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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

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


How assets are divided.


This article is the best ever.

Divorce and Mental Health Issues.

There are couples who have a spouse with mental health issues. If your spouse has a mental health issue and ignores medical advice, it may be best to have a no contact order with the children until steps can be taken to make them safe and secure. It is important to weigh the benefits of having a no contact order against the resulting backlash of the parent with no contact. If your children or you are truly in danger due to prescription drug misuse or abuse and mental health issues, there are remedies that can be provided for your protection. With that said, all clients must realize the the law provides a remedy but the proactive nature of the law can only enforced by an Order and law enforcement agencies. Just because you have received a no contact order does not mean that it will prevent the other parent from attempting to harass or harm you. It means you have the power to enforce the Order of the court with the appropriate officials. While married there is no preference for either parent for custody. So a temporary order giving one parent custody over the other is required to enforce decisions to be made over the children. This protection is provided by the court. One major piece of advice is to consult an attorney who regularly practices in divorce and the county in which you seek to get a no contact order. This will ensure that you are able to get a result in a timely fashion. Following the advice of a family law or divorce attorney who routinely practices in your county, will be the best course of action in any divorce case. However, in an emergency situation it can save lives.  Emergency orders are only temporary and a court will set them for a full hearing upon any motion of any party.  They are intended to only give "temporary" protection and last until a judge can hear from both sides.  It is vital to know the nature and extent of the protection they can provide.  Every person has a constitutional right to have their day in court and a 6th Amendment right to confront their accuser.  So the extent of a temporary order received during an emergency is subject to being fully litigated at any request of any party.  With that said, emergency orders are necessary and can provide protection until more can be understood about the situation.  If you are in need of an emergency order, please do not hesitate to call us (205) 623-1001.  We are always here for those parents who find themselves in an emergency situation.

Alabama Divorce Jurisdiction

Alabama is like most states in that if both parties are bona fide residents of the State of Alabama; then Alabama has jurisdiction to divorce them.  Alabama also has jurisdiction to dispose of all their property where ever it might be and grant a full range of remedies.

To be a bona fide resident of Alabama one must show that this is the place they intend to live and return to each time they travel.  A factual determination must be made to decide if a party is a bona fide resident.  It hinges on the concept of domicile.  A person may be a bona fide resident after just one day in Alabama as long as they have the intent to remain in Alabama.  It is sort of a state of mind.  When deciding whether a person is a bona fide reside your lawyer may look at several factors but none of them are a deciding factor alone.  Some factors to consider are:  1) where are the bank accounts; 2) where do they receive mail; 3) where do they store their stuff; and 4) where do they have a driver’s licence from.  These factors are helpful but neither one can decide the ultimate decision alone. 

For divorce purposes, at least one party must be a bona fide resident for not less than 6 months for Alabama to take jurisdiction over the marriage and grant a divorce.  In the state of Alabama if one party files for a divorce and is a bona fide resident, a divorce will be granted.

After deciding that Alabama has jurisdiction over a marriage, then venue must be decided.  Venue is what county the divorce will be filed in and carried out in.  Venue is proper in either: 1) the county where the defendant resides (and when in doubt, file it there); 2) in the county where the couple last resided as husband and wife.  This is important in that venue can be agreed to by both parties and filed anywhere the parties want to submit to jurisdiction if done by agreement.  If it is a contested divorce, the proper filing venue would only be either where the defendant resides or where the parties last resided as husband and wife.  If the filing party has moved out of the county and never lived in their current county as husband and wife, the current county whre they reside would not be proper venue. Only the county were the defendant resides or where they last lived as husband and wife would be proper.

Obtaining jurisdiction over the parties and marriage is the first step in any divorce process.  It is generally an easy step since it revolves around only two questions.  However, if it cannot be easily resolved the case may be transferred to the proper jurisdiction or dismissed and refiled.  Call our attorneys today if you have questions about where to file your divorce action.  (205) 623-1001

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