Family Law Lawyers in Clarksville Protecting Our Clients’ Interests
Every year, the Tennessee family courts handle thousands of family law cases. And behind those cases are family law attorneys representing their clients and leading them through these complex and emotionally charged legal issues. If you are looking for a family law attorney to represent you, Hibbeler & Associates is here to help. Keep reading to learn more about family law and what you should know before you hire an attorney. If you have more questions, reach out to our law firm directly.
Family law issues involve those who matter most to you, and it’s important to take any matter that involves the family courts seriously. Contact the family law firm of Hibbeler & Associates for a free consultation to get information and help with your case.
What Are the Responsibilities of Family Law Attorneys?
What should you expect when you hire a family law firm? Family lawyers perform a variety of functions and offer many services. Below are three things you should expect a family law attorney to do.
Set Accurate Expectations
A family law attorney should help you set realistic expectations when it comes to your legal matter. Because family law involves sensitive and emotional issues, it’s common for people to have strong feelings about what should happen. But it’s important to remember that the courts don’t have those same feelings. Having accurate expectations about how your matter will proceed through the family courts can make the process less stressful.
Represent Clients in Family Court
Representing clients includes many parts of a family lawyer’s responsibilities. Some things that would be included here are filing motions, answering communications from the other party’s legal team, being physically present at hearings, gathering and evaluating evidence, questioning witnesses, and preparing statements for the court.
Educate Clients on Their Options
When you hire a family law attorney, you’re hiring someone who should be knowledgeable and experienced in their field. A lawyer will be able to explain to you what the law means in terms you can understand and educate you on the pros and cons of the different options so you can make an informed decision on how you want to proceed.
What Kinds of Cases Fall Under Family Law?
Family law is a broad category that encompasses many types of cases. Learn more about common family law issues below.
Divorce is probably the most common family law matter that people think of when they think of family law courts. Divorce involves legally ending a marriage, and there are usually several factors to consider that often overlap with other family law areas, such as child support and prenuptial agreements. However, one thing that sets divorce cases apart is that they involve property division between one spouse and another.
A child custody case involves decisions regarding who a child will live with and who will have legal decision-making power over that child’s life. Child custody is a common issue in divorces, but it is also something that many unmarried parents have to deal with. When a child custody case is settled, there will be a court order — sometimes referred to as a parenting plan — that sets the legal parameters of the case. This will usually name the residential parent, spell out how decisions involving the child will be made, and how the parents will split their time with the children.
Adoption is a complex legal matter that is handled by the family courts. These cases often involve several pieces, such as the legal termination of the biological parent’s rights, if necessary, and the finalization of the adoption order. There are also specific requirements that may have to be satisfied, such as a home study of the prospective adoptive parents. Sometimes, there may be an extensive waiting period between the beginning of the adoption process before it gets finalized, so talk to a family law attorney about your situation so you can know what to expect.
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that sets forth what will happen if a couple gets divorced in the future. These documents are drawn up prior to the marriage. A postnuptial agreement is very similar, but it is created after the marriage has already taken effect. Family law attorneys help draft prenuptial agreements. It may be tempting to draft your own, but an attorney can ensure that the agreement is executed properly so that it’s not thrown out if and when a divorce happens and ensure that what you are agreeing to is fair and reflects what you are entitled to.
Paternity is an important type of family law case, as it is often the first step in getting child support and child custody settled for unmarried parents. In a paternity case, the courts make a determination of legal paternity, which usually involves either a court-ordered paternity DNA test or a declaration of paternity. Once paternity has been determined, the father has legal rights, and the other legal issue can move forward.
How Much Does a Family Law Attorney Cost?
How much does a family law attorney cost is one of the most common questions that come up. It’s normal to want to know how much your family law case is going to cost so that you can budget and plan accordingly, but the vast majority of family law disputes aren’t easily priced in advance. It’s possible that some things, such as drafting a prenuptial agreement, may be offered at a flat rate depending on what law firm you work with, but the majority of issues are more complex than this.
In most cases, family law attorneys work on a retainer basis. This means that you pay an agreed-upon amount that covers a certain number of hours in advance. For example, an attorney who charges $300 an hour and expects your case to take 10 hours of work might charge a retainer of $3,000. Once that money is used up, the attorney will be based on the number of hours worked until the case is finished.
In general, you can expect that the longer a case takes, the more it will cost. So a complex custody dispute that takes months to resolve will be much more expensive than handling a divorcing couple with no kids who agree on all aspects of property division. It’s a good idea to ask any attorney you are considering hiring what their fee structure is and what they expect the case to cost at your initial consultation. However, remember that family law matters are often unpredictable and that this estimate is just a best guess.
What Should I Ask Before Hiring a Family Law Attorney?
When you are talking to a family law attorney for the first time as a new client, you should ask questions about their experience and how they’ve handled similar issues in past cases. Here are some questions to write down for your consultation:
- How many of these cases have you been involved in?
- What is your experience with the local courts?
- What would your approach to this case be?
- How long should I expect this case to take?
- What are your payment terms?
- You may also want to ask if the attorney has client reviews you can look at.
If you are looking for family law services in the Clarksville area, call the law firm of Hibbeler & Associates at 931-236-2711. You can schedule a free consultation where we can discuss your case and help you evaluate your options moving forward.