatever Your Motivation, We Can Help
Whether you need counsel and a prenuptial agreement that will protect your hard-earned career in the event your marriage fails, you need immediate action to protect yourself from domestic violence, or you need to go back to court to keep an ex-spouse’s erratic behavior in check with regard to your children and their well-being, we are here to help.
Call Warren Family Law and get the benefit of more than 30 years of practicing family law in Charlotte, North Carolina. We will protect you and champion your rights, no matter how tough the situation is.