Many people facing divorce are facing an expensive event. As a result, there are a lot of online resources that help people get divorces done without an attorney. This can be very risky for a variety of reasons. As every couple's situation is unique, it's important to understand what you are agreeing to when it comes to your family's future. Any couple with kids that is considering a divorce would be wise to get advice from competent legal counsel. There are three significant ways that retaining law firm services with a divorce lawyer will protect you as a parent.
Mediating Parenting Strategy for During and After Divorce
One concern many parents have regarding divorce is the instability it can cause for their kids. A family law attorney can work on your behalf to set up a mediation with the other party, which will likely lead to a binding legal agreement known as a mediation agreement or stipulation. This process allows for each party to come together with counsel and with a third-party mediator to resolve any concerns or issues concerning custody and parent time. When a successful agreement is reached, one of the parties will incorporate the agreement into an order for the judge to sign. The order will protect your rights as a parent, and it will legally establish what you've agreed to.
A Specific Parenting Plan May Be Needed for Difficult Divorces
Many times, when divorcing couples generally agree regarding parenting strategy, nothing more than a general mediation agreement will work. Some couples, especially those with a contentious and disagreeable relationship, require a very specific parenting plan in order to co-parent. Parenting plans can be prepared by one party's lawyer and presented for signature or various revisions. Another way these plans are prepared is through additional mediation. It will outline specifically how parents approach parenting, which may involve how and when the kids are picked up for each party's parent time, as well as specifics on what religious beliefs will be taught and what rules will be implemented for the children.
Issues May Require Legal Action in a Court of Law
While most divorcing couples want to avoid legal conflict in the court system, sometimes people don't hold to their legal agreements. If you do mediate an issue and come to an agreement and the other party breaks that agreement, your lawyer may need to petition the court on your behalf. Having a lawyer who has been involved in your situation and knows the parenting arrangements you have agreed to can be a great asset in protecting your rights in court. It's not uncommon for former spouses to change their minds regarding parenting issues, and they may stop abiding by what is legally binding. Acting quickly and legally to keep the other party accountable will protect you as a parent and your children from getting in the middle of conflict.
The ultimate purpose of hiring a lawyer in a divorce is to protect yourself from legal problems now and in the future. Family law can be complicated, and it can be easy to agree to something now that may hurt you or your rights as a parent down the road if you don't know the legal ramifications. A good lawyer will help you make good decisions throughout a very challenging time.