From innovations in technology to updates in legislation, 2019 is predicted to see a variety of changes that may directly impact Family Law clients. To help Family Law professionals stay ahead of the curve and provide clients with streamlined litigation, we’ve compiled the top five Family Law trends to look out for in the new year. Keep reading to learn more.
One trend Family Law attorneys can expect to see more of in 2019 is co-parenting, that is, sharing the duty of childrearing in an actively engaged way. Putting the best interests of the child first, co-parenting minimizes the stress of separation and parenting after divorce as both parents work together to put on a united front. If co-parenting is the desired outcome of a custody case, Family Law attorneys can take several steps to ensure families achieve this goal. One of the most powerful ways Family Laws can set families up for co-parenting success is setting up clear guidelines for each party to follow. If alcohol is involved in the custody case, for example, employing alcohol monitoring devices, like Soberlink, can be essential in creating structure in your parenting schedule and removing guesswork for a more streamlined and worry-free co-parenting dynamic. In keeping clients connected to monitoring parties, Soberlink also promotes direct and open lines of communication to promote peace of mind and child safety during co-parenting time.
In September of 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 2698, an initiative that builds upon the Child Care and Development Services Act, providing young children with even greater access to mental health care. With the passing of this bill, many institutions, including the educational and legal system, are refocusing their efforts and attention on the wellbeing of children. In the world of Family Law, this means making both the mental and physical safety of children a top priority. If a parent has Alcohol Use Disorder, Family Law attorneys can use Soberlink to develop a safe, stress-free environment for children. In providing real-time alerts and highly accurate alcohol testing, Soberlink provides proof of sobriety, which can eliminate tension and anxiety around parenting time. With less stress, children have the space to thrive and develop healthy, happy relationships with both parents.
With areas like telehealth and telecommunications growing in popularity, it’s no surprise that Family Law has also started moving into the digital space. According to the American Bar Association, Family Law attorneys have many opportunities to incorporate technology into their law practice, such as “using cloud-based technology to operate the firm, working outside the traditional bricks-and-mortar office space, using virtual assistance for administrative work [and] using an online client portal” to deliver legal services. Not only does this tech-focused strategy provide financial benefits, such as reduced overhead, it also allows lawyers to quickly and efficiently communicate with their clients from the convenience of a smart device or laptop. That said, knowing that attorney-client confidentiality is absolutely imperative to any legal practice, it is recommended that Family Law attorneys take steps to encrypt any client information, so online data remains secure.
Pew Research notes that more than about 1.2 million Millennial women had their first child in 2016, bringing the total number of Millennial moms to 17 million. As more Millennials become parents, Family Law attorneys are adjusting their services to meet the unique needs of this growing demographic. One of the biggest differentiators between Millennials and other generations is their focus on technology. According to Pew Research, Millennials are the leading tech connoisseurs of our era, with more than nine-in-ten Millennials owning smartphones and 85 percent using social media. So, how can Family Law attorneys cater to this Millennial desire for connectivity and convenience through technology? One of the solutions is smart technology, like Soberlink. Combining a professional grade personal breathalyzer that is wirelessly connected to a cloud-based web portal, Soberlink allows for seamless alcohol monitoring from a smartphone, laptop or tablet. Linking alcohol monitoring with state-of technology, Soberlink is a modern way for Millennial parents to stay accountable for sobriety and child safety during custody cases.
In January 2018, changes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act were put into effect that directly impact Family Law cases on a monetary level. Called the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this legislation requires every American to pay taxes on nearly all income earned, including alimony. In addition, this act removes all individual tax exemptions, including the child dependent tax deduction, meaning parents with full-time custody no longer get special tax exemptions. That said, parents with custody can still supplement their income with Child Tax Credits, which can reduce federal income taxes by up $2000 per child.
With so many new trends on the horizon, 2019 is set to be a game-changing year for Family Law professionals. From the implementation of state-of-the-art technology to the unrolling of new legislation, these changes are reshaping the future of Family Law. Learn more about these trends and adopting technology, like Soberlink, into your Family Law practice.