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Divorce and Family Law
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The most common type of divorce today is an uncontested divorce. This means that both the husband and wife agree to a divorce, and enter into a written agreement on the rights and duties as to the other issues of the divorce. Attorneys fees in an uncontested divorce are generally less than for a contested divorce.

There are several issues that must be addressed in a divorce:

Custody of minor children
Child Visitation
Determination of child support
Division of assets
Division of debts
Determination of grounds for the divorce

In a contested divorce, there is disagreement on one or more of the issues. In this case, unless an agreemet is reached before trial, a judge will decide all the pertinent issues based on evidence presented at trial.

Child Custody

Custody of minor children is based on the discretion of the court and is based on the following:

Best interest and welfare of the children
Fault of the parties
Character and conduct of each of the parties
Age and sex of the children
Past care and custody of the children
Economic conditions of the parents
Preference of the children
Agreement of the parents

The court favors placing a child with a natural parent, but will award custody to other parties, such as grandparents, if it is in the best interest of the children.

There are several types of custody that the court may consider:

Sole Custody

Sole Custody is an arrangement whereby only one parent has physical and legal custody of a child. However, the other parent may have visitation rights.

Joint Custody

Joint custody in a divorce case has two components: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. Joint legal custody means that both parents share in the responsibility of making major decisions affecting the child's life. This can include a number of decisions including those regarding school, health care, religious participation, extra curricular activities, discipline, and other things.

Joint physical custody means the amount of time spent with each parent. Joint physical custody involves where the child spends his/her weekdays and weekends, who will be responsible for the child during holidays, and how much time will be allocated to each parent.

Joint Legal and Physically Shared Custody

Joint legal and physically shared custody shares the same joint legal decision making process as in Joint Custody, but physical custody is divided approximately equal between the parents. When joint physical custody is divided equally between two parents, it helps when the parents live in close proximity as this is often easier on the child''s social and emotional development.

Split Custody

Split Custody is a custody arrangement where there are multiple children which awards sole custody of one child to one parent and sole custody of another child to the other parent.

Each of the types of custody has components that must be considered and should be discussed with an attorney.

Child Visitation

The parent who does not have the children living with him or her (the non-custodial parent) has the right to visit his / her children. Visitation rights can be set by a Judge, or can be by agreement. The agreement can be for reasonable times and at reasonable places, or it can set specific times and places.

Child Support

Child Support is calculated using the Child Support Guidelines adopted by the Alabama Supreme Court, unless the court finds adequate grounds for a deviation from the Child Support Guidelines. Child support is computed by combining the gross income from both parents, determining from the Guidelines the applicable amount of child support for the number of children of the marriage based on the combined income, adjusting the amount for work-related child care expenses and health insurance premiums, and then assigning a portion of that support amount to the non-custodial parent based on his / her share of the combined gross income.


Adoption is the legal procedure through which a minor (18 years or younger) is recognized by law as becoming the son or daughter of the adopting adult(s), and as having all of the rights and duties of such relationship, including the right of inheritance. There are several different types of adoptions, which include related, unrelated, agency-placed, or private-placement. Through adoption, the adoptive parent(s) have the same rights, duties and responsibilities of a natural parent. In all cases, the adoptive parent needs to contact an attorney to file the Petition for Adoption in the county where the minor resides, or where the agency is located.

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