Monthly Archives: February 2013

Many Contemplating Divorce Ask About Child Support

What does it mean? What does it cover, and how much is it going to be.

Child support is an amount of money paid by each parent for the maintenance and care of their minor child or children until they reach the age of majority, which in Alabama is 19.

Child support is determined to cover the needs of a minor child such as food, clothing, shelter, etc.  A part of the calculations will also include costs of child care and medical insurance

In Alabama at least the amount of child support paid is calculated by a set of guidelines that take into account the parties gross monthly income.  There is really no good way to estimate what a support amount will be.  The numbers just have to be put to paper and the amount calculated out.  Basically though, it will nearly always be about one third of the non-custodial … Read the rest

Do both parties in a divorce proceeding need an attorney?

The answer is yes if it is going to be a contested divorce and no it’s not necessary, if it is going to be an uncontested divorce.

However, even in an uncontested divorce the attorney may only represent one of the parties not both.  Generally an uncontested divorce consists of the parties sitting down and deciding between them how they wish to arrange custody of the children if any and how to divide the marital assets and debts.  That list is brought to the attorney of one of the parties who takes the information and creates a settlement agreement to be signed by both parties along with all the other required documents.

One of the required documents is a waiver of a non-represented party.  This waiver is signed by the unrepresented party and it explains his or her right to have an attorney and that the initial attorney only represents … Read the rest

Alabama Parent Child Relationship Protection Act

In any domestic relations case whether it is divorce or a later change of custody application of the Alabama Parent Child Relationship Protection Act is required.

The Act serves as a method of protection for the non-custodial parent.  It requires notice by certified mail from the custodial parent to the non-custodial parent 30 days in advance of any relocation of residence.  The notice must detail out among other things the new address, phone number, new school, and proposed date of relocation.

The non-custodial parent is on notice of the intended move upon receipt of the certified mail.  He may choose not to object to the move or he may use the notice as cause to file for a change of custody to prevent said move because it would have an adverse impact upon his and his children’s relationship.  While the Court cannot prevent the custodial parent from moving at … Read the rest

Same Sex Divorce in Alabama

Recently the topic of same sex divorce has been brought up.  On several occasions I have had opportunities to speak with people inquiring about obtaining a same sex divorce.

Currently in the State of Alabama there is no provision for a same sex marriage.  Therefore there is no way to obtain a same sex divorce under the current domestic relations laws pertaining to marriage and divorce.

It presents an interesting question when you have a couple of the same sex who have lived together in what would be a common law marriage except for the fact that they are of the same sex.  After years of being together and living as a couple the parties separate and the question becomes who gets what and who is responsible for this debt or that debt.

Same sex couples over time accumulate the same items and property as married couples.  They … Read the rest

Children Protected in Divorce and Custody Cases

Children are always to be protected as much as possible in a divorce or child custody case.  It rarely serves either client well if the minor children are brought into court to testify against a parent.

There are of course exceptions but as a general rule it is not advised.  Younger children do not make good witnesses as they want to please both parents and may not understand what is going on and obviously court can be intimidating and terrifying for a child.

Most Judges do not like the idea of children being drawn into a divorce hearing.  Children are harmless in a divorce and not at fault.  However some instances a minor child’s testimony as to his or her personal desires are allowed.  There is no magic age number in Alabama that allows a minor child to choose which parent they would rather live with.  Their choice … Read the rest

Be Financially Prepared When Considering Divorce

When considering divorce it is important to be as financially prepared as possible.  Many times people realize to late just how draining a divorce can be to personal finances.  Most divorces do not go smoothly and costs can climb at a rapid rate.

Some areas where cost can escalate are obtaining records, depositions, numerous court hearings on pre-trial motions.  Those are just some associated with your attorney’s representation and preparation of your case.  Other areas can be much worse and affect you individually.  Items such as continued payments of insurance, mortgages, car payments, and utilities some times for numerous homes can be draining.  Not to mention that there could be temporary orders for alimony or child support.

If considering divorce it is always a good idea to first make a financial plan that considers some or all of these factors and any other that may apply.… Read the rest

What To Do If You Are Not Receiving Child Support

“I’m not getting my child support and it’s been 3 months…”  This is the type of statement many attorneys hear often.  If you find yourself in this type situation then you are left few choices:

The first is to not do anything.  This is not recommended because it will not benefit you or the minor children in any way.

Secondly, you can pursue a civil contempt charge against the person who is supposed to be paying you child support.  In a civil contempt hearing if the person is found guilty, i.e. in contempt of court for not following the court’s orders and paying in a timely manner the Judge may impose jail time and or add an amount to the monthly amount to cover the arrearage.

Third you may choose to have the person arrested and charged with criminal non-support.  In this case the non-paying party may be found … Read the rest

FELONY MURDER: No Need to be the Triggerman

On Sunday, Jan. 13, three Montgomery teenagers entered a residence armed with handguns in an attempt to commit a robbery. Failing to anticipate an armed homeowner, they were met with gunfire. Two of the boys escaped unharmed, but their third accomplice was not so lucky. Shot by the homeowner in self-defense, 20 year old Deandre Robertson sustained a gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. Of course the homeowner will not be charged, as he shot Robertson in self-defense. Enter the felony murder doctrine. Robertson’s two accomplices, who escaped, 17 year old Orlando Bowen and 19 year old Keyon Butler, will both be charged with felony murder as well as 1st degree robbery.

One might ask, how is it that they can be charged with the murder of their accomplice when it was the homeowner who committed the act of killing Robertson? The felony murder doctrine, as … Read the rest

Meth-Slinging Motorcycle Gang Nailed On Federal Gun and Drug Charges

AMC’s hit drama Sons of Anarchy has a very real counterpart in the stark reality of the Georgia-based Outlaw Motorcycle Club. On August 16, 2012, agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided the Outlaw clubhouse in Gainesville, Georgia, as well as the affiliated Hoodlums Motorcycle Club Headquarters in Buford, Georgia, charging 23 defendants with an array of federal weapons and drug violations. The arrests resulted from an extensive undercover operation conducted by the FBI in coordination with the North Georgia Major Offenders Task Force.

Members of the Harley-riding gang were charged with offenses ranging from methamphetamine and cocaine conspiracy and possession to using and carrying firearms during the commission of drug trafficking offenses. Charges also included possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon, possession of a firearm with obliterated serial number. Two people affiliated with the club unwittingly sold a … Read the rest