If you’re facing a legal issue that affects your family, such as divorce or separation, adoption, child custody, marriage, property settlements, spousal support/alimony, or child support, you need the help of a family law attorney. Not every family law attorney will have experience in every aspect of family law, however. It’s a good idea to look for an attorney who is familiar with many or all of these areas. Some of the services available include the following.
Beginning a Marriage in Jacksonville
If you want to begin a marriage with pre- or post-nuptial agreements, a family lawyer can help. No one wants to think about the end of a marriage before the wedding has even occurred, but planning for the end of a relationship while you still have positive feelings toward one another can have its benefits.
Ending a Marriage
One of the most common services offered by family law attorneys involves ending marriages. If you want to get separated or divorced, you’ll need a family law attorney. A family law attorney can also help with associated interactions such as family mediation.
Time Sharing, Visitation, and Child Custody
When you and a spouse get legally separated or divorced, the court will determine who gets custody of any children from the union and what the time sharing arrangements will be. Children typically live with the custodial parent most of the time, but the other parent may be able to take the children into his or her care for a period of time for visitation, also called time sharing. If you’re getting separated or divorced and you have children with your estranged spouse, you’ll need a family lawyer to look after your interests and those of your children as the courts decide matters of custody and time sharing.
A family law attorney will be able to help you understand your custody and visitation options and help you develop a plan to lay out the best parenting arrangement for your kids. Once you and your attorney have developed a parenting plan, he or she will help you present your plan to the court and will negotiate on your behalf with your spouse’s attorney.
Spousal Support or Alimony
Spousal support represents payments made by one spouse to the other during separation and after divorce. These payments are made to recognize the recipient’s contribution to the marriage and to help that spouse become financially independent after the marriage ends. It’s usually used to help the spouse who contributed to the marriage by raising children and homemaking. The payments are meant to enable them to stay afloat financially after the marriage has ended, and while he or she is receiving training or otherwise preparing to support him or herself financially.
The longer the marriage, the more alimony a non-working or lower-earning spouse may be entitled to. A family law attorney can tell you how much spousal support or alimony you may be entitled to or can expect to pay.
When a marriage ends, property that was acquired by the couple during the marriage must be divided between them. A family law attorney can help decide which property is separate or non-marital property, and which property is marital property. Separate property is property that was acquired before the marriage, or that was acquired during marriage by gift or inheritance to one spouse specifically. You will be allowed to keep your separate property upon the dissolution of the marriage, but you’ll need to divide your marital property with your ex-spouse.
Disputes often arise when spouses go to court to settle marital property during a divorce. Spouses may try to hide marital property or even waste it so that the other spouse can’t get his or her fair share. A family law attorney can help you get your share of community property, including:
- Commercial and residential real estate
- Insurance policies
- Retirement plans and employer benefits
- Gas and oil royalties and working interests
- Long-term investments and stock options
- Businesses, including current and future earnings or capital investments in equipment and property
- Ranch and farm property, livestock, and equipment
- Intellectual property, patents, and copyrights
When a couple with children divorces, the court will determine the degree to which each parent is responsible for the children financially based on the amount of money each parent earns. Usually, the parent who earns the most will pay the other parent to ensure that each is contributing equally to the financial support of the children. The custodial parent is often the one to receive child support, because he or she needs the money to provide for the day-to-day needs of the children.
Just because two parents divorce, doesn’t mean that they don’t both still have a moral and legal obligation to provide financially for their children. Your family law attorney will know how much child support you can expect to pay, and will help you take steps to make sure your child is getting the amount of support dictated by law. A family law attorney can also help you get back child support payments you are owed – either by a former spouse, or your child’s other parent to whom you were never married.
Adoption and Foster Care
Whether a biological parent is found by the court to be unfit or whether he or she voluntarily gives up parental rights, the court will use adoption and foster care to assign legal parental rights to another adult. A family law attorney can help you adopt a child, or can advise you on the best course of action to get your child out of the foster care system. Should you want to relinquish your parental rights to a child, a family law attorney can help with that, too.
Contact the Attorneys of Beller & Bustamante, P.L., Today
Family law attorneys offer a range of services to help you navigate any legal issue that might arise affecting your family – from prenuptial agreements to divorce and child custody. Don’t face family court on your own. Get the help of a family law attorney who can fight for you and your interests.
The attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L., have the knowledge and experience you need on your side to navigate situations like these. To schedule a consultation, call us today at 904-288-4414 or use our online contact form to set up an appointment.