Many attorneys are seeing more divorce clients than ever before, whether the divorce is filed in the face of a tough economy is another question. Meet the all-purpose family law expert.
The face of family law in America has begun to change from the “expected” divorce, custody and other family issues most people associate with a family lawyer to a legal practice that deals with adoption, trust funds, estate planning, annulments, prenuptial agreements, spousal abuse or writing a will. “In other words, many family law attorneys are finding themselves answering the call of multiple other disciplines in order to serve their client base well,” explained Jay F. Fortier of The Law Office of Jay F. Fortier, P.C., in Chicago, Illinois.
Family lawyers have even been known to handle real estate legal issues as well. Divorce law, while certainly one area that a family law attorney handles, is no longer the major focus of what drives the firm’s expertise. “In fact, given the tough economic times, when tensions are high and people want out of their marriages, they are dealing with more cases of trial separations,” said Fortier.
Many people locked into a marital situation that seems to be a dead end are opting to try trial separation, which is relatively inexpensive, rather than initiate expensive divorce proceedings.
This isn’t to say that a divorce may not be the ultimate resolution of the separation, but in the meantime, the separation agreement still needs to be drafted. “It would include things such as division of material assets, all financial information, pensions, who will get custody of the children and for how long, child support and spousal maintenance, etc,” explained Fortier.
If the divorce appears to be uncontested, the family law attorney will advise the couple that their divorce, should they choose to proceed now, will likely go quickly. The reason for that would be that the agreements have already been drawn up relating to the major issues of a potential marital split. “If the couple does decide to proceed with an uncontested divorce at a later date, using one family law expert may save money,” added Jay F. Fortier of The Law Office of Jay F. Fortier, P.C., in Chicago, Illinois.