The family law attorney’s role depends on what kind of case he’s dealing with and who he is representing. If he represents the plaintiff in a divorce proceeding, he might also need to prove criminal liability when his client accuses his spouse of concubinage or adultery. This is aside from proving the grounds for divorce as alleged by his client. On the other hand, if he is asked to enforce the will and manage the partition of his deceased client’s assets, he also needs to make sure that the latter’s wishes are properly and legally executed.
Generally, every lawyer must give his client the best and soundest legal advice regarding his circumstance. However, his advice doesn’t always mean that they should go to court and battle everything out. If he thinks that the best option is to settle, it’s also his responsibility to explain to his client his options, the pros and cons of each option, and the consequences should he follow a particular course of action. In other words, he should make sure that his client’s best interests are protected.
Specifically, here are some of the critical responsibilities of a family law attorney:
Secure the safety and right of his client
Especially in cases involving domestic abuse, a Family Law Attorney’s immediate interest is ensuring his client is safe and far from his alleged abuser. On the other hand, if he represents the accused, he must be ready to quash the validity of the court’s temporary restraining order against the latter.
For example, the client he’s representing alleges that she and her child suffer from economic abuse because the latter’s father refuses to support them. In this case, the family lawyer must fight his client’s right to support him by all legal means. If the father refutes paternity, the family lawyer is obliged to establish paternity to hold the father liable for withholding support to his dependent. If the father already died and left a will excluding the child he refused to acknowledge as his, aside from proving paternity, the lawyer should also contest the will and partition of the deceased person’s estate.
Carry out the dead person’s wishes
If the family lawyer’s client is a deceased person who left a will and properties, the former has so much to do. First and foremost, he needs to ascertain the totality of the estate left by the deceased. After that, he needs to know if the properties designated for transfer will not affect every heir’s aliquot share. And since the estate owner’s death opened succession, it’s also the lawyer’s role to determine the deceased’s legitimate and illegitimate heirs. In the same way, the lawyer also needs to itemize all the liens and encumbrances attached to the properties.
Before the property is partitioned, the lawyer will also identify the deceased’s creditors. Once all of the information mentioned above is determined, the lawyer will differentiate the aliquot share from the estate’s free portion. The former will be equally divided among the legitimate and illegitimate heirs after the liabilities from creditors are satisfied.
If he left a will, only the free portion of the property could be used to satisfy the designations stipulated in the said will. Through this, the rights of legitimate and illegitimate successors are also protected. With the help of a family lawyer, you can avoid overcompensation from creditors and encroachment of the property by your co-heirs.
Settlement of family issues
Negotiate through your lawyers if you want to settle legal issues within the family amicably and calmly. Family issues are personal so that it could get messy and hurtful. Since all the parties involved are emotionally invested in the case, it’s easy for the negotiation among themselves to go south. So, regardless of what kind of domestic issues they’re trying to settle, it’s better to negotiate with the help of their respective family lawyers.
Since both lawyers are not family members, they could maintain level-headedness no matter how tough and intense the issue gets. Also, since they both know the law, outrageous, unconscientious, and illegal claims are avoided. Your issue gets settled with both parties coming to a just and equitable agreement at the end of the day.
If you’re caught in a legal battle with your family members or estate creditors, do the next best thing — get yourself a competent lawyer.