Family Law

Attorneys and lawyers practicing family law take up cases relating to all kinds of family related issues. These can be adoption, prenuptial agreements, marriage, divorce, separation, legal separation, annulment, alimony, division of the property accumulated during the marriage, domestic violence, negotiation, adjudication, child custody and support, child abduction, kidnapping or child seizure, emancipation, abuse in the marriage, parental rights, paternity, juvenile, felonies etc., and many such cases related to family. Other than this they also deal with regular cases relating to criminal laws, property related laws, probation law, trusts etc. However, the majority of the cases that come to family lawyers are the divorce, separation, abuse or child custody cases. A number of details need to be considered when it comes to these cases and family lawyers are specialized in all the legalities involved in such cases.

A number of questions tend to arise when a couple is getting separated legally or getting divorced. One is the process of getting divorced with a minimum fuss, as getting separated or divorced can in itself be a traumatic experience on both the parties. Add to this a contesting from either party and the whole thing becomes quite messy to handle without a lawyer to offer sufficient moral and professional support.

One other important issue that must not be neglected is the child custody and child support if any children exist as a result of the marriage. Even though the court finally approves all the aspects regarding the custody and support for the children, both the parties must be able to reach to a decision even before filing the papers. Attorneys and lawyers practicing family law will be able to provide immense assistance in such cases.

Family lawyers will be able to assist with all the usual questions that might arise in such cases. Child support laws vary in each state as the law is governed by each state individually without any input from the federal level. However, certain issues such as deciding the parent who is liable to receive the custody and the parent who is supposed to pay for the support, calculation of the amount of child support to be borne, etc., are the questions a lawyer from a particular state would be familiar with.

Family lawyers can also be of a big help if the supporting parent is missing or if the payment is not on time, or even in some cases when the individual does not care enough for the court orders to cough up sufficient amount for the child support. Deciding on other criteria such as visitation rights, receipt of money if both the parents are in different states, or when the child supporter is unable to make payments duly on time due to pecuniary problems.

Family problems can be very upsetting and distressing and the best way to handle them is with the help of a lawyer practicing family law. An exhaustive list of lawyers that are qualified, experienced can be found either from the yellow pages or on the Internet with some effort. A word of advice, it is the best option to always go for a new lawyer chosen on basis of qualifications and experience instead of the ones recommended by friends or acquaintances or relatives to avoid any problems or explanations later on.

Introduction to Family Law

The legal world is broken up into specific niches. The most commonly known are the fields of criminal and civil law where people are either accused of crimes or sued for money, respectively. Family law has become much more prominent as a field in the last forty years and we take a look at it in this article.

Ask someone what family law is all about and one word is continually mentioned – divorce. This is hardly a surprise since divorce is a part of the field and tends to get much more attention because it can be very splashy such as when two celebrities decided to call it quits. Ironically, the first legal issue a couple may face is not divorce, but prenuptial agreements before they actually wed. Regardless, both are considered the bedrocks of family law. That doesn’t mean they are the only legal niches.

A divorce with a childless couple is one thing, but a divorce where kids involved is another. There is a small library of law in each state dealing with the two subjects that inevitably pop up. The first is child custody where the divorcing parents try to work out who the child will live with and how often the other spouse will get to see them. The second issue is child support where the court has to order one spouse to provide the other with compensation for caring for the child.

There is a certain negative connotation to the above three areas and rightly so. Our last area, however, is all positive. Adoption is considered a part of the family law niche and is critical in that it places orphans with parents desiring a child. It is literally a match made in heaven, a definite win -win. Attorneys providing adoption services consistently rate as the most satisfied it the practice of law. There are other odds and ends when it comes to family law, but these are the big four. This is often viewed as a brutal area of the law, but it need not be as adoption services can show.

Collaboration is More Common in Family Law

At one time in the not so distant past, family law was practised at an oppositional stance. Two partners would consult their own personal lawyers privately, divorce would be acrimonious and custody proceedings were bitter. However, now lawyers have stated that family law is being practised much more collaboratively between two partners. This applies to every stage of a family beginning. Mortgage and co-habitation are looked at together, pre-nuptial agreements are drawn up by both partners and mediation is increasing before divorce proceedings are begun. Couples are actively seeking to start their life together on a more equal and open footing. Official documents are drawn up together with mutual consent.

Mortgage And Co-Habitation
Often, when two partners start to live together, they will move into a house that one of the partners already owns. This can be difficult if the couple were to split up, because the party who had no ownership over the house would want some recompense if they had to move out. Now, more couples are using a lawyer to draw up living arrangement contracts or to help them make the mortgage a joint contract.

Pre-Nuptials
By law, family courts are now more transparent than ever. This has led a number of couples to draw up a collaborative pre-nup before they marry which ensures that the details of any divorce proceedings will remain private, should the couple split up. Couples are also showing more enthusiasm for beginning their married life on equal terms. When drawing up the pre-nuptial agreement, lawyers have cited that they are less likely to be rejected by a family law court because both parties were witness to them and signed them with no objection. This collaborative approach is much more popular as the disparity between men’s and women’s finances has shrunk and partners who stay at home are recognised as contributing to the marriage in ways other than financial.

Divorce
The rise of the pre-nuptial has made divorces much more straight but in some cases. However, where there is no pre-nup in place, a collaborative approach to divorce is now becoming a popular way to end a marriage. This has come about because we are now more aware of how a bitter divorce can emotionally impact on children involved, and parents want to reduce the amount of stress that the split causes to themselves and their offspring. Mediation before a divorce case goes to court can help to reduce hostility and work out the best outcome for all parties involved.

Collaborative family law is a much more open way of dealing with family life. It helps couples to respect each other, think of each other as equals and prevent any unfair dealings if the marriage was to come to an end.

Need A Family Law Solicitor? Yes! When Custody Is an Issue

In a perfect world, divorce would be an amicable parting, a fair and just parting of the ways. One might even say that divorce would never be an issue in a perfect word. But, nevertheless, the world of today is far from perfect, and divorce can get ugly, very ugly. During a tough divorce, many adults try to “win” the divorce by being awarded a settlement that is favorable to them. This may not always be a settlement that is in the best interest of the children, though, and this is where a family law Solicitor can be invaluable. A family law Solicitor can be hired by either party during divorce proceedings to ensure that the best interests of the child are upheld by the court. A lawyer can also be useful in custody hearings and during child protective cases. Child protective cases arise when the state steps in to remove children from the home in an effort to remove them from a dangerous, negligent, or abusive situation. In these types of cases the children are often put into foster care or placed for adoptions. A family law Solicitor can be instrumental in guaranteeing that the parental rights of the biological parent are upheld in this situation. There are numerous Solicitors that practice family law, and you will be able to find several just by browsing the phone book. This is rarely a good way to find the best family law Solicitor for your case, though. You can also never be guaranteed that you will get what you pay for. While it is true that the least expensive Solicitor is rarely your best bet, the most expensive may not be exactly what you’re looking for either. Be sure to ask for references and do your homework before you hire a Solicitor.

Here is a brief list of what you do not want in a family law Solicitor:

  • Stay away from lawyers who use custody issues as a way to wrangle more money or assets from the other party. The lawyer should always have the best interest of the children in mind. If the family law Solicitor plans to use the children as leverage to win the case, you can be guaranteed that they will feel torn and displaced during the divorce proceedings.
  • Be wary of lawyers who advertise that they specialize in the rights of the father or mother. A good lawyer will be able to look at your case without prejudice and figure out a solution that is best for the children.
  • If your lawyer is too busy to return your phone calls and answer your questions thoroughly, he will likely rush through the case as well. Always choose a lawyer who listens to what you have to say and responds accordingly.

During a difficult divorce, it is common to lose sight of things. A good family law Solicitor can ensure that the children do not suffer as a result.

10 Random Family Law and Divorce FAQS

Question: Is there any way to shorten the 90 day waiting period after the nominal Rhode Island Divorce.

Answer. No, the 90 day waiting period is mandated by Law. A Final Judgment of Divorce cannot be granted by a Family Court Judge until the 91st day after the nominal Divorce hearing. The only exception to this rule is for divorce complaints granted based on the grounds of living separate and apart for a space of 3 years which has a substantially lesser waiting period.

Question: Why is there a 90 day waiting period in Rhode Island?

Answer: The intent of the statute is that parties may reconcile during the 90 days and decide not to get divorced.

Question: I am in a rush to get a divorce, do I have wait until the nominal divorce hearing which is typically 65 days after filing?

Answer: No. The parties can agree to waive the initial waiting period and the nominal divorce hearing could be substantially earlier than 65 days.

Question: Can I file for divorce if we do not satisfy the 1 year Rhode Island Residency Requirement to obtain a RI Divorce.

Answer: No. Until either party satisfies the one year residency requirement, the only option is a complaint for Separate Maintenance, a Divorce from Bed and Board or a Miscellaneous Petition for Custody, Placement or Child Support.

Question: What is a Divorce from Bed and Board and Future Cohabitation?

Answer: It is something that should almost never be filed. In this type of case, the parties go though the entire divorce but in the end they remain legally married and do not obtain an absolute divorce.

Question: Why would anyone ever get a Divorce from Bed and Board?

Answer: That’s an excellent question. The prime rationale for this would be religious reasons.

Question: What is the statutory Interest for Child Support Arrears?

Answer: 12 percent

Question: Will the State Of Rhode Island waive statutory interest owed to the state of Rhode Island for Child support or Cash medical Contributions?

Answer: The State will only consider waive the amount of interest owed to RI for child support or cash medical contributions after the principal amount has been paid in full.

Question: Can I get a divorce just by signing papers without a nominal hearing?

Answer: No. A Nominal Hearing is required to obtain a divorce in RI.

Question: Do mothers automatically get custody of young children in a Rhode Island Custody case?

Answer: No. Rhode Island uses the best interest of the child standard in determining custody of all children.

Practical Tip: A mother who is a fit and proper person has a significant advantage in obtaining custody of a young child in RI Family Court.

Family Law – Divorce, Annulment and Child Support

The subject of family law is a broad and diverse subject. It covers a wide range of issues and topics mainly involving the subject of marriage and the rights of children under marriage. Some of the subjects that pertain to family law are divorce, annulment and child support.

Divorce

Typically the formal definition of divorce is worded in various ways, but generally it is designated as a decree or order from a court judge stating that a marriage is (from that day forward) terminated and dissolved.

What we consider divorce and how we handle it is different than how it was handled many years ago. Ancient civilizations considered the subjects of marriage and divorce (or marriage dissolution) to be matters of privacy and while certain religions have always had opinions regarding divorce governments did not generally get involved.

Since the time that the United States claimed its independence, the subject of divorce and family law developed on a regional basis, obviously because during the early years there was a lot of differing opinions on how the country should be run and the subject of family law was included in that development. The U.S. Constitution specified that divorce should be regulated individually by the states. For many years it was generally accepted that divorce would only be granted after one spouse showed evidence of fault, or breach of the marriage contract on the part of the other spouse.

Nowadays every state in the U.S. has accepted what is called a “no fault divorce.” A no fault divorce means that the person in the marriage who is filing for divorce does not have to provide legal proof that their spouse did something specific to violate or breach the marriage contract.

Annulment

Annulment in its most basic definition is a legal determination (by a court judge) that a marriage to be null and void, usually because the marriage was formed and took place under disputable circumstances. In the U.S., the rules that allow a marriage to be considered for annulment vary from one state to the other because individual states have varying family law regulations.

Most of the time a marriage is annulled when a marriage involves parties that are under legal age; and act of duress (one party claiming to be forced into the marriage); one party purposely concealing their previous life history to the to the other party, or any number of other factors. The difference between divorce and annulment is that whereas a divorce decrees that a marriage no longer exists, an annulment decree states that the marriage never legally existed.

Child Support

Child support is the provision of financial support or payment of monies to ensure that a child whose parents have divorced will receive continuous, future financial support from both parents. It is commonly accepted by courts and society as a whole that such children need to have solid financial support system from both parents, even if they are no longer married and/or living together.

In most U.S. states child support is a form of a financial support payment plan that is determined or ordered by a judge in a family law court. It is also considered to be good public policy to require divorced parents to provide monetary support for their children so that the children do not become neglected and become dependent on already overburdened state and public welfare systems.

The Role of a Family Law Attorney in a Contested Divorce

These days divorce is a common reality and not just something whispered about on occasion. More and more people are inquiring about a divorce and what the legal process is. Some people really want a divorce and others simply want to know what their options are. Divorce is a legal process that allows two married people to permanently end their marriage agreement and freeing them of all marital obligations. The legal processes vary depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is one where both parties cannot agree on certain issues such as division or marital assets. They often go to court and require time and money.

Divorce lawyers deal with contested divorces regularly. The longer a couple has been married the more issues there are to deal with. When two people cannot agree completely the court will step in. Common issues are division of assets, child custody, and child support. Any time a case goes to court, it is going to take longer. The court is obligated to listen to both parties arguments and determine a final solution. In certain situations the parties may be assisted by a mediator to try to reach common ground without going to court.

The first few meetings held with a family law attorney are an interview to find out about the major issues to be decided in the divorce. They ask for any paperwork applicable to marital assets and other important factors such as children. After getting all the information they need, they will go over it and determine what is reasonable. This information is used to file the divorce petition to be served to the spouse. If they do not respond in thirty days, they are considered to be in default and the divorce is automatically granted. The discovery phase begins before the divorce petition is filed and delivered to the spouse. All information, paperwork and other needed items are gathered by the divorce lawyers for both parties. Settlement papers may be drafted many times until a decision is reached. If both parties can not reach a settlement, the court takes over and trial proceedings begin.

The divorce trial operates much like any other type of trial. Each party is allowed witnesses and will be cross-examined by the opposing party’s lawyer. Then closing arguments will be made and the judge will make a decision. After the order has been signed by the presiding judge, either party has thirty days to file for a trial motion granting relief of the judgment. If the trial motion is denied, an appeal can then be filed to the appellate court within thirty days after the denial.

All of the steps involved in a contested divorce are complex and can be very time consuming. When a trial is needed, the amount of time increases drastically and there is no way to know exactly how long it will take. One advantage of a court trial is the ability to be granted restraining orders if there is fear of being harmed. The biggest disadvantage is that both parties can walk away financially exhausted.

Family Law Attorney – Divorce & the Case For a Family Law Lawyer

Is A Family Law Attorney Really Required In A Divorce?
A divorce obviously represents a major change in a relationship. Most of the interests of the parties, once unified, are now being split apart. Divorce is a new experience for most; it involves many changes, it’s disrupting, and it’s challenging. Given all of the issues that need to be addressed and the highly emotionally charged atmosphere, the situation can degenerate quickly into a nasty, difficult state of affairs.

Many myths abound as to outcomes of a divorce… these myths can contribute to hard feelings and harmful actions.

Bottom line, you need to protect your rights. And, if you have children, you especially need to protect both your rights and the rights of your children.

And, quite simply, for most the best way to protect your rights is representation by a qualified family law lawyer.

Skillful Divorce Legal Representation

It is crucial that you have skillful legal representation as soon as possible after you decide to divorce. It is important to know your rights… and your obligations.

It is critical that obligations are fulfilled at the time of the separation of the parties. Temporary agreements should usually be established immediately that deal with issues such as child custody, spousal support, maintenance, property division, visitation, parenting rights, and child custody. Initially, these agreements are designed to be temporary and to put each party in the best position possible while the divorce negotiations occur.

While your marriage is being terminated, if there are children the family relationship must continue. There is an opportunity to establish a good working relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse that demonstrates your commitment to be as helpful as possible as you each establish new homes and adjust to new realities.

A Skillful Family Law Attorney Can Save Time, Money & Reduce Stress

A divorce can take up to a year or more, depending on how quickly the issues can be solved by the parties.

Each of you can make the other’s life miserable over ongoing disputes over custody, visitation, money issues, and whatnot. It’s in the best interest of parties and the children to get the best legal advice possible in the beginning so that one party doesn’t have to go to court to get temporary relief which could have been negotiated.

Years of grief can be avoided with the right start.