When you are facing any type of legal matter, it’s vital to find legal representation from an attorney with a solid professional record handling cases similar to your own. Family law is a special area of the law reserved for legal matters between family members. This area of law is broad and involves many types of cases.
An experienced Wichita, KS family law attorney is essential if you are facing any type of family legal matter. Additionally, many family law cases involve multiple aspects of family law. If you believe you can handle your current family law matter entirely on your own, this is a mistake that can negatively impact your life for a very long time and incur significant expense.
Why Do I Need a Family Law Attorney?
If you are facing a specific type of legal case, you need an attorney with experience handling that type of case. For example, if you were injured in a car accident, you would want to hire a car accident attorney to represent you, not an estate planning attorney. If you are expecting any type of family law case in the near future, you need legal representation with a professional record of handling cases similar to your own.
Any family law case has the potential to influence your life for years to come, and many family law matters are emotional affairs that can be difficult to navigate without reliable legal counsel on your side. Your attorney can provide a valuable objective perspective of your situation and help you navigate your case with greater confidence.
Types of Cases Included in Family Law
Many different types of legal cases fall under the purview of family law, including:
- Divorces. Dissolution cases are some of the most common family law cases processed throughout the US. If you decide to end your marriage, you are going to need legal counsel from an experienced Wichita, KS family law attorney. You will have several options for handling your divorce, including traditional divorce litigation as well as alternative dispute resolution like mediation. Your attorney can help you understand your options and make more informed decisions about the direction you take in your divorce case.
- Legal separation cases. Divorce isn’t the right choice for many couples, and some couples need a “cooling off” period before they take formal steps toward ending their marriages. While legal separation is very similar to divorce and may serve as a legal springboard to a formal divorce in the future, this is a different type of case that will unfold in family court.
- Annulments. Unlike a divorce that ends a legitimate marriage, an annulment is formally recognizing a marriage as illegitimate at its foundation. This process effectively nullifies a marriage as if it never occurred. Some of the potential grounds for annulment in Kansas include incest, coercion, fraud, incurable impotence, and incurable mental illness.
- Adoptions. Family courts throughout the US uphold that children thrive best with access to two parents. If a child’s parent dies or does not wish to retain their parental rights, and the child’s other parent remarries to a stepparent who is willing to adopt their children, the adoption process will unfold in family court and provide the child with the same legal protections as a biological child.
- Guardianship cases. When a child’s parents can no longer care for them for any reason, the state must determine guardianship. Guardianship of a child may fall to an adult sibling, another relative, or even a friend of the family, depending on what the family court judge deems suits the child’s best interests the most.
- Paternity cases. Determining the paternity of a child is an important step in any child custody or child support determination. Some individuals may need to prove their paternity to establish their parental rights, while others may need to disprove paternity, so they are not held financially responsible for a child that isn’t theirs.
- Domestic violence and child abuse. When domestic violence or child abuse occurs, the matter may involve criminal proceedings against the offender, but the case will also fall under the purview of family law for determining the best new living arrangements and guardianship for the affected child.
- Emancipation. Under certain conditions, a child may be emancipated from the parental rights of their parents. If any child wishes to be emancipated, the case will unfold through the family court system.
- Termination of parental rights. A parent’s behavior can potentially preclude them from maintaining their parental rights. Child abuse, consistent negligence, or the conviction of another crime could all potentially lead to termination of parental rights. The offending parent will likely face some form of criminal prosecution, but the case pertaining to the termination of their parental rights unfolds in the family court system.
These are some of the most common family law cases in Wichita, KS and throughout the US. If you are expecting to deal with any case along these lines, you need to consult an experienced Wichita, KS family law attorney as soon as possible.
What to Expect From Your Family Law Attorney
Whether you are anticipating a divorce, a child custody determination, or if you need to take legal action against a spouse who has abused you, your Wichita, KS family law attorney will be instrumental in navigating the family court system. You can rely on your attorney to assist with the groundwork of your case, including your procedural requirements with the local family court. Missing filing deadlines or failing to appear for required hearings can have a serious negative impact on your case. Your attorney will ensure your case meets all procedural requirements and help you prepare for each phase of your case.
Ultimately, every family law case is unique, and it is possible that your current situation will touch on several aspects of family law. For example, your divorce may involve a child custody determination, a paternity dispute, and a preliminary legal separation. This is just one example of how any family law matter can escalate into a complex affair and why you need legal counsel from an experienced Wichita, KS family law attorney to help you navigate the case.