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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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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

 

 

Text and Email messages as evidence in Divorce cases.

In April 2015, The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals decided Smith v. Smith, 2015 (Ala. Civ. App. April 3, 2015).  It was a case where the mother's text messages were admitted as evidence of her trying to buy prescription drugs illegally from a non-party.  Those text messages were verified by the non-party testifying that she indeed received the text messages from the mother.  The court noted that they decided whether proper authentication of emails would make them admissible in court.  Culp v. State, was the case they previously decided the issue of e-mails.  Simply the Court noted that circumstantial evidence such as emails or text messages only had to be established to be what they were claimed to be and that was sufficient.  Such circumstantial evidence could include the following:

  1. Email Addresses;
  2. cell phone number;
  3. screen names connected with the message;
  4. content of the messages;
  5. style of writing; or
  6. metadata

The Court went on to say that the evidence needs to establish only a reasonable probability that the document is what it is claimed to be.  After that is done, then the messages are admitted and it goes to the weight.  In fact, business records may show that a particular message came from a particular computer or phone and that would be reasonable enough to show that the person had access to the computer or phone to make the messages admissible.  Other forms of authentication can be by distinctive characteristics like appearance, contents, and ways that the person talks normally. 

In this case, because the receiver/sender of the messages testified to their authenticity, they were admitted.  The Court can judge a person's creditability at the time the person testifies.  If the Court did not think the testimony was truthful, they could disregard the admitted text messages since the judge gets to determine how much weight to give each item admitted into court.  More information can be found on the web http://bit.ly/1TOm2yM
http://bit.ly/1WA7LKq
 

 

How Divorce Affects Retirement Plans And Being Financially Savvy.

  Divorce and your retirement savings.

In a recent study by researchers at the University of Connecticut, Social Security Administration, and National Institute of Aging they looked at the Census Bureau and Social Security data for the 40-year period from 1968 to 2008.  They compiled over 2,000 women who divorced from 1968 to 2008.  When looking at the data, the results were surprising.  Those divorced spouses who were forced to enter into the work force were able to save more for retirement years than those who remarried. 

During marriage today couples need to save for retirement individually which is a different mindset than in previous years.  In the years pre 1970 women who stayed at home did not save for retirement and instead depended upon their husband's savings plan for their retirement.  The issue that arises is when that long term marriage ends and the woman has to seek out legal help to get a portion of her husband's retirement so that she will have some savings later in life. 

Married couples who have a plan in place for the wife or husband to stay at home with the children need to formulate a separate savings plan for retirement.  Even the stay-at-home spouse needs to be able to contribute to their own retirement account.  This new financial way of thinking has now been considered the better option.  Then when faced with divorce each party has their own retirement funds and the need to divide one spouse's account is lessened especially in cases where they have even amounts saved and there is not fault in the marriage.

This new financial planning comes on the heels of the study where it was proven that when stay-at-home spouses are forced to enter the work force following divorce, they become financially savvy with savings for retirement.  The now employed spouse has to start fresh most often times with no savings at all.  Only those couples in a long term marriage are those divorcing couples who are looking at separating a retirement account through divorce.  In Alabama a long term marriage is considered to be a marriage over 10 years.  That definition sometimes hurts those couples who live together, raise children together, act as married couples for several years and then decide to formalize their marriage.  The date of marriage then becomes the yard stick at calculating the number of years.  The disadvantage comes in when a spouse has been with their spouse prior to marriage for many years.  Those years are not counted toward that 10 year mark. If then they were not financially savvy enough to save for retirement, they are starting a new post divorce life with no retirement funds.

In the world of divorce, it is vital that you seek legal advice when it comes to the division of assets and financial accounts.  Dividing financial accounts and assets that can turn into a retirement benefit can be very litigious.  Having the right attorney can make the difference in your post divorce retirement funds.  Judge's have the power to enter Orders that divide retirement accounts and ensure no tax consequences for either party if they are rolled over into another retirement account.  Our attorneys have experience with long term marriages and the financial impacts that divorce creates on those spouses.  We have tools to assist you complete your financial picture with a real solution to your divorce issues.  Call us today (205)623-1001 to get real solutions. We have great resources on our site at http://birminghamdivorcefirm.com

 

TOP ATTORNEYS 2014 Birmingham Magazine

I am truly honored and humbled to be listed in Birmingham Magazine's Top Attorneys 2014.  Working as a family law attorney, I can relate to the issues my clients face on a daily basis.  The emotional roller coaster that one feels when going through a divorce is like no other trauma.  I have always believed being a good advocate for my clients means understanding their issues on a personal level.  Every divorce case is different just like very child support, modification or contempt case is different.  When someone makes the decision to consult my firm for legal assistance, every person who works at The Zwiebel Law Firm knows it is important to listen to the issues at hand.  We work together with our clients not just working for our clients to find real solutions that fit their unique case.

Being nominated for this category is truly an honor to me.  I have always admired every person on the list.  Being recognized for being diligent and advocating for my clients is one of my greatest feelings.  I know that choosing an attorney can be one of the most daunting tasks a person can be faced with especially when they are in true need of assistance.

I sincerely congratulate every person on the list and wish to extend my gratitude as well.


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