You have undoubtedly heard the term “family law” but do you know what type of legal issues a family law lawyer handles? More importantly, would you recognize when you need the assistance of a family law lawyer? Divorce is probably what comes to mind; however, family law encompasses much more than just divorce. Dallas family law lawyer Rita M. Boyd explains the legal issues that a typical family law lawyer handles so you will know when you need to consult with one.
Family Law Issues
Legal issues that fall under the penumbra of “family law” can be among the most emotional and adversarial of all litigation. As the name implies, some family law matters involve disputes between family members which can cause the litigation to become extremely volatile. Not all family law matters are contentious though. In fact, some family law legal issues bring happiness and joy to those involved. Knowing when you should consult with a family law lawyer is imperative, however, to ensure that your rights are protected, and all proper procedures followed. Aside from divorce, some common reasons to seek the advice and/or representation of a family law lawyer include:
- Drafting a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements, also referred to as premarital agreements, once had a very negative connotation because they were typically intended to protect a wealthy groom from a potentially “gold-digging” bride. Today, however, the bride-to-be is just as likely to have significant assets that need to be protected. Moreover, because people are waiting until later in life to marry, and second marriages are common, prenuptial agreements are now frequently entered into willingly by both parties prior to a marriage. A family law lawyer can help you draft or review a prenuptial agreement to ensure that your rights are protected.
- Modifying the terms of a divorce decree. Although a final decree of divorce is considered a final order of the court, unlike other final orders it is common to request a modification of those orders. For example, requesting a change to an existing child support order is a common post-divorce modification. Petitioning for a change in conservatorship and/or parenting time with your minor children are additional examples of common post-divorce modifications. If you wish to modify your existing divorce terms, a family law lawyer can help you.
- Adopting a child. One of the truly joyful aspects of family law is the adoption process. No matter what type of adoption you are planning (agency, private, stepchild), the adoption must be formalized through the legal system. Navigating an unfamiliar legal system, however, can be intimidating and confusing. A family law lawyer can make sure you understand the procedures necessary to make your adoption legal and help you get past any obstacles along the way.
- Juvenile court matters. The juvenile justice system operates differently than the adult system. If you find yourself required to appear in juvenile court you should consult with a family law attorney to ensure that you understand why you were summoned to court (child delinquency or allegations of abuse/neglect) and to make sure that your rights as a parent are protected throughout your interaction with the system.
- Guardianship proceedings. A legal guardian is someone who has the legal authority to make decisions for a dependent child or an incapacitated adult. You may find yourself caring for a grandchild, for example, because his/her parents are unable or unwilling to do so. To ensure that you have the legal authority to enroll the child in school, make medical decisions, and otherwise act in the child’s best interest you should obtain legal guardianship over the child. You could also find yourself faced with the need to step in and become a parent’s guardian if your parent is suffering from dementia or is otherwise unable to make decisions. In either situation, a family law lawyer can walk you through the legal process necessary to obtain the legal status of guardian and the authority that comes with that status.
Contact a Dallas Family Law Lawyer
If you have additional questions or concerns about a family law matter, contact experienced Dallas family law lawyer Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.