It’s important to have a solid understanding of the role divorce lawyers play in family law. Family law is a complicated and sensitive thing. Nobody gets married assuming that they will then end up divorced – the plan is that the marriage will last. After all, the couple love each other very much at the time that they get married.
People change, however, and sometimes relationships end. Working with divorce lawyers can make a difficult split that little bit easier.
Divorce lawyers can help a couple to disentangle their lives without causing damage to either person’s finances or future, and can help to make sure that any children or pets in the relationship are also taken good care of. This is one of the reasons I started this site: to share information on how to handle this difficult time. When a couple is together for a while, they end up with shared possessions, responsibilities and finances, and it is important that these are separated in the best possible way. There may be child custody and visitation issues to work out, as well as who is responsible for any loans, and who gets to stay in the family home.
The law exists to protect people and to ensure that things are dealt with fairly, but ‘fair’ is a complex matter when it comes to these issues, and of course when things are emotional individuals may disagree on what is fair. Divorce lawyers serve a few purposes in that they won’t just put together documents to split possessions and agree maintenance payments – they can give advice in the short term about how to conduct yourself, what to say, and what to do. For example, if the family home is on a mortgage and you are hoping to stay or retain some rights to it, then they may give you advice about protecting your claim. They can offer advice about ‘no fault’ amicable divorces, as well as divorces where there has been adultery or some other issue that caused the breakup.
A lawyer is not a therapist, and they will be impartial and will offer advice only in terms of the way that the law sees things. They will ‘take your side’ as much as the law supports, and argue for you in court. A good lawyer could save you a lot of money and offer substantial benefits in terms of ensuring that every loose end is tied up.
Divorce can be a stressful and emotional time – if the breakup isn’t mutual then there are enough distracting thoughts to face. If it is mutual, it can still be marred by memories of the past and sadness for what might have been. For this reason, having someone that can go through your accounts and make sure that they are all closed down or get the other party’s name taken off can be useful. Having someone to go through all of your possessions and make sure it is agreed who gets what can stop arguments, and can help to smooth the process along.
Retaliatory theft, property damage and financial sabotage can all happen, and it is not uncommon for children to be used as a weapon in divorce proceedings. This sort of thing isn’t right, but it is reality, and it helps to have someone that can take that risk away.
If you’re considering a divorce, talk to a lawyer before you start talking to your partner, and get an understanding of the risks and the responsibilities associated with your particular situation. If you have kids, make sure that you will get the custody or visitation rights that are best for them. Don’t play your child off against your partner, because they are innocent in this situation. Unless your partner is doing something dangerous that could threaten the safety of the family, then you will need to make sure that they are protected. Document all of your concerns – tell law enforcement if you feel that the issue is serious enough to do that – and communicate regularly with your legal team so that you know what is going on, and so do they.
Divorce will always be a stressful and unfortunate thing, but you can take away a lot of the stress simply by being proactive, frank and honest and trying to end your relationship in a way that harms neither partner.