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Birmingham Divorce Firm

Divorce, child custody, child support, alimony support, visitation issues, and adoption are what we do! Put our professional staff to work for you today. Call (205) 623-1001.

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How Do I Minimize Costs in My Divorce?

As an Alabamadocument-428334_640 family law attorney, I understand that money can be an issue for couples facing divorce. As the individuals prepare to go their separate ways, they may be even more cognizant of the need to save money. Divorce need not break the bank, but you also should ensure that you have adequate representation to protect your rights.

In general, an uncontested divorce is less expensive than a contested divorce. To be eligible for an uncontested divorce in Alabama:

 

  • You must have been an Alabama resident for at least 6 months if your spouse lives out of state.
  • You and your spouse must come to an agreement regarding the division of property and debt, custody of any children, and child or spousal support.
  • You and your spouse are NOT required to separate in order to file divorce. You may continue to reside together if you choose..

Sometimes, couples can work together and come to an agreement that is fair to both parties. In fact, it can be as simple as jotting details down on notebook paper. Once both parties are satisfied, either party can have an attorney draft the divorce documents.

In general, the attorney that composes the documents only represents the party that hired them. For example, if the husband hires an attorney to draft the uncontested divorce documents, that attorney represents the husband. In such a case, the wife could potentially proceed without representation. This, however, is incredibly risky. Even if both parties reach an agreement, each party should retain their own representation in the divorce. This ensures that the rights of each party are protected and that both individuals truly comprehend the agreement prior to proceeding.

I’ve seen that I can buy a divorce kit off the internet and do it myself for less money. Can’t I just do this?

Divorce involves nearly every aspect of your life. All of your property and debt will be at stake, as well as your children and their future. Even if you and your spouse can agree to everything, there are still things like court filings and deadlines that must be met in a timely manner. Remember, an Alabama family law attorney can represent you and make certain that your rights are protected.

My spouse and I cannot agree on everything- does this mean our divorce will be costly?

Sometimes, despite the best interests of both parties, you simply cannot find common ground with your spouse. Perhaps you can agree on most aspects of the divorce, but an issue or two have left you frustrated. Or, maybe you both genuinely want to work together but simply cannot seem to make ground. In these cases, one cost-effective solution is mediation. Mediators are trained, third-party providers who perform in a neutral capacity to help both partners come to a satisfactory arrangement.

Divorce need not be costly! To discuss your case with an experienced Alabama family law attorney, contact us online or by phone at (205) 623-1001.

 

 

Can a Father Get Custody in Alabama?

road-995343_640Historically, Alabama courts have strongly favored awarding custody of children to the mother. More recently, however, family situations have changed and evolved, and many men have taken on the role of primary caretaker.

Now, family law judges try to promote joint custody plans, with the children spending roughly the same amount of time with each parent. The Alabama Joint Custody Statute indicates the intention of the state to support the rights of both parents to ongoing contact and childrearing. Further, numerous studies have shown that children do best when both parents play an active role in childrearing. In some cases, however, it may be more appropriate to award sole custody to either the mother or the father. A family law attorney can help you understand your rights as a parent, and guide you through this challenging process.

Considerations

The court attempts to award joint custody whenever appropriate, but considers a number of factors, including:

  1. Whether or not the parents can reach an agreement regarding custody arrangements.
  2. If the parents are able to discuss the interests of the child amicably.
  3. The ability of the parents to support and nurture the child’s relationship with the other parent.
  4. Any abuse directed toward the child or other parent, either in the past or the potential for future abuse.
  5. If traveling from one household to another regularly is a practical option.

In determining custody, the judge also considers the safety of the child; the age and gender of the child; the ability and desire of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, social, moral, and educational needs; the age, health, and character of each parent; the willingness of each parent to adhere to agreements with regards to parenting; the child’s preference and relationship with each parent; the environment of the homes; any expert testimony; and the effects of the custody arrangement on the child. Your family law attorney can help you present yourself and your situation positively before the judge.

How can I present myself in a positive light?

  • Provide Stability – Judges love to see a stable environment. It is important to have a stable job and provide a regular, healthy routine for the child. That means providing regular, nutritious meals, getting the child to school on time, providing a set bedtime, maintaining regular dental and medical check-ups, and encouraging extra-curricular activities.
  • Bonding Activities – Instead of hiring a babysitter, arrange to spend the time you have with your child in a positive manner. Go to the zoo or a museum, read books together, go to the park, or join a baseball team.
  • Remain Calm – Custody disputes can be emotionally taxing, and you may hold anger or resentment towards the mother of your child. It is important, however, to maintain a calm, cool demeanor. You want to project that you truly want to promote positive and happiness in the environment.
  • Encourage Family Stability – Children thrive when they have relationships with both parents. Even if you believe the mother should not have custody, support your child’s relationship with her. Do not ever speak negatively about the other parent in front of your child.

Remember, the court wants the same thing you do – for your child to thrive in a healthy, happy environment. If you are struggling to gain custody of your child, contact us online or at (205) 623-1001.

New Year – New Status. Divorce Advice for 2016.

Whether you have been in a troubled marriage or currently separated, 2016 can be the year you get to change your status.  With the upcoming elections, changes are in the air.  Individuals normally do not like change and it is difficult to embrace changes in your marital status.  However with the feel of change in the air, it could be a good time to take that first step forward to changing your personal status. Change has been happening all around us and we comtemplate more changes to come.  

In the previous year, The Supreme Court of the United States made it clear that all states have to recognize same-sex marriages giving civil rights and liberties to every individual. I have personally seen individuals who, for the first time, have had their marriages recognized in the state of Alabama.  It's been an exciting past year.  I have had clients that were in the need of a same-sex divorce and with the Supreme Court ruling were able to get that relief without leaving their home state of Alabama.  

With the changes in healthcare laws, I've had clients who were able to secure their own health care coverage which assisted them in finalizing their divorces.  Some individuals were separated from their spouses with pre-existing conditions that inhibited them from finalizing their divorce.  Once divorced they knew that their coverage would end and getting new coverage may exclude their conditions.  Now with changes in health care, they are free to enroll personally without the denial of their pre-existing conditions.  It has enabled them to be self-sufficient. 

Now with 2016 on the rise, individuals have contacted our firm that are in need of legal asistance to start a new year with new goals.  Divorce can be very challenging but with the right legal team, you can get solutions that are best for you.  In some ways it is easier to make personal changes while your environment is also changing.  2016 can be the year you reach your personal goals.  Let us assist you in any of your family law issues.  We have a dedicated team of attorneys and professionals waiting to help you. 

Call us at (205) 623-1001.

We have information on our website that may answer your questions.  Our blog covers a wide variety of legal topics. See http://bit.ly/1TOm2yM
http://bit.ly/1WA7LKq

FAMILY COMES IN ALL SIZES – ADOPTION FOR ALL

Family-lgbt-compressedSAME-SEX COUPLES ABILITY TO ADOPT. 

Mississippi is the only state left to ban same-sex couples to adopt.  With the ever changing landscape of what family looks like there has been a case to challenge's Mississippi's ban on adoption for same-sex couples.  It is very difficult for me to believe that there would still be a ban in existence for ANY child to be adopted and brought into a loving home regardless of how that home is made up.  The U.S.. Supreme Court ruled over two months ago that same-sex couples were allowed to marry in ANY state.  The inequality challenge to Mississippi's ban will most likely prevail and do away with this prejudicial law.  Interestingly enough Mississippi has the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children within its borders.  New York has been allowing same-sex couples to adopt since 1996. 

In Alabama, Probate Court is the proper place to file an adoption petition.  As of late, there have been several probate judges "called out" in the media for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  These judges have been sworn to uphold the law but even still, the environment in a few select counties is not as friendly as it should be. 

As an attorney who practices family law and sees children in foster care neglected and in need of love, I feel that every child that is wanted by anyone who will provide that love and affection should be able to adopt.  Children must come first and the biases of the prospective adoptive parents needs to be put aside.  There are safeguards in place to ensure that children are being adopted for the right reasons.  These couples seeking children have a real desire to provide a loving home that will nurture the child into adulthood.  They are willing to place their lives on a different track and add new members to their family in a positive way.  No matter what the makeup of their family is, if they are willing to jump through every hoop to adopt a child in need of care, laws like the Mississippi ban are due to be struck down.

At my firm I routinely file adoption cases and those are the most rewarding cases I do in my line of work.  Adoption is a very structured case based on statutory laws that are completely based on the best interest of the child.  Winning an adoption case whether it be for brand new parents or for step parent adoptions is a very satisfying experience for a family law lawyer.  Currently there are tax credits that are awarded in the same year as the adoption is finalized.  These will help you recoup the legal costs of an adoption.  Call us today for help in adding new additions to your family through adoption.  We are always here to answer your questions (205) 623-1001.  Our website www.birminghamdivorcefirm.com can offer more information as well.

 

CHILD CUSTODY AND GRANDPARENTS

Although grandparents do not have rights to enforce visitation with their grandchildren.  There are a few limited ways that a grandparent may help save a grandchild who is being abused, neglected or forced to live in unsafe conditions.  In Birmingham, Alabama there is a family court that will assist a willing grandparent make sure their grandchild is not being subjected to abuse, neglect or unsafe conditions.  A grandparent may file a juvenile dependency action and gain custody of their grandchild if these conditions exist.  Dependency actions are simply a case that is filed that says that the parents are unable or unwilling to provide the care sufficient to make sure their child is not abused or neglected in some way.  This week my firm was able to gain custody of grandchildren for two sets of grandparents.  These cases are those that are difficult with emotion but are satisfying when a child is saved from an unsafe condition by a loving grandparent.  The family court of Jefferson County will jump into action if a grandparent presents a case of emergency relief where they can show their grandchild is in an unsafe environment.  Most important to understand is that a family law attorney who regularly deals with these court can make the case move at a quicker pace.  Literally this week grandparents came in with stories of their grandchild in an unsafe drug infested environment and within an hour we had them a pick up order to get their grandchild into their care.  Family Court can be confusing and it may be difficult to understand the procedures that is why it is vital that whoever a client hires for this work is well versed in the procedures of family court.  Having a good relationship with the court is often times only achieved by those attorneys who regularly work in this area.  Dependency petitions often take a while to get pushed through the courthouse but with the help of one of our attorneys, a client may breeze through at a much faster pace.  Also, the filing of a private petition meaning a filing a grandparent does with an attorney can be a much faster process than dealing with DHR.  If you are experiencing issues with the care of your grandchildren and act quickly before DHR becomes involved, you could file your own petition and get custody of your grandchild quickly.  This eases the child into a transition quickly instead of dealing with DHR several court hearings.  This is the most common way that grandparents can establish rights to have custody of their grandchildren.  There are other ways such as a family adoption which can be costly but also very effective.  If you need help getting your grandchild into a safe environment, do not hesitate to contact one of our experienced attorneys at (205) 623-1001 and look at our other information on our website www.birminghamdivorcefirm.com.

More information can be found at http://bit.ly/1TOm2yM

 

 


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