Lawyers get a bad rap, but the truth is they provide essential services to people in need.
As the saying goes, “Ony a fool would hire himself as a lawyer.” There are times in life-both crises and good times-when getting good legal advice is crucial.
Here are seven situations when you need to hire a lawyer.
1. Criminal Charges
If you’re arrested, you need to hire a lawyer immediately.
Inform the police right away that you assert your right to legal counsel. When you demand to have legal representation, the police will be prohibited from interrogating you until you speak to the lawyer. You have the constitutional right to an attorney, and if you cannot afford one, the court will supply one for you.
Even if you think you’re innocent, or that there has been a terrible misunderstanding, getting charged with a criminal offense is no time to take things into your own hands. You need to hire a lawyer who understands criminal procedure and can defend you effectively.
Often, couples considering a divorce want to proceed without a lawyer. They’re afraid that if they hire a lawyer, they will end up in court. Some worry that using lawyers will make the process more expensive and painful than it already is.
If you own a house or other valuable property, you need to talk to an attorney when you decide to get a divorce. Depending on the laws in the state where you live, you may be obliged to split your assets with your former spouse. A lawyer will help you determine what possessions will be included in a marital settlement.
If you have children, it is also advisable to hire a lawyer if you’re going to get a divorce. A lawyer will help you come to an agreement on custody, visitation, and financial support.
Find someone with lots of experience in family law like this lawyer. They will be able to anticipate the many issues that can arise during a divorce and guide you through them.
3. Buying Property
Deciding to hire a lawyer is not only for times of crisis. You will also need a lawyer during exciting, happy times, like buying a house.
If you’re purchasing your first home, you’ll need a real estate attorney to help you negotiate terms with the seller, draw up contracts, and possibly hold funds in escrow.
Some people pursue a lucrative career in flipping houses. If you’re engaged in buying and selling real property as a business or sideline, you really need to hire a lawyer. They will advise you on the contracts you need for both sellers and buyers, plus with any contractors you employ to renovate the properties.
A lawyer will also help you with the tax issues that arise when flipping homes. They may be able to point out deductible costs and other ways to save money.
4. Starting a Business
Starting a business is another time when you should consider retaining an attorney.
If you plan on hiring people, you will need to have a basic understanding of employment laws. If you are hiring (and firing) people, you need to know how to protect yourself and your business from potential lawsuits.
If you’re starting a business which involves construction or any other potentially dangerous activities, a lawyer will assist you. They can advise on how to set up a compliant workplace to keep your workers safe and keep you protected from lawsuits.
A business lawyer will draft contracts and liability waivers which can insulate you from litigation down the road. He or she will assist you in managing start-up costs by advising where to incorporate your business for maximum tax benefits, for example.
Even with small businesses operating online, you need legal advice on federal laws governing consumer protection, advertising, payment processing, and data privacy.
One of the most worthwhile investments you can make when you set up your own business is to hire a lawyer to do it right. It will save you money and headaches in the long run.
5. Adopting a Child
Adding a child to your family will be one of the most joyous experiences of your life. However, when you adopt a child either privately or through state agencies, there are numerous legal hurdles.
Depending on what state you live in, there may be specific requirements for adopting a child. You may need to be a foster parent for a period of time before you can petition for permanent custody.
If you’re adopting directly from the birth parents, a lawyer will help you create a binding contract to determine your relationship going forward. Some adoptive parents choose to allow visitation by the birth mother later in the child’s life, and some prefer to limit contact.
6. Getting Sued
If you’re sued by an individual or corporation, you should hire a lawyer immediately. Trying to settle legal disputes on your own may lead to worse consequences.
Maybe your dog bit your neighbor and they decide to sue you for their medical expenses. Maybe a business associate is disputing the amount you paid him in a transaction. Maybe someone slipped and fell on your sidewalk because you failed to shovel your snow.
All of these instances could lead to getting tied up in court for a long time. Getting sued, even if you win, can be stressful and expensive.
If you suspect that someone you know or work with is threatening to sue you, call a lawyer. Sometimes a skilled attorney can negotiate a settlement before the problem even gets to the point of a lawsuit being filed.
7. Injured in an Accident
If you’re involved in a car accident, a slip and fall, or another type of mishap, you may have a cause of action for a lawsuit.
If you get hurt on the premises of a business because they failed to maintain it safely, you might be entitled to compensation. If a truck driver failed to operate his vehicle in a responsible manner resulting in injury to you, you might be able to recover money from his employer.
Contact a lawyer as soon as you can if you’re involved in an accident. Ask whether he or she can help you recover for lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering caused by your injury.
Know Your Rights: Hire a Lawyer
A lawyer can be of great help in a wide variety of circumstances, both terrible and happy. Whether you are embarking on a new adventure like a new business or partnership, or if you are in physical or legal trouble, a good lawyer is your best bet to guide you through the challenges towards satisfaction.
For more information on ways to navigate life’s business, legal, and personal challenges, check out our blog.