Family law focuses on the family which is one of the most important aspects of one’s life. We know that you need someone that is experienced and can help you in your specific situation whether you are getting married and need a prenuptial agreement, facing a divorce, have concerns about custody, child support, alimony, or adopting a child.
A divorce can be a frightening occurrence. Most people marry with the intention of it being for a life time. Unfortunately divorce is now a common occurrence. When problems arise that counseling and other measures cannot resolve, you should seek an attorney to help you through the divorce process.
There are many legal aspects of a divorce dealing with your children, assets, debts, real and personal property, responsibilities and your future.
There are several grounds or causes for divorce, but the most common is incompatibility. This includes differences of the parties which after efforts by the parties to change, appear irreconcilable.
Divorce can be non-contested or contested. A non-contested divorce occurs when the parties are able to reach an agreement setting out their duties to each other, the custody of the children and a disposition of the real and personal property. A contested divorce may occur when the parties are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement which often leads to a trial. Most couples who are able to reach an agreement and have input into the agreement, leave a divorce situation better emotionally, financially and with a better future relationship with their children and ex-spouse, than those who cannot or will not settle and opt for trial. Of course there are always exceptions and if your case calls for a trial we will try your case with experience, expertise and determination to get the best possible result.
If you have any questions or concerns about divorce, please call me and I will be glad to meet with you to discuss the same to determine what is best for your situation.
The court is most concerned as to the well-being of the child. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement as to who will have custody of the child, either joint or sole, the court will decide. The court’s decision will look to the best interest of the child, which party has basically cared for the child in the past, any conduct or fault of the parties, age and sex and maturity among other factors and to a lesser degree the child’s wishes. Once established custody is difficult to change.
If custody is awarded to one parent, visitation is established for the other parent. The courts recently have been leaning toward a more equal visitation schedule so the child spends a similar amount of time with each parent. Most counties in Alabama have similar standard visitation schedules which the courts often follow. However the parents can also agree to a reasonable visitation schedule and, with court approval, have this set out in the court’s order if the court approves.
Child support is based on both parents’ gross income. It is determined by the Child Support Guidelines adopted by the Supreme Court. This is used unless the court finds some reason to deviate from the Guidelines. The Guideline charts takes into account the gross income of the parties, any preexisting support order, health insurance premiums, work related child care and number of children. Child support is normally paid until the child reaches the age of nineteen unless the child is disabled.
Spousal Support & Alimony
When a married couple gets a divorce, the court may award “alimony” or spousal support to one of the former spouses, based either on an agreement between the couple or a decision by the court itself. The purpose of alimony is to limit any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing a continuing income to a non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning. Courts have broad discretion in determining whether to award alimony and, if so, how much and for how long. I will be glad to meet with you to discuss more in detail and review your specific situation.
Adoption of a child can be a very exciting and emotional time in your life and the process can be overwhelming. If you are considering adoption, we can help you through the overwhelming process of adoption. Please contact me to set up a consultation to discuss your specific situation.
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people who are about to marry, setting out the terms of possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division if the marriage is later dissolved. It is always advisable to consult with an attorney prior to signing a prenuptial agreement. Please consider contacting us to set a consultation to discuss your specific situation.
These are broad basic descriptions and if you have questions, I will be glad to meet with you to discuss more in detail and review your specific situation.