Family Law: Broken Down

Before you can know the reasons to hire a family law attorney, you must first learn what family law is. Family law, in its formal definition, is the practice of law concerning legal issues of family matters. Specifically, these family matters are related to child custody and support, as well as divorce law. In this blog we will discuss the different aspects of family law and how a family law attorney can help you with your legal needs.
If you are in Oklahoma City and are in need of legal counsel, contact Women and Children’s Law Center today!

What are the different parts of family law?

There are many types of law that encompass family law. If you are adopting a child, supporting a child, or setting up prenuptial agreements, you will need a family law attorney to approve and oversee your legal process. The following is family law broken down into its individual pieces. If you are currently in need of legal counsel for any of the following, hiring a professional can greatly reduce the struggle of each process.

Marital Property

When you get married, you share everything. In many couple situations, your home, your bed, and even your money is shared. When you hire family law services, an attorney can draw up a document stating what belongs to which spouse. This process can be beneficial to a couple, as there is a clear distinction between each others property both as a couple, or in a case of separation. With a clear understanding of what belongs to whom, this can significantly reduce later arguments and make the process of divorce (if it ever happens) much easier.

Alimony

If there is a separation or their is a neglectful parent, one of the parents can sue for alimony. In this case, one parent can call for an allowance in order to support the other. However, alimony doesn’t always concern just parents. Any situation where one spouse is financially dependent on the other, can sue for support after a legal separation or divorce. However, in most cases, if there is a child involved, one parent will pay a sum of child support so the other parent can comfortably raise the child on their own.

Termination of Parental Rights

If a parent has been found to be neglectful in support both financially and physically, one parent can file for a termination of parental rights. In this case, a parent that is guilty of a crime, abuse (both sexual and physical), addicted to drugs or alcohol, or has a serious mental illness can be terminated as a parent. If parental rights are cut off, that parent no longer has say in the rights and responsibilities of the child. Also, if the parent signs the termination of parental rights, they are no longer obligated to pay for child support and waive all rights to child visitation. In the case of a termination, the parent taking on permanent and full guardianship, can hire a child custody lawyer to represent them in court.

Paternity

If the paternity of a child is in question, you may hire a family attorney to find out who fathered the child. Through laboratory testing, DNA from the suspected father and the child can be compared. The suspected can refuse genetic testing, however they will undergo legal implications if they do so. A court can mandate a testing and if the suspected father still refuses they can be held in contempt of the court. A paternity test can be conducted without the suspect’s consent, however results cannot be addressed in the court. But, if a close relative, such as a brother, takes the paternity test and there is a percentage of a match, it can be gathered that the suspect is the father. Part of the benefit with firing a paternity law attorney in these cases is that an attorney not only can handle the legal processes, but make sure the father in question is called to a legal court. Many times, if one parent tries to persuade the other parent, the results may not be as productive. However, with the force of the law, individuals can be persuaded to complete the test.
Also, having a court-approved testing center can help ease the suspicions of both parents. By being a court-approved laboratory, the results can be confirmed and viable.

Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a term that refers to when a couple wants to make a clear separation of property. Commonly called a “prenup” this agreement states what belongs to each spouse upon marriage. More importantly, the document indicated the both partners give up the legal right to each other’s property in the event of a divorce or death.

Emancipation

Emancipation is when a minor separated themselves from the care of their parents. In order for a minor to emancipate from their parent’s care, they need to be self-supporting and assume full responsibility for their own welfare. Typically, emancipation must be lawfully approved by the court and the minor must be over the age of 14. An attorney can be a helpful resource to minors who are wishing to emancipate themselves. For example, a family law attorney will be able to know the processes and organize the needed paperwork for the minor and their parents.

Adoption/Foster Care

Adoption is a uniquely complex process that differs according to the specific type of adoption. For example, where the child is from, the state, and the parents all are factors that come with each adoptions. If a child is from a different country, the adoptive parents can only adopt the child in accordance with that child’s adoption laws. However, the parents must also follow the laws of their own state. In order to get all the laws and paperwork organized, hiring a family law attorney is a wise decision. Family law attorneys can help you schedule out court dates, represent you in court, and legally help you understand the documentation throughout your process.

If foster parents would like to adopt their foster child, they have to still go through the legal processes to legally adopt the child. However, in foster care adoptions, the parents don’t need legal representation in a courtroom. But, if the foster parents would like help understanding the process of adoption, an attorney can be appointed to them to help with their understanding of documentation.

Women and Children’s Law Center

At Women and Children’s Law Center, we practice family law in Oklahoma City. Through our center, we have the opportunity to help thousands meet their legal needs. With our experience in the legal field and our understanding attorneys, we can meet your needs and help you throughout your legal process, whatever that process may be! If you are interested in receiving legal counsel, contact the Women and Children’s Law Center today.