When Should You Discuss A Problem With A Family Attorney?

Speaking with a family attorney can feel like an escalation in many situations. However, there does come a time when it's best to have counsel. If you're trying to decide whether it's time to consult with a family lawyer, think about these aspects of what you're up against.

Potential for Later Legal Issues

One of the biggest mistakes people make in family law is assuming the current situation is all there is. If everyone is getting along and happy with how they've handled an issue, they may elect to avoid legalities to keep getting along. This is a mistake.

Suppose a grandparent is raising a grandchild. The grandchild lives informally with the grandparent because the parents aren't able to do the job for whatever reason. When the kid is a toddler, this probably will be no big deal.

However, legalities will appear as the grandchild ages. Schools will want formal authorization that can only come from a legal guardian. The same goes for authorizing many medical treatments. Even if the parent is around to handle these things, the best-case scenario is every legal authorization will be a pain because the parent and grandparent will have to organize their efforts. In the worst-case scenario, a kid could be refused critical services because no one can sign for them.

Need for Structure

Another area where people often go along to get along is when it comes to the general need for structure. If a teenager wants to move out before the age of majority, they might do so without emancipation. This creates many of the same potential issues of the teenager needing to rent an apartment, sign up for school, or deal with any of the myriad legalities that define American life.

Similar issues occur with custody. Many parents rightly understand the value of co-parenting without starting fights. However, this means many parents also have informal custody arrangements. That might work for a while, but what happens when someone says the other parent isn't providing them sufficient time with the kid? Each parent should retain a family attorney, draw up a formal custody agreement, and create a structure everyone can follow.

You may also encounter that sort of problem with child support. One parent may say they'll just pay for stuff whenever needed. However, this can cause problems if a parent just doesn't deliver or decides to use the money as leverage. It also lacks consistency and makes monthly budgeting harder. Formalization is the best choice because it provides stability.

For more information, contact a family lawyer in your area.