Starting out afresh

When You May Need the Services of a Family Lawyer

by Rainier Van Der Harst

A family lawyer may handle divorce and child custody cases more often than most other types of cases, but these aren't the only family law matters on which they can advise. Note when it's good to make an appointment with this type of professional and how they can protect your rights in various domestic situations beyond divorce and custody issues.

1. When living with someone

When you're legally married to someone, there are certain provisions you're given as a couple just because of having that marriage certificate. However, if you decide to live with a domestic partner but not get married, you may still want to protect them and you when it comes to shared assets, life insurance policies, medical decisions, and the like. A family lawyer can draw up certain legal agreements that spell out your wishes, include your partner in insurance policies, and so on. This can afford you both the rights that are missing because you're not legally married while always ensuring your wishes are respected.

2. Paternity

If you're looking to establish paternity for your child or have been told that you need to support a child you don't think is yours, it's good to call a family lawyer. They can advise you on how to legally compel someone to submit to a paternity test and how to protect your rights if you are going to contest paternity. This will ensure that children are protected as are all the adults in the situation, and that the law is followed when it comes to these tests, monetary support for children, visitation, and the like.

3. Child abuse claims

If a child is being abused or you suspect abuse in any form, you first want to call the police and ensure the child is protected. It's then good to call a family lawyer so he or she can advise you on more permanent steps to take. For example, in cases of emotional or mental abuse, you may want to take the child to a counselor who can determine if the child is being abused and the extent of damage being done. For physical abuse, you may need to start recording signs of abuse and include a pediatrician in this so that there is an expert opinion regarding a child's injuries. A family lawyer can help you protect the child while still ensuring you don't get accused of interfering with custody or another parent's rights.