Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Rayshard Brooks. Jacob Blake. These are just a few of the names of African Americans who have lost their lives or been severely injured due to racism or police brutality in 2020.
The fight for justice in the names of these victims has been the catalyst for protests across the country. Black Lives Matter (“BLM”), a global organization whose mission is to eradicate white supremacy and intervene in violence inflicted on black communities, organized many of these protests. Although BLM continues to do excellent work on a community level, the injustices many black families regularly experience lead them to distrust the police, the legal system, and attorneys, even in areas where an attorney’s help can genuinely affect the outcome, like in family court.
If you have a family court matter and are skeptical that an attorney can help you, here’s why investing in protecting the rights of your family is essential.
Filing Court Documents
Despite the plethora of websites claiming to help families file for divorce or petition for custody for unbelievably low prices, filing the appropriate documents, and serving them properly, matters.
At a minimum, an initial filing for divorce requires an original petition, a citation, a notice of service of process, and a divorce decree. The language and information you must include on the petition vary based on whether there are children or other notable circumstances. Additionally, making sure that your ex is served properly adds another layer of complexity to the process.
Often these low-cost divorce businesses do not account for variations in circumstances or service complexities. So you can end up making a serious error without even know it.
Acting As Mediator
When it comes to family matters, it’s usually in the ex-partners’ best interest to come to an agreement on the division of property and child custody rather than letting the court decide. This protects the family and keeps the dignity of both partners intact.
The right family attorney can act as a mediator to help ex-spouses approach issues rationally. They can assist the parties in creating arrangements that work for both sides and avoid any unnecessary court interventions in family matters.
Protecting Father’s Rights
Unfortunately, the media often portrays black fathers as deadbeats that don’t pay child support or want to take care of their children. This couldn’t be further from the truth. However, because of these stereotypes, the legal system can sometimes treat black dads as wayward fathers before they’ve even had their first hearing. The right family attorney can help black fathers fight against this stigma. Although it may be an uphill battle, a father may get primary custody if he can demonstrate that he has been the child’s primary caregiver in the past. In determining primary custody, the courts will consider several factors, including available free time, religious, moral, and ethical considerations, future plans, experience, and the mother’s home, health, and well being.
Gathering Evidence and Preparing for Trial
If your matter requires a court hearing or a trial, then an experienced family attorney can also help you gather evidence and prepare for trial. A seasoned attorney will know what evidence is most important in defending your rights and will be sure to make that evidence available in court. The attorney will also have the knowledge and practical experience necessary to help their clients present testimony and navigate the other complexities of courtroom procedure. If you are a person of color in need of help with a family matter, Angela F. Brown and Associates is here to help. Contact us today to book a free strategy session.