15 Reasons to Consult a Family Law Attorney

A family law attorney can be invaluable when navigating through any family law situation. There are so many questions that can arise in these situations, “How do I file for divorce?” “When can I modify my child support?” “How can I see my child more?”

These are just a few of the many questions that a family lawyer can answer. A family lawyer can also initiate processes that can resolve any issues. When contacting  local family law attorneys, ask them:

  • Do you have experience with my kind of case (i.e. child custody, divorce, etc.)? How long have you practiced law?
  • How long have you practiced in my area?
  • What is the cost of the first meeting or initial consultation?
  • What information should I bring to the first meeting?
  • What costs should I expect? Is there a retainer that I need to pay? If so, when is the retainer due?
  • Are there other members of your firm that could be handling my case?
  • Do you offer alternatives other than going to court? (If filing for divorce, ask the family law firm if they offer these  divorce alternatives.)
  • Should I email or call you? When will I hear from you next?

Your First Family Law Attorney Appointment

At the first meeting with the family lawyer, come as organized as possible. Family law attorneys need all the information about the situation; clients should bring as much documentation as possible including (but not limited to):

  • List of documented interactions and actions by each party (if applicable)
  • Related documentation to the divorce, custody, or other situation
  • Financial documents related to the matter (i.e. canceled checks, paystubs, taxes, etc.)

In addition, clients should have a list of questions they have about the situation. It may be helpful to write down these questions before the appointment to ensure that all questions are answered.

Situations a Family Law Attorney Can Help With

There are many situations that a family law attorney can assist with, including (but not limited to):

  • Filing for divorce
  • Seeking an  annulment/annulled marriage
  • Initiating  mediation (in lieu of a traditional divorce)
  • Filing for legal separation
  • Child custody modification
  • Drafting a child custody agreement
  • Child support modification
  • Paternity questions
  • Spousal support issues
  • Dividing property among spouses
  • Same-sex/domestic partnership issues
  • Requesting visitation with children by a third party (i.e. grandparent, relative, etc.)
  • Terminating parental rights
  • Divorce agreement modification
  • Initiating a  collaborative divorce 

5 BIG Mistakes You Shouldn’t Make During a Child Custody Battle

Little daughter closing dads eyes with hands and laughing after child custody caseA child custody battle can be a huge headache, especially when the stakes are so high. Fighting for the chance to be with your child or children can dredge up a lot of unpleasant issues and emotions; those emotions can spur decisions that can negatively impact child custody proceedings. To avoid that situation, read through this list of common mistakes that parents often make that lessens their chance for success.

Not considering the ramifications of a social media post

Don’t fall into the trap and believe that social media posts have nothing to do with a child custody battle. The truth is that a post, even on a social media site that deletes posts, are forever and can impact a case negatively. Social media profiles can be hacked and screen shots taken (even by friends who you trust); for this reason, always think before you post. Avoid bashing the other parent online, posting non-flattering pictures that shows negative behavior, or ranting about issues that are key to the child custody case.

Disregarding court orders

At the initiation of proceedings, the judge typically gives certain orders, such as a temporary custody schedule, to be observed throughout proceedings. Follow these orders as closely as possible; frequent or major violations of court orders may be taken into account by the judge as he or she makes decisions. With regard to the temporary custody schedule, these agreements are fairly hard to get altered; make sure the agreement is a schedule that can be followed before you sign on the bottom line.

Not hiring an expert

A successful custody proceeding involves multiple steps and expertise. Don’t try to navigate through the process alone. Hire a local, experienced family law lawyer that’s guided other parents through custody proceedings successfully. Use these tips for an efficient and successful first visit with the lawyer and be prepared to provide additional information throughout the process.

Behaving badly in front of the kids

Everything you do during a child custody battle can have ramifications on proceedings: how you act when you pick-up or drop off the kids, the things you say to the other parent, how often you leave the kids when they are in your care, what you say on the phone in front of them. Even when the other parent is behaving badly, make sure your actions and words are beyond reproach and cannot be used against you. Make note of any risky or bad behavior that the other parent exhibits.

Stopping child support payments

“If I can’t see my kid, I’m not paying child support!” It’s a common mistake that many parents make—but can have serious ramifications when the custody of the child is in question. NEVER, never stop making child support payments without consulting your lawyer, even if the other parent is not following the temporary custody schedule and you are not getting a chance to visit your kids. Most courts in Wisconsin hold you accountable for child support even if you are not seeing the child. If you don’t make child support payments, you can land in legal hot water and may even be arrested.

The materials on this website are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. These materials are intended, but not promised or guaranteed to be current, complete, or up-to-date and should in no way be taken as an indication of future results. Transmission of the information is not intended to create, and the receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. You should not act or rely on any information contained in this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney.