It isn’t every day that Floridians deal with family court. In fact, a significant portion of the population will never step foot in a family courtroom, never understanding what actually happens or how an attorney can help. If you are undergoing a separation and are overwhelmed by the system, a family law attorney is exactly who you need to have your voice heard. Some people think that a contentious divorce is the only time a lawyer is necessary, but there are many more ways that attorneys assist clients that they would never know until it happens in their life.

Common Scenarios When a Family Law Attorney is Recommended or Required

Family law is complex, and when a divorce or court order can affect the rest of your life, you may not want to represent yourself. Florida has recently seen updates to longstanding divorce, alimony, and paternity laws, meaning now is one of the more challenging times to take on the legal system alone.

In divorce proceedings, one of the most significant roles of an attorney is handling the division of assets. When dealing with high net-worth individuals or when there are substantial shared assets, slight shifts in percentages can lead to meaningful differences in what you secure after leaving your relationship. Lawyers understand Florida’s equitable distribution laws, and if you don’t have an attorney representing you, the other side may use their experience and knowledge to get the upper hand in negotiations or court appearances. Asset division is sometimes the most challenging part of a divorce, but it can just as commonly be the simplest.

In some cases, disagreements occur in alimony, child support, and shared custody. Alimony should be fair, with an amount of alimony decided upon by a detailed analysis of both the client’s financial needs and the financial abilities of the other party. No one should have to pay alimony to another if the financial facts of the case don’t back it up. Without an attorney, you may not know what is fair, ending up paying when you shouldn’t.

Florida’s approach to child custody emphasizes the child’s well-being and seeks to minimize disruption to their life and education. An attorney’s ability to demonstrate how your proposed custody arrangement supports the child’s stability, health, and education is what will secure acceptance from a judge. If your ex focuses more on what they want and offers unlikely solutions, a judge may look at your agreement more favorably.

Similar to asset division and alimony, your family law attorney will work to provide the court with accurate financial information during child support discussions and advocate for your position. Even if you end up paying more than your ex, this amount should be fair and always go toward the benefit of your children.

At the end of the day, most people generally know when a family law attorney can help. What they don’t specifically know is all the details about how they help. The whole job of an attorney is to handle the complicated legal details on behalf of their clients and help them through a stressful time. If you have any questions about whether an attorney can help with your specific issue, contact our team to get your questions answered without hassle or fuss.

Legal Measures Outside of Divorces and Separations

Divorces aren’t the only type of issue family law attorneys can help with. It’s equally important to consider how legal counsel can serve in a preventive capacity to anticipate and mitigate legal issues before they escalate into disputes. Or, in the future, attorneys can assist with updating previous agreements due to changes in circumstances. For example, family law attorneys can help with:

Paternity Disputes: In paternity disputes, regardless of marriage status, a family law attorney works with you to ensure that the complicated DNA testing and petitioning process is conducted correctly. Paternity laws recently changed in Florida, and an attorney can help assert or contest paternity, even if you were never married or in a relationship with the co-parent.
Drafting Prenuptial Agreements: A prenuptial agreement sets clear expectations and protects individual interests by detailing asset division and responsibilities should a marriage end. Having one of these documents isn’t enough, and it must stand up in court if you want it to assist you in the future. Attorneys ensure that the document considers every situation, is fair to both parties, and complies with Florida laws.
Modification of Court Orders: As life circumstances change, previous court orders may no longer be suitable or fair. For example, changes in a parent’s financial status or relocation can necessitate adjustments to child support or custody arrangements to keep parenting responsibilities equal. Similarly, shifts in income or employment might impact alimony. Even years after a divorce, you have options to seek court help if old agreements are no longer feasible to follow.

Click here to learn more about the robust legal service our family lawyers can offer regardless of your current situation. Whenever legal issues come your way that affect your financial future or relationship with your kids, don’t hesitate to contact Richard V. Ellis and schedule a consultation.