Families come in many shapes and sizes. There is the traditional American nuclear family with a husband, wife, and 2.5 children. There are extended families living under one roof. There are blended families, families with spouses of the same gender, families with unmarried adults, families with more than two adults, or just a single adult. There are families with long-term foster children, open adoptions, or grandparents raising grandchildren. There are likely some forms of families that have not even occurred to me.
Nathan Cliber of our office enjoys working with the various forms of non-traditional families. Such families bring unusual legal issues, and sometimes just do not shoehorn well into established legal structures and precedents. What are the property rights when the partners were never married? What is a good parenting plan when more than two adults have been involved in raising the child? What are the child support responsibilities of a non-biological parent?
In addition to helping non-traditional families dissolve their relationships if they come to an end, Nathan also works to help non-traditional families plan at the formative stage. The less a particular form of family is addressed by established law, the more important it is to take things in hand by anticipating potential issues and reaching agreements in advance as to how to handle those eventualities. This is as true for the day-to-day needs of a family, like who can sign documents for school, as it is for the longer-term issues that come up if a biological parent dies, or a parental partnership dissolves.
Nathan brings his experience with traditional legal processes and tools to the task of finding ways to apply those processes and tools to non-traditional situations. He may help a separating family create unique solutions using traditional parenting plan and child support orders. He may help a new family plan for the future using estate planning tools, guardianships, powers of attorney, or pre and post nuptial/living together agreements. If you have any traditional or non-traditional family issues, Nathan would be happy to sit down with you to discuss the various options open to you.
Nathan would also like to note that Collaboration (a non-court dispute resolution process) can be particularly helpful for dealing with non-traditional issues that might not fit well into a traditional court-based legal process.