Month: February 2022

What is Family Law?

Family law is a legal practice area that focuses on issues involving family relationships such as marriage, adoption, divorce, and child custody, among others. Attorneys practicing family law can represent clients in family court proceedings or in related negotiations. They can also draft important legal documents such as court petitions or property agreements.

Some family law attorneys even specialize in adoption, paternity, emancipation, or other matters not usually related to divorce. The matter of family encompasses so many life aspects. Lawyers in the field, therefore, help all kinds of people facing all kinds of sensitive issues that many people wouldn’t immediately assume go under the family law umbrella.

The following is a primer on family law and what it entails.

Helpful Terms to Know

  • Emancipation: A court process through which a minor becomes self-supporting, assumes adult responsibility for their personal welfare, and is no longer under the care of their parents.
  • Marital Property: Property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage that is subject to division upon divorce.
  • Alimony: An allowance made to one spouse by the other for support during or after a legal separation or divorce.
  • Paternity: Origin or descent from a father (to establish paternity is to confirm the identity of a child’s biological father).
  • Prenuptial Agreement: An agreement made between a man and a woman before marrying in which they give up future rights to each other’s property in the event of a divorce or death.

Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney

Most family lawyers represent clients in divorce proceedings and other matters related to divorce. But family law is a relatively broad practice area, including such issues as foster care and reproductive rights. Since family law matters hit so close to home, having a trusted legal professional by your side can help you ensure your loved ones are properly represented and protected during any legal process.

The most common reasons to hire a family law attorney include:

  • Divorce: Each partner hires their own attorney, who will help devise a settlement plan in order to avoid a trial. Divorce attorneys typically are skilled at dividing marital property, calculating spousal support, and proposing a plan for child custody, visitation, and support (if applicable).
  • Child Custody / Child Support: Court orders and settlement agreements involving both custody and support usually are included in the larger divorce case, but may be revisited as conditions change. For instance, child support may be altered after the non-custodial parent’s financial situation changes.
  • Paternity: In most cases, paternity cases are filed by the mother in an effort to secure child support payments from an absent father. But sometimes biological fathers file for paternity in order to have a relationship with their child. Paternity typically is determined through DNA testing.
  • Adoption / Foster Care: Adoption is a complex process that differs according to the type of adoption, where the child is from, variances in state laws, and other factors. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a family law attorney. Foster parents sometimes adopt their foster children, but the foster process does not necessarily require legal representation.

Family law often intersects with a wide range of other legal practice areas. For example, instances of domestic violence and child abuse typically involve criminal investigations (and may result in arrests and charges). Along with that process, family courts are tasked with determining how to best protect the victims and ensure a relatively safe environment for those involved. Other related legal practice areas include the following:

Marriage and Divorce Laws Vary by State

States have the right to determine “reasonable formal requirements” for marriage, including age and legal capacity, as well as the rules and procedures for divorce and other family law matters.

The timeframe of the divorce process, for example, depends on location. Some states have divorce laws that require a waiting period. Same-sex marriage has historically been a state matter. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, some states restricted marriage (and divorce) to opposite-sex couples only.

Need Help With a Family Law Matter? Talk to a Professional

Whether you’re in the process of a divorce, need help with an adoption, or have questions about enforcing a child support order, it’s often in your best interests to work with an attorney. Get the help you need by contacting an experienced family law attorney near you.

Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer

Not every legal matter requires the use of an attorney. Fighting a speeding ticket and going to small claims courts are two examples. However, in many other situations involving a legal dispute, challenge, or deal, you may not wish to change the risks of going it alone without the advice of an experienced lawyer who can help you out. In fact, while good legal representation may not be cheap, it can help get you out of a number of sticky situations, such as a bad divorce, lost job, or DUI violation.

While each person’s legal situation is different, there are times when you really should hire a lawyer. In fact, failing to work with an attorney in certain instances can lead to broken agreements, lost claims, or even prison time. Below are the top ten reasons to hire an attorney.

1. The Law is Complicated

If you’re not a lawyer you probably have no business acting like one in certain instances. Even experienced lawyers typically do not represent themselves in court. Also, attorneys tend to specialize in one or more legal practice areas, such as criminal defense or tax law.

A solid case can quickly unravel without the help of a trained and emotionally detached attorney. Similarly, failing to hire a lawyer when starting a business, reviewing a contract, or embarking on other endeavors with potential legal ramifications can result in otherwise avoidable pitfalls.

2. Not Having a Lawyer May Cost You More

What’s at stake? A criminal case may determine whether or not you spend time behind bars, while a civil case could hurt you financially. Besides, there are many civil attorneys who don’t actually collect a dime from you unless they win your case. Also, you may be able to claim legal fees as a plaintiff in a civil case, so hiring a lawyer can actually save or make you money.

3. Lawyers Know How to Challenge Evidence

Without the proper legal training, you may not be able to know whether a key piece of evidence against you was improperly obtained or that the testimony of a witness contradicts an earlier statement. And did the crime lab properly handle the evidence every step of the way? Your attorney will find out and possibly have that evidence suppressed.

4. Filing the Wrong Document or Following the Wrong Procedure Could Ruin Your Case

If you’re not an attorney, you may struggle with the deadlines and protocol for properly filling out and filing certain legal documents. One late or incorrect filing could derail your case, delay a given legal procedure, or worse – have the case thrown out altogether (and not in your favor).

5. They Have Access to the Witnesses and Experts You’ll Need on Your Side

Attorneys depend on an extended network of professionals to help their clients ‘ cases. Most non-attorneys don’t personally know the types of professionals who can help with discovery or challenge evidence or testimony by the opposing party.

Top Ten Reasons to Hire a Lawyer

6. A Lawyer Can Present Your Strongest Case

Pleading guilty or admitting fault isn’t the only choice, even if there’s evidence pointing directly at you. When you hire a lawyer, they can explain all of your options and can help you avoid potentially severe penalties even before a trial begins.

7. It’s Always Better to Avoid Problems Rather Than Fix Them Later

You may have heard the saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Well, hiring a lawyer in many instances will help you avoid potential legal headaches down the road. Do you really understand the fine print of that contract you are signing and what it will mean for you down the road? A lawyer will.

8. Lawyers Know How to Negotiate Settlements and Plea Bargains

An experienced lawyer probably has seen cases similar to yours or at least knows enough to make a calculated guess about how it might get resolved at trial. Sometimes a settlement is the best choice, while other times it makes more sense to see your case through to trial. An attorney can also help negotiate a fair settlement with the opposing party.

Non-attorneys are generally at a disadvantage when squaring off against opposing counsel or doing business with another party that has legal counsel. As explained above, the law is complicated and an attorney representing your adversary (or even a non-adversarial party entering into a legal agreement with you) will take advantage of this inequity.

10. Lawyers Often Provide a Free Consultation

Since many attorneys will meet with you for free during a face-to-face consultation, there is really no harm in talking with one. Not only will a free consultation give you an idea of the type of case you have and its likely outcome, but it will also help you decide whether you actually need to hire a lawyer.

Ready to Hire an Attorney? Find One Near You

Whether you’re staring down the potential of prison time, trying to get the best possible arrangement for your children after a divorce, need to defend yourself from a lawsuit, or have some other legal matter, it’s good to know there are experienced attorneys just a click away. Meet with a qualified, local lawyer near you today to get confidential, personalized answers to your questions.

Ten Most Common Types of Personal Injuries

After sustaining an accident or injury in San Antonio you may not know where to turn or what to do. Fortunately at Carabin Shaw, we have a San Antonio injury attorney available to help you. Our legal team can discuss with you what legal action should be taken to help you get the compensation you need to recover after you’ve been injured or in an accident.

There are three major things to think about after an accident or injury:

  • Who is responsible for the injury,
  • What kind of injury was sustained,
  • And how to recoup a loss after you’ve been injured.

Our team of seasoned attorneys knows that life after an injury has occurred can be quite difficult. Our goal is to be sure that you remain comfortable and able to function long after an injury has been sustained.

Identifying the reason behind your accident or injury is extremely helpful in personal injury law. Knowing who or what is responsible for your hardship helps our lawyers know who to seek damages from. Once you establish whether another person, business, corporation, or a government agency was responsible for your injury, our team of attorneys can put together an action plan to attain an award matching your damages.

After an accident, it is equally important to seek medical attention to determine severity of your injuries. Often, victims do not realize that what may start as a simple strain or pinched nerve can lead to an ongoing issue that can deeply impact their lives. Our attorneys’ mission in San Antonio is to help you get the maximum compensation to ensure that your quality of life does not decline as the result of an injury or accident. The injuries typically sustained after any accident can be found in our list of the ten most common types of personal injuries.Top Ten Most Common Types of Personal injuries

  1. Injury from someone’s negligence: Everyone has a job to follow the rules with a reasonable degree of care in everything they do. If they do not and you become injured because of their failure, then a civil suit is often appropriate to recover compensation for any injuries they caused.
  2. Injury from a slip and fall: All public places have a duty to make their space safe for you. If they fail to do so and you fall and hurt yourself as a result of a hazard they created or allowed to exist, you are eligible to recover compensation from the store for your injury.
  3. Injury from someone’s intentional behavior: If someone intentionally hurts you, you can sue them. This remains to be true even if they didn’t mean to hurt you specifically. For example, if your neighbor throws a rock at his brother and that rock hits and injures you, you may be able to sue and recover compensation for your injuries in civil court.
  4. Injury from a hazardous drug: Drugs are held to safety standards, which sometimes are overlooked when releasing a new drug. These cases normally lead to litigation in the form of class action lawsuits against the drug companies.
  5. Injury from medical malpractice: Doctors are required by law to provide you with complete care. When a doctor does not treat someone this way, many things can go wrong. Medical malpractice lawsuits allow you to recover compensation for mistakes your doctors make.
  6. Injury from a dog bite: Dog bites are judged under a strict liability standard. With that being said, you are permitted to sue and recover compensation for injuries if someone’s dog bites you.
  7. Injury from an auto accident: Car accidents are one of the most common causes of injury. It is required in every state that drivers carry liability insurance in order to protect you from such injury.
  8. Injury from misdiagnosis: Misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice that can also lead to injury. If your condition is made worse as a result of the misdiagnosis then you are eligible for compensation.
  9. Injury from hazardous conditions at a premise: Any type of unsafe condition in a private home or public place can be considered negligent. This can give rise to liability under the law.
  10. Injury from a defective product: All products are mandatory by law to be safe when used correctly. If the product is not safe when used correctly a strict liability normally applies. This means that a manufacturer can be held responsible even if he was not the negligent in producing the product.

Our list of the top ten most common types of personal injuries is just glimpse into the types of injuries a victim might suffer. After you have sustained an accident or injury in San Antonio, contact our attorneys immediately so we can decide what legal action if any should be taken.

Our San Antonio legal team has over 25 years of experience fighting for injury and accident victims, and our bilingual attorneys are ready to help you today. If you or a loved one has suffered an accident or sustained injuries, contact Carabin Shaw at 210-222-2288 to set up your appointment for a free case consultation.

10 Tips For Selecting The Right Divorce Attorney


The selection of your attorney will likely be one of the most important factors in the outcome of your divorce. With such a massive pool of lawyers to choose from, making such an important decision can be extremely difficult — particularly since the needs of every case will be different. It will take a lot of research and time, but the choice of your legal representation should not be taken lightly.

Men seeking a divorce lawyer need to ensure their best interests will be kept at the forefront of the settlement negotiations, and finding an attorney that has plenty of familiarity dealing with similar situations is important. Here are a few things to look for when beginning your search for a divorce attorney.

Don’t simply pick the first lawyer you contact

It is vital that you do your homework and actually meet with several attorneys before you put down a large deposit to retain one. Trust is extremely important in the relationship you will develop with your attorney, and you need to meet them to get a feel for that initial first impression.

Talk to people you know who have been through divorce

It can be an awkward conversation to bring up, but talking to friends, family or coworkers who have been through divorce can give you a good place to start. Despite the ability of researching on the Internet, first-hand accounts are still a really good way to get quality information.

Don’t assume that if you’re a man, only male attorneys can successfully represent you

The chance of your attorney’s gender impacting the outcome of your case is not very high. It is much more important to worry about finding a competent and dependable attorney that you feel comfortable being around. What should matter most is that you trust them to fight for your best interests, regardless of their gender.

Be wary of advertisements

While TV and radio ads may indicate a successful lawyer or firm, that isn’t always the case. Ads are simply meant to attract business and don’t necessarily reflect the track record of an attorney.

A higher priced attorney does not necessarily mean a better attorney

Many people think that just because a lawyer charges more per hour that they will get better service and a better settlement. That is not necessarily the case. A higher rate may signify a more experienced attorney, or it could simply mean they primarily practice in a larger market.

Make sure they specialize in family law

Attorneys can practice in many different areas of law, and you want to be sure they have a focus on divorce. If you were getting heart surgery, would you prefer a pediatrician who also dabbles in other areas of medicine, or an experienced and specialized cardiologist?

Select someone who has experience with your interests

If you have children and can foresee a nasty custody dispute, you will want to be sure your attorney is very familiar with how the custody and support laws work in your area. But if you have a complex business and that same attorney doesn’t have tons of experience with business valuation and distribution, you may want to keep looking.

Pick an attorney from your local jurisdiction

Many attorneys are licensed to practice in several different states; however, laws can vary drastically, even at the local level. You want an attorney well-versed with the regulations in your area, as well as a familiar relationship with local judges and officials.

Find a good negotiator

The goal of your divorce should be to come to a fair settlement while avoiding court. Some attorneys prefer to fight things out in trial, but that method drags out the case and is much more expensive.

But still, ensure the attorney you pick has plenty of courtroom experience

Sometimes, no matter how good of a negotiator you have, going to trial is the final option to settle disputed matters. Your attorney should have plenty of experience and not be intimidated by the prospect of trial.

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