What is a Family Lawyer? What Do They Do?
AspectLaw | August 01, 2022
Many people confuse family lawyers and divorce lawyers, with many thinking that family lawyers only handle divorce cases. However, this is not the case.
Divorce lawyers are primarily responsible for divorce cases, whereas family lawyers are in charge of many aspects of family law, also known as matrimonial law. It is a legal practice dealing with domestic relations between family members. Although family lawyers in Singapore handle divorce cases as well, they also deal with a diverse range of other matters, such as representing their clients in court for contentious cases involving family violence, managing family estates (probate/Letter of Administration), and providing advice on adoption and guardianship.
What Does a Family Lawyer Do?
Family lawyers counsel a wide range of clients on their options and rights in each unique case, assist them in the preparation and filing of important legal documents, and guide them through complex legal procedures. Here are some examples of cases handled by family lawyers.
Divorce is simply the termination of the marriage contract. However, it entails lengthy legal proceedings, especially if the divorce is contested. If you intend to file for divorce, a family lawyer will represent you in court and assist you with the necessary documents, presenting of evidence, and so on. From the filing of your first documents or a defence to the division of matrimonial assets, they will ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive everything you are entitled to, including child custody, care and control, and access.
In addition to legal matters, a family lawyer can prioritise the welfare of your child during proceedings, helping to manage and minimise any conflict in order to reduce the negative impact divorce will have on your child.
The Divorce procedure is highly complex and emotionally draining. As such, it would be extremely beneficial to find an experienced family lawyer to assist you during this trying period.
Pre and Postnuptial Agreements
Pre and postnuptial agreements detail the assets that each party will receive during and after a divorce. Prior to their marriage, a couple may draw up a prenuptial agreement outlining everyone’s property and assets and what happens to them in the event of a divorce. This document is known as a postnuptial agreement when it is created after marriage.
Family lawyers can also help in times of great joy, such as when a couple wants to adopt a child. Adoption is a legal procedure in which a person applies to become the adoptive parent of a child under the age of 21. The adoption process may be lengthy and complicated, but once finalised, adoptive parents will have legal rights, obligations, and responsibilities over the child, and the child will have no legal ties with the biological parents.
Engaging a family lawyer for adoption can help you speed up the process and save time by ensuring that all necessary paperwork is completed and submitted correctly.
Domestic violence, also known as family violence, occurs when one family member physically, mentally, or emotionally abuses another family member. Anyone who has been subjected to domestic violence may apply for a Personal Protection Order (PPO). It is a court order that protects the victim from the abuser by confining the abuser to a specific area of the house, prohibiting the abuser from entering the victim’s residence, or providing counselling.
The application process for a PPO is tricky, and victims must provide evidence to support their claim. Family lawyers can assist victims in managing the legal application process and representing the victim during trial if he or she is afraid to face the abuser in court.
A deputy is a person appointed to make decisions on behalf of a patient who lacks the mental capacity to make his or her own. In the early stages of their illness, patients may seek the assistance of a family lawyer to appoint a deputy to ensure that their interests are protected if they lose mental capacity.
Will-Drafting and Distribution of Assets
There are numerous legal procedures to follow in order to draft a will and ensure the proper distribution of assets after death. A family lawyer will explain the difference between appointing a deputy and writing a will, as well as what happens if you die without a will. The lawyer will also be familiar with the various types of wills and will be able to recommend the best one for your needs.
When a person passes away, a family member designated by the deceased in the will must apply for a Grant of Probate, which authorises him or her to carry out the instructions specified in the will. This process is also challenging, requiring multiple interactions with third-party organisations as well as the preparation of legal documents. A family lawyer can advise and assist you throughout the process.
Family lawyers have a wide range of responsibilities and they help with some of the most common and complicated legal issues that people face throughout their lives. If you need the services of a family lawyer, Aspect Law Chambers has a team of experienced family lawyers who can assist you through the legal system in Singapore. Speak with one of our lawyers today.
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