What is Family Law?
Family law consists of a body of statutes and case precedents that govern the legal responsibilities between individuals who share a domestic connection. These cases usually involve parties who are related by blood or marriage, but family law can affect those in more distant or casual relationships as well. Due to the emotionally-charged nature of most family law cases, litigants are strongly advised to retain legal counsel.
The vast majority of family law proceedings come about as a result of the termination of a marriage or romantic relationship. Family law attorneys help their clients file for separation or divorce, alimony, and child custody, visitation, and support. Spouses married a short time may seek an annulment, and special rights may exist between same-sex couples. The division of property at the end of a marriage is also a common issue in family law cases.
With respect to property division at the time of divorce, every state has a comprehensive set of laws in place to determine the rights of the parties. However, couples who do not agree with the default rules in their state can “opt-out” by hiring a lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement. Absent fraud or duress, courts will enforce these premarital agreements upon divorce, and distribute property and financial support accordingly.
Family law also involves the prevention of physical and emotional abuse. The potential for domestic abuse is not limited to relationships between current or former spouses and their children. Judges will not hesitate to assert jurisdiction to protect an elderly family member, someone in a dating relationship, or even a roommate. When allegations of abuse are made, the court will typically issue a restraining order to prevent further contact.
When Should I Hire a Family Attorney?
There are many different family law issues that hiring a family attorney can help you to navigate. Listed below are some common situations in which you might benefit from hiring a family attorney:
- Divorce: Are you currently going through a divorce? A family attorney can help you navigate the legal process, including division of assets, child custody and visitation, spousal support, and child support. They can guide you through negotiations, represent you in court if necessary, and ensure your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process.
- Child Custody and Visitation: Hiring a family lawyer is a great idea anytime disputes arise regarding child custody and visitation arrangements. Your attorney will work with you to understand your rights and work toward a resolution. They can assist in establishing or modifying custody agreements, creating parenting plans, and representing you in court proceedings. Even if you do not expect a lengthy child custody battle, hiring a family law attorney can help you.
- Child and Spousal Support: If you need to establish, modify, or enforce child support or spousal support (alimony), a family attorney can provide guidance. They can help calculate appropriate support amounts, ensure compliance with legal requirements, and assist with enforcement if the other party fails to meet their obligations.
- Adoption or Guardianship: The adoption process can be complex and involve legal requirements. A family attorney can guide you through the legal steps, including filing necessary paperwork, facilitating background checks, and representing you in court. Similarly, if you’re seeking guardianship of a minor, a family attorney can help navigate the legal procedures.
- Domestic Violence or Restraining Orders: If you are a victim of domestic violence or need to obtain a restraining order, a family attorney can provide valuable assistance. They can help you understand your rights, file the necessary paperwork, and represent you in court hearings.
- Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements: A family attorney can assist you in drafting and negotiating prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, which define the division of assets, spousal support, and other financial matters in the event of divorce or separation.
- Estate Planning: While not exclusively a family matter, estate planning often involves decisions that impact family members. A family attorney can help you create or update important documents such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives.
It’s important to hire an experienced family attorney who specializes in the specific area of law that corresponds to your situation. They can provide personalized advice, guide you through the legal process, and represent your best interests.
Divorce Attorney for Mediation in Houston
Attorney Dawn Renken is a practicing family law attorney in Texas, who specializes in divorce cases in Houston, TX. Attorney Renken received her mediation license through ADR Services International Inc. in 2014. Since this time, she has worked with a wide range of divorcing couples looking for alternatives to traditional courtroom divorces.
Divorce Mediator Houston Texas
Renken Law Firm is here to help couples who wish to dissolve their marriage, whether that be through divorce or legal separation. We are here to help those who are ending marriages that have been contested, uncontested, or collaborative.
We are fully prepared to help you navigate the specifics of your case. All marriages are different, making each divorce equally unique with its own set of needs that must be addressed. Contact our law office to explore your options moving forward, and find out how we can help you.
Renken Law Firm, PLLC
11500 Northwest Fwy #586
Houston, TX 77092
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