Questions About Family Law?
Family Law Attorneys | Crumbley-Blackwell & Associates, P.C.
The list of frequently asked questions provided below outlines the basic common questions that we have received from real people, with real family law cases in North Alabama. If you read through the content provided below and cannot find an answer to your question, send us your question, we'll provide you with an answer. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you or a loved one are dealing with issues relating to family law, contact our experienced family law attorneys today. Call (256) 539-4464 or complete an online case evaluation form to schedule your case consultation today. We handle a variety of family law related cases to include:
Before addressing issues relating to child custody and visitation rights, a parent must formally file an underlying action with the appropriate family law court. If the parents are married, a petition for divorce will be filed. If the parents are unmarried, a petition to establish paternity will be filed. Often, the terms listed in these petitions are contested by the opposing party. In a typical divorce proceeding, the courts decisions will be made with the best interest of the child in mind. This decision must protect the health, safety, and welfare of the involved child or children. A family law judge will look at many factors to determine child custody rights. Factors could include the stability of the home, the ability of the parent to provide proper care for the child, the amount of care and love displayed by the parents, and others.
Each parent has a responsibility to support their child or children. In the event that the parents decide to separate, either parent could be ordered to pay child support when the other is awarded custody of the child or children. Child support is typically paid on a monthly basis and the amount is calculated by using the Alabama Child Support Guidelines. Factors considered include parent's gross income, child care expenses, medical insurance, and other factors. If a parent that has been ordered to pay child support is unemployed, the courts often treat that parent as though they work full-time at a minimum wage for income purposes. Courts may also order that the child support payments be withheld by the parent's employer. Child support orders in Alabama are enforceable until the child reaches age 19 and will no longer allow for the inclusion of college related expenses. In the situation of a disabled child, support orders could be valid past the age of 19, and often for an "indefinite amount" of time. Failure to pay child support in accordance with the court's order can result in steep penalties, including fines and jail time.
Modifications of Child Support, Custody, and Visitation Orders
Either parent can petition the local courts to modify orders of custody, support, or visitation at any time. During these proceedings, informal agreements that were made previously between the parents will not be binding in court. Only the court can modify a court order. As an example, relying on the agreement with your former spouse that you can pay a lesser amount of child support than ordered, will likely place you in contempt of court. As you have violated the court's order regarding amount of child support owed.
Adoption is a viable option for many who cannot have children or wish to provide underprivileged children with proper love and care. There are no minimum income requirements to adopt, it is only required that you can meet the basic financial needs of the child. There are two major steps in the legal process to secure adoption, terminating parental rights of birth parents and establishing parental rights of the adoptive parents. The parental rights are established for adoptive parents by filing an adoption where the child lives. These steps are required before any adoption can be legally completed.
In local family law cases, there are very few circumstances in which a grandparent is able to obtain visitation rights of a grandchild. Typically, a grandparent's stance is inferior to those of the parents. One circumstance in which a grandparent could obtain visitation rights is if their child, the parent of said grandchild, is deceased. In these circumstances, it may be appropriate for the court to award the grandparent rights to visitation if the other parent is unwilling to do so. In family law courts, grandparents' rights cases are simply guardianship cases. A guardian is someone other than the legal parent, whom a court awards custody or visitation rights. In related cases, the court must find that the child's parents are incapable of provide proper care and establish that it is in the best interests of the child to have a guardian. Guardians are typically grandparents or other relatives. Guardianship can only exist on a temporary basis, but can also be come permanent through adoption or other measures.