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Experts Speak

Family and Relationships: Situations Where You’ll Need a Lawyer

One of the most comforting things is knowing your loved ones are safe and secure. Sometimes there are events in your life that you could not have seen coming or denote the next phase of your life. Such situations may require arrangements and agreements, some of which you may have to deal with in terms of legalities.

You may want to speak and work it out with a lawyer in those cases. Getting one can help with family agreements and defend you when needed. Here are some family or relationship situations where you may want to get a lawyer.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Contracts

While it is a thing to look forward to, planning for your marriage requires a lot of work. Preparing for the event is necessary but not as crucial as how your married life will turn out. Moreover, what happens when the marriage ends? It may seem cruel to assume that your marriage will soon dissolve-either through a divorce or the death of a spouse, but it is a way to manage and acknowledge one’s finances.

Prenuptials are agreements made before your wedding. To be specific, prenups are a set of agreements a soon-to-be couple makes regarding their finances in case their marriage ends. It is a plan to split their finances and assets since they merged upon nuptials. It is a security means for both parties, guaranteeing a fair share of assets.

Post Nuptials are pretty much the same, except that it happens after the marriage. This is done by couples who either didn’t have time for a prenup, have amassed a great fortune or a business within the marriage, or have been married for decades.

Prenups can be done with just the couple. However, having a lawyer, or better yet, two lawyers (one for each of you), around to draft and make the agreements legally binding is important. This is because, in the unfortunate case of divorce or the death of a spouse, there is a way to invalidate prenuptial or postnuptial agreements.

If you or a soon-to-be spouse is getting wed, and a prenup is inevitable, always make sure that: the other spouse is aware and willing, both have consulted with lawyers, and be as fair in drafting the agreements as possible.

Divorce

Divorce happens when a couple wishes not to continue their marriage. And if you are married and wish to do so, you are not alone. There have been about 30,000 petitions for divorce from January to March 2022. Those are tens of thousands of couples hoping for a dissolution of their vows.

Grounds for divorce can vary, but you don’t need reason or blame to ask for one. For England and Wales, a recent change in divorce laws states you can file for one without blaming yourself or your spouse. One can petition for divorce without fault, meaning you can separate due to an irreconcilable marriage.

If you and your spouse agree to the divorce, you may not necessarily need a lawyer, but getting one always helps, especially when you are still lost in managing the rest of your family and assets. If there are disagreements, it is all the more reason to get a lawyer to represent you and communicate your wishes with your spouse.

Abuse

Abuse is a terrible thing anyone has to go through. Anyone can fall victim to it and suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and even financially. Victims should seek immediate help as much as possible. 

Since such a situation may happen to anyone, there are different kinds of abuse depending on the relationship between the abuser and the victim. There are varied types of abuse, the known ones being physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and even neglect. 

Abuse in the family or intimate relationships typically manifests as domestic abuse, also known as intimate partner violence and child abuse. Domestic abuse is a form of abuse where a person is being abused by their significant other or spouse. On the other hand, child abuse is when the abuse is directed at children.

Such situations can escalate to a decline in the victim’s well-being, and one has to seek legal help. The sooner, the better. If you or anyone you know is experiencing abuse, immediately go or take the victim to a safe place; call 101, or 999, if the situation calls for an immediate response.  

Child Adoption/Custody

One cannot just take a child and raise it as their own. There is always a legal process when an adult has to adopt children, which can take a long time and be expensive. 

You will have to fill out documents regarding your application and a few statements which help the court decide whether you are suitable to care for the child. Background checks are also another thing and can take a while.

With such an expensive and lengthy process, you must consult your lawyer. This is especially if you have never had any experience, firsthand or secondhand, of the adoption. Any mistake you might make in the documents you fill up or any lapses in your situation can delay the proceedings.

In Conclusion

It helps to have a lawyer or know where to seek one when such situations arise. Having a professional who can help you with your legal affairs makes your matters and proceedings as smooth as possible. 

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by Sushree Swagatika

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