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Family Law and Divorce
A divorce or family law matter is a highly personal and emotional experience. Whether you are just contemplating a divorce or other family law issue and want to know your options, or are ready to begin the process of divorce, custody, visitation or child support, contact the Semmes Law Firm for a consultation with an experienced Alabama attorney.
Issues involving family law can be extremely difficult. We are here to help, however. And while we may not be able to alleviate the emotional strain of it, we can ensure that you understand the legal process and have an advocate for your rights throughout every step of the way.
In Alabama, there are basically two types of divorce, uncontested and contested. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must agree on getting a divorce and the terms of the divorce. It is a simpler and quicker process than a contested divorce, which is more like a typical disputed lawsuit. Generally, if any terms of the divorce are not agreed upon, a contested divorce will need to be filed.
In filing for divorce, a reason for the breakdown of the marital relationship must be given. The Alabama statutes provide twelve different grounds for divorce. Two of the grounds, incompatibility and irretrievable breakdown, are considered no-fault and may be supported by an affidavit. The others, including adultery, are considered fault-based, and the fault must be proven in court.
The statutory grounds for divorce in Alabama are:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- Habitual drunkenness or drug abuse
- Incapacity from entering into marriage
- Voluntary abandonment from bed and board
- Crime against nature
- Pregnancy at the time of marriage
- Living separate and apart for two years and without support
Whether you are facing a contested or uncontested divorce based on fault or not, it is beneficial to have an experienced Alabama family law attorney on your side who understands the system and will represent your interests aggressively.
In Alabama, like many states, the best interests of the child is the key inquiry in determining the division of time spent with each parent following divorce. In most cases, both parents want what is best for the child but may disagree on the custody arrangement.
The courts in Alabama consider and weigh twelve factors in determining what type of custody arrangement is in the child’s best interests. These factors include the child’s gender and age, the home environment of each parent, and each parent’s interest and ability in providing for all of the child’s “social, moral, material, and educational” needs. No one factor is controlling, and it is not simply a matter of adding up which parent has the most factors in their favor. Rather, the factors simply provide guidance and a framework for ensuring that all important aspects of a child’s best interests are considered.
Spousal and Child Support
Closely related to the issues of divorce and custody are spousal and child support. Alabama uses guidelines for determining whether to grant child support and in what amount. These guidelines are basically formulas that calculate the amount of child support based on how much each spouse earns and how much time is awarded to each parent. Judges can deviate from these guidelines, but will do so only if there are special circumstances.
In contrast, judges deciding on spousal support have a great deal of discretion and well-crafted legal arguments made by an attorney can have more of an impact, whether you are seeking support or seeking to minimize the support payments that you must pay. A variety of factors will be considered in determining whether to grant support and in what amount. The factors range from the length of the marriage to fault, all directed at determining need of one spouse and the other spouse’s ability to pay.
If your financial or custody situation has changed, modification of spousal and/or child support may be appropriate.
Other Family Law Issues
The above are just a few of the most common Alabama family law issues that our clients face. It is not an exhaustive list of our area of experience, however, and understand that we can help with most family law legal issues and welcome the opportunity to talk to you about yours.
Consider Our Payment Options and Contact Us Today
Unfortunately, because family law issues often involve division of assets, it can be a financial strain and the thought of legal costs can be stressful. To help minimize this stress, we accept credit cards as a form of payment for all services.
Don’t face your family law issues without a zealous advocate on your side. Instead, reach out to the Semmes Law Firm today to learn how we can help you.
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Divorce and Family Law Frequently Asked Questions
- Help! I’ve been served with divorce papers what do I do?
- Types of divorce: Uncontested or Contested
- Custody, Visitation and Child Support
- Division of Assets, Debts and Retirement Accounts
- Tax Implications of a Divorce
- Divorce and Alimony in Alabama
- Modifying Child Custody Child Support or Visitation
- How much does a divorce or modification cost?
- Collecting Child Support Payments
- How does filing a bankruptcy affect my divorce debts?