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5 Signs You Need a Family Lawyer

When you see an advertisement for a domestic law firm, you immediately think of divorce and child custody cases. Although parental rights and marriage break-ups are two of the major areas of law that a family attorney covers, there are several other family situations that may require a trained attorney. Sometimes people can resolve family legal situations on there own but more often than not they require the assistance of an attorney. There are five major situations for which you need to hire a family lawyer.

1.   You Want to Establish a Domestic Partnership

If you and your partner want to cohabitate without getting married, you can register yourself as domestic partners with the state. A domestic partnership was a viable option for homosexual couples prior to the legalization of gay marriage by the Supreme Court. It is still employed by couples who do not wish to marry.  In the Coal State, you must both be over 18, mentally competent and not related by blood or adoption for a legal domestic partnership. You must have lived together for at least six months immediately prior to your domestic partnership and your relationship must be mutually exclusive.

An attorney specializing in family law can guide you through the process of setting up a domestic partnership. They can help you make a written agreement regarding mutual property and assist you in dealing with your employer if you should ever have to use family leave to take care of your partner.

2.   You Need to Make a Will or Estate Plan

Making a will sounds considerably easier than it is. Wills and estate plans often have to be updated as personal assets are acquired and sold and family members are added and lost over the years.

The need for a will or estate plan is often determined by the number of assets a person possesses. A will specifies the disbursement of your property and money amongst your friends and family. An estate plan makes specifications for the management of assets as well as protecting your heirs from legal liabilities related to your assets.

You should never make a will or estate plan without the assistance of an attorney. Death can occur at any time and when someone dies without a will or with a will that they have written themselves it can cause consternation and infighting amongst the family members of the decedent.

3.   You Want to Adopt a Child

If you’ve ever seen “Annie” or an episode of “This Is Us,” you may think that child adoption is a warm and fun-filled experience. In reality, an adoption agency will scrutinize every move you have made since you turned 18. You will have to fill out an enormous amount of paperwork and go through many interviews. After the adoption goes through, the biological parents may challenge it. A family attorney can guide you through the paperwork and negotiate with the adoption agency on your behalf.

4.    You are Planning a Wedding

In spite of all the posies, jewelry and empty calories associated with romantic love, marriage is largely an economic institution requiring a lot of planning. Even if you have no assets at the beginning of the marriage, you are likely to acquire some over the years. Not only can an attorney draw up an air-tight prenuptial agreement, but they can also act as an objective third party and mediator.

5.   You are Having Nursing Home Issues

If you have a loved one in a nursing home who has been the victim of abuse or malpractice, you may need an attorney to represent you in a civil suit. Nursing facilities are often understaffed and abuse and neglect are common.

Remember that family laws, perhaps even more so than other kinds of laws change from state to state. You will need to find an attorney with years of experience in domestic laws in Pennsylvania.

The literary critic Anthony Brandt once said, “Other things may change us, but it all starts and ends with family.”  a lawyer can help you protect your longest lasting and most valuable asset.

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