Nowhere does the old adage, “a person who represents themselves has a fool for a client” ring more true than in family court. Representing one’s self in an emotionally charged area is a clear pathway to failure.
Outside of the high-stakes and high emotions, there’s knowledge of the legal and child welfare services to consider. No legal specialty covers as much sensitive information or difficult topics as a family lawyer.
Divorces, custody issues, property issues, and even pets all fall within the scope of family law. A skilled family law lawyer also knows when to pursue criminal charges against aggressive and abusive elements.
Family Lawyer Responsibilities
Unlike other lawyers who work to find fault and assign some form of value to the aftermath of an incident, family lawyers want to prevent harm and arrive at solutions more than anything.
Not only is family law a complex topic, but those struggling within a family unit are often reluctant to pursue measures. Despite some media portrayals, nobody wants to remove a parent from a child’s life or see a marriage implode into acrimonious asset grabbing.
To this end, family and divorce lawyers try to understand the nuances of a situation before they act. However, getting the parties away from the immediate cause of problems and heated arguments is essential.
Letters of Intent
The first thing a family law attorney like those of Duncan Legal provides is a letter informing the other party that legal services have been procured. These letters advise that the other party’s legal team respond.
By default, this infers that the other party should get a lawyer and not represent themselves. Attorneys have a much better chance of sorting through the issues at hand and advising their clients of appropriate courses of action.
What constitutes an appropriate course of action differs based on the situation. This can be as simple as a short separation to get a single monetary matter sorted or include divorce and custody proceedings.
Next, an affordable family lawyer will try to save time and money by engaging in pre-trial mediation. They want to locate a solution that all parties can agree on in an informal setting. This helps reduce the pressure and fear that families face.
Most cases are dealt with in this step. Statistics from California, home to one of the larger family court systems, reports that 79% of cases end in mediation.
If an issue goes as far as court, having a family law lawyer involved early provides plenty of documentation to help you in a trial.
Records of the mediation discussion and the words and actions of all parties help to illustrate the situation. Going to a trial without the preliminaries turns very much into your word against there’s. A situation that favors the party with the most assets.
Even if you think the issues you face are mild, getting a family lawyer involved early can help resolve the issue swiftly and with the best outcome.
It’s easy to excuse day-to-day behaviors and not take stock until a sufficient warning call comes across. The legal system does a good job of providing that call.
For more information about this and other topics, check back here soon.