When Legal Disputes Involve Family Members

When Legal Disputes Involve Family Members

There are blood relations, and this is the family into which your mother births you. There are also family members who you choose. Marrying someone or choosing to cohabitate with them are two examples of this.

Whoever you consider to be your family, though, you’d hope that they’ll love and care about you in the same way that you do about them. If everyone gets along all the time, that can lead to years of familial bliss. Your home can be your sanctuary, and you’ll enjoy spending time there.

Sometimes, though, family members don’t get along, and when that happens, it can be very hard on everyone involved. For example, if you find yourself in the middle between two fighting family members, it can be challenging to know whose side to pick.

Let’s talk about when family arguments lead to legal action and what might happen if that occurs.

Vehicle Accidents

Vehicle accidents are difficult enough if you run your car into a stranger’s vehicle or vice versa. It’s even worse, though, if two of your family members run into one another this way.

This might happen after a dinner party or a holiday when everyone is trying to back out of the driveway or leave the property at once. You’d think that one family member would pay for the other’s medical bills, but what if they refuse to do so?

If that happens, one family member might have to hire a lawyer and sue for whiplash or other injuries. They may be able to settle out of court, but if neither one will back down, then a contentious legal battle is in the immediate future.

Arguments Over a Will

When someone dies, like a family’s matriarch or patriarch, there can be a lot of money on the line. If that individual had hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, you can imagine some of the arguments that might happen if multiple family members want a piece of that.

If the deceased individual left behind a clear, coherent, and legally binding will, then it doesn’t much matter if one relative or another wants some of the cash. The will is going to dictate who gets the money.

It might happen, though, that some of the relatives will contest the will. They might feel like the deceased individual was not of sound mind when they created it. In that case, they might call upon the courts to intervene.

Arguments Over Property

Fights might happen after someone dies if they left behind not only money but also valuable property. That might include a primary residence, vacation home, vehicles, boats, artwork, and much more.

The will might stipulate who’s supposed to get what. Once again, though, if certain relatives feel like someone coerced the deceased individual or they were not in their right mind when they made the will, they may try to contest that version in court.

Fights Over Intellectual Property

You might have two relatives who founded a company or went in on a business venture together. They might have developed a process or product, and now they’re arguing over who has the rights to it.

One person might feel like they created the product in question, and the other relative had nothing to do with it. They could go to court to try and hash out whether only one of them or both should profit from the patent’s sale.

What Can You Do if Any of This Happens?

You don’t want to have to pick sides if any of these things occur, but you’re pretty much going to have to in many cases. If you have two distant relatives who are fighting over something that doesn’t actually concern you, you can stay carefully neutral if either of them wants to talk about it.

If you have a more direct involvement, though, you are going to have to take a side, and you’ll want to side with the person who means more to you. For instance, if it’s your spouse who’s one of the principal individuals involved, you have to take their side over someone like a cousin or even a sibling.

If you’re ever in this position, choose your words very carefully. You don’t know if this is going to cause a lifelong familial rift, as sometimes happens. Family members can love one another very much, but they can also make the most bitter enemies if they disagree about something they perceive as important.

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