One of the advantages of working in a large firm is having resources at my fingertips that are well known and reliable referrals for my clients. I also have the advantage of having more than 25 years of experience practicing family law, which means if I do not have an in-house referral, I do know someone that can help a client and most requests are ones h have heard before. So, if you need a referral to another type of attorney, please come to me as my family law client. My knowledge and guidance will help you not only with your other issue, but often also will benefit you in your family law case (even if it is not currently active). What would these referrals look like?
- Real Estate
- Estate Planning
- Antenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements
- Criminal Law
- Small Businesses
- Employment Claims
- Personal Injury Claims
Real Estate – After your divorce, you may need documents completed to transfer title on your home or cabin, or to protect a lien interest you have. You may also need referrals for related professionals, such as a mortgage lender or real estate agent, if you are looking to purchase a new home or to refinance the home you were awarded. Getting a referral not only ensures you will have the best fit for what you are doing, but also gives me – your family law attorney – the opportunity to explain how your situation may impact future issues. For example, if you are purchasing a new residence, I would advise that you document exactly the value of that property as well as the amount and source of any down payment, as that might be important in a future marriage. I would also want to discuss where you are planning to live as it related to children, schools, and co-parenting.
Estate Planning – Reviewing your will and related documents (like a health care directive or power of attorney) is important to do periodically regardless of a divorce or other family law action. However, when you do get divorced, it is a good time to revisit beneficiary designations, levels of coverage for life insurance, and naming trusted individuals who could handle things if you cannot. This could also include naming guardians for your children, or people to handle their funds if you do not trust the child’s other parent. So, whether you do it right after your family law matter, or later when the dust settles, make sure to reach out to me – your family law attorney – to discuss options and needs.
Antenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements – These are documents that we would encourage you to obtain prior to marriage, especially a second marriage where there are children involved, and you may want to preserve your premarital assets for them. One key about antenuptial agreements is that they must be executed prior to the date of marriage, so getting this done early is advised to avoid conflict or hassle in those busy days and weeks leading up to the big day. Usually, this process can be handled by me – your family law attorney.
Criminal Law – If you are faced with a criminal prosecution, you can feel shame and not want to discuss it with any more individuals than necessary. But getting a good criminal defense attorney can make a big difference in the outcome of the case (either an acquittal or a plea that reduces the impact of the conviction), and this is especially important when a conviction could implicate your employment or custody and parenting time. If this happens, your ex will likely learn about the charges and be able to use them against you. And, if a conviction cannot be avoided, you will want to share the news with me – your family law attorney – even if your ex never discovers it, so that you can take the necessary proactive steps to be prepared should it come up in family court in the future. This could include voluntary treatment for a chemical use or possession charge or anger management for a domestic charge, for example.
Small Businesses – If you are going to be starting your own business, plan to invest in an attorney to make sure you do it right. It will be important, too, to talk with me – your family law attorney – to make sure that you know how this venture could affect your income and child support or spousal maintenance, as well as insurance obligations. It is also important to establish good record-keeping practices early on, so that a determination of income can be made relatively quickly and easily when needed.
Employment Claims – If you have any type of employment claim, from wrongful termination to harassment, or even just an evaluation of an early retirement package, you will want to also consult with your family law attorney if you are still paying or receiving any child support or spousal maintenance (alimony). These decisions on whether to retire early or being let go/leaving due to issues in the workplace will affect your income, and therefore can affect support orders. Sometimes you will have little or no choice in the matter, but even then, it can be important to obtain the necessary documentation from your employer to verify your claims (such as confirming that your termination was either inappropriate or due to forces beyond your control and not your responsibility). These types of things can be important for your employment claim, but then also for any possible modification of support.
Personal Injury Claims – In a dissolution of marriage, if there is a personal injury claim the payout is often comprised of two parts – pain and suffering and lost wages. The lost wages are considered a marital asset to be divided equitably, while the pain and suffering is considered personal and non-marital, and generally awarded to the victim. Awards of lost wages can impact support claims, as can documenting missed work or disability that might impact your future earnings. This too can come in to play with awards in a divorce, but also after a divorce with respect to child support or spousal maintenance. Further, personal injuries can impact parenting time, depending on any potential medications or limitations, and ensuring that you are making those choices about your medical care and how it impacts both the personal injury claim itself as well as possible implications with respect to children or support after a divorce is important.
As you can see, it is important to remember to contact your family law attorney when you have other types of legal needs, because it will help you make the best overall choices for your personal family law situation and cover your needs in the other area of law as well. Hellmuth & Johnson can provide services in many of these areas. Contact me to discuss a referral, as well as to consult on how your current situation affects your family law matter.