Couples do not get married thinking their marriage is going to end up in a divorce. However, the divorce rate in Alabama is much higher than compared to the other states in the United States. When your family and your assets are threatened because of a divorce, it is critical to be prepared and to protect your interests with a highly competent divorce lawyer on your side.
Attorney Richard Perry, is a tough negotiator and does not mind “rolling up his sleeves” and taking your divorce case all the way to trial, if necessary. No stranger to the courtroom, Divorce Attorney Richard Perry has the experience your divorce needs. He has represented a countless number of divorce clients in Shelby County, Jefferson County, St. Clair County, Tuscaloosa County, Chilton County, Madison County, and throughout the remainder of the State of Alabama.
Attorney Richard Perry has experience in high asset divorces involving complex financial and property matters, international divorce, family law matters, and litigation.
While divorce is one of the most emotionally trying experiences in an individual’s life, that’s not to say that the divorce process cannot be amicable. An uncontested divorce offers a couple an opportunity to settle all of their matters in a timely, and often times, inexpensive manner.
Regardless if the marriage has been short term or long term, regardless if there is a large number of assets and finances that have been acquired by both parties, and regardless if there are children involved, if the couple is able to reach an agreement on each aspect of the marriage, an uncontested divorce is the proper avenue.
In an uncontested divorce, the process requires that both parties have agreed on each aspect such as:
– Child Custody
– Child Support
– Property and Asset Division
– Spousal Support
Even though an uncontested divorce is normally less time consuming, there are a large number of forms involved. Of course, the Court expects these forms to be completed accurately and the Court requires that they be filed correctly. More often than not, some individuals believe they can “do it themselves,” which normally end up in a bad situation. This is because there may be a missing form, or, a form is completed incorrectly. The court clerk is not allowed to give advice. This leads to the divorce being dismissed and filing fees that have been paid being forfeited.
If you are considering an uncontested divorce, give Attorney Richard Perry a call today to set up a hassle free consultation. He has represented hundreds of clients in uncontested divorces and he has the knowledge and experience to represent your case.
When a couple decides to file for a divorce but cannot agree to the terms of the divorce, this is considered a contested divorce. Typically, a contested divorce includes a high level of conflict between the parties. Often times, a couple cannot agree on key factors such as child custody, child visitation, property divisions, as well as many other aspects.
In the State of Alabama, a couple can choose to pursue a divorce on fault or no fault. Grounds for fault include incapacity, adultery, abandonment, imprisonment, crime against nature, habitual drunkenness/drug addiction, incompatibility of temperament, mental incapacity/insanity, irretrievable breakdown, pregnancy, violence/cruelty, and non-support/separation.
Contested Divorce In The Court
In many situations, the issues the couple cannot agree on can be resolved out of court, either through attorney negotiation or divorce mediation. Both of these options can be beneficial to both parties since taking a case to trial can increase the length and cost of the divorce process. In the event both parties are not able to reach an agreement, you need to be fully prepared for litigation as you only have a small window of time to present your case to the judge.
The initial step in a divorce is filing the Complaint by the Plaintiff which is then served on the Defendant. In several situations, one party may choose to pursue temporary custody and child support pending a final hearing of the case. Often times, a spouse may choose to ask for spousal support. Each of these situations require the experience of an attorney to either pursue or, alternatively, to challenge.
Attorney Richard Perry has the experience you need in an attorney to effectively and adequately represent your case before the Court. He understands the negotiation process that occurs between the attorneys. He is able to guide you and your case through the mediation process to ensure you make the right choice in either settling your case or taking your case to trial.
At The Perry Law Firm, LLC, we know that divorce cases can be challenging and often times one of the most difficult times of a person’s life. Attorney Richard Perry keeps in touch with each of his clients throughout each stage of the divorce to keep them up-to-date and to answer their questions. He realizes that each divorce is different and that each client’s needs are different. He does not believe in using a “one size fits all” as he believes each case is unique.
ALIMONY / SPOUSAL SUPPORT
When a couple divorces, alimony (sometimes referred to as spousal support) often times becomes an issue that must be decided. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut formula in determining how much alimony will be paid. Most importantly, there is no guarantee that alimony will be awarded. An award of alimony rests largely within the discretion of the trial judge.
The Courts Consider Different Factors When Deciding The Amount of Alimony Such As:
– The Standard Of Living During The Marriage
– The Length Of The Marriage
– The Income Of The Parties
– The Ability To Pay
– The Health Of The Parties
– The Age Of Each Party
– The Conduct Of Parties With Regards To Cause of Divorce
In Alabama, there are two forms of alimony – “alimony in gross,” and “periodic alimony.” Periodic alimony is generally awarded in those divorces which follow a lengthy marriage. This, of course, does not mean that periodic alimony will not be awarded in shorter marriages with consideration to the other factors. Likewise, just because a marriage has lasted over 20 years does not automatically require the award of periodic alimony.
Alimony in gross may be awarded in a short term marriage. An example of alimony in gross is rehabilitative alimony. The purpose of rehabilitative alimony is to provide support for a specific period of time. This is to allow the recipient to re-enter the work force, update licenses or degrees, or to obtain employment.
It is equally important to keep in mind that as times change, the income of the parties and the situation may also change. If after an award of alimony an adjustment needs to be made to the terms of the award, a modification of alimony may be sought. The factors of each individual case must be taken into consideration and presented to the Court.
Attorney Richard Perry knows that each spousal situation and divorce case deserves individual attention by competent legal counsel. Attorney Richard Perry has the experience to negotiate settlement terms. If this matter cannot be settled, he will not hesitate to take your case before the Court.
An annulment is different from a divorce. An annulment seeks to terminate a marriage in Alabama that was never considered to be valid under Alabama law. Annulments are typically faster than divorces and often less complex than a divorce. However, you still need to seek legal advice from a competent and knowledgeable attorney to determine if you are eligible for an annulment.
Void or voidable marriages are subject to an annulment. An example of a void marriage is that Becky and John were intoxicated at the time they married. This is because in order to get married, both parties must have the mental capacity required to enter into a valid marriage contract. There are several other grounds upon which a party may have their marriage annulled.
Attorney Richard Perry has the experience you need in an attorney when you are seeking an annulment. He has represented clients throughout the State of Alabama and is ready to put his knowledge and experience to work for you.
ALABAMA LEGAL SEPARATION
Alabama allows married couples the option to file for a legal separation as an alternative to the more permanence of a divorce. A legal separation is similar to a divorce but they are quite different. Oftentimes, a legal separation will offer a “cooling off period” for couples to decide if they want to remain married while they live separate and apart and continue to work on their problems. A second reason is because unlike in a divorce where a spouse cannot remain on the other spouse’s medical insurance, a legal separation will allow one spouse to remain on the other spouse’s medical insurance.
Alabama legal separation requires the same papers to be filed with the Court as those that are filed in a divorce. Therefore, in the event the couple decides to get a divorce at some point after the legal separation, the procedure may not be as complex. In an Alabama Legal Separation, child custody, child support and visitation can be resolved, property can be divided, and debts can be allocated to the parties. Once the agreement has been signed by the party and the Court enters an Order, you will no longer be responsible for your spouse’s future debt.
Attorney Richard Perry has represented hundreds of clients throughout the State of Alabama. He has the experience you need to represent you in an Alabama Legal Separation. Give us a call to arrange a hassle free consultation to discuss your legal rights and options in a legal separation.
Adoptions in Alabama are a fairly common process that proceeds through the County Probate Court. However, with that in mind, adoptions are a very complex process that requires the procedures involved be followed to the letter of the law. In Alabama, an adoption can either be consent or non-consent. Once the adoption is finalized, the natural parents lose their natural rights to the child and the adopting family gain those same legal rights, just as if they were blood-related parents.
Adopting a child is one of the most important and emotional decisions that an individual or family can make. When adopting a child, it is extremely important that you understand the legal consequences that follow your decision and how the adoption process works. There are several qualifications that must be met when adopting a child. There will generally be home inspections by the Department of Human Resources (DHR) to ensure the home is fit for the child.
WHO CAN ADOPT A CHILD?
The terms of adoption are outlined in Code of Alabama (1975) § § 26-10A-1 through 26-10A-38. An adoption can be sought by a step-parent, grandparent, brother, sister, or other family member. Additionally, adoptions can be sought by people who are not blood relatives of the child. A married couple may look to adopt a child, or, in other instances, a single person may be interested in adopting a child.
When adopting a child, it is extremely important to hire an experienced attorney to navigate your case through the adoption process. At The Perry Law Firm, LLC, we ensure that the adoption is done properly and that there are no loose ends left untied. We are committed to serving our clients during every phase and in every aspect of the adoption process.
ALABAMA CHILD CUSTODY / VISITATION
When a couple makes the decision to divorce, they do so knowing there will be many tough decisions to make. If the couple has a child, they face even more difficult decisions. Child custody is an award by the Court to either the mother or the father, or in some cases, both parents.
TYPES OF CUSTODY
Sole Legal Custody
One parent has sole rights and responsibilities to make major decisions concerning the child, including, but not limited to, the education of the child, health care and religious training
Sole Physical Custody
One parent has sole physical custody and the other parent has the rights of visitation except as otherwise provided by the Court.
Both parents have joint legal custody and joint physical custody.
Joint Legal Custody
Both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child, including, but not limited to, the education of the child, health care and religious training. The Court may designate one parent to have sole power to make certain decisions while both parents retain equal rights and responsibilities for other decisions.
Joint Physical Custody
Physical custody is shared by the parents in a way that assures the child frequent and substantial contact with each parent. Joint physical custody does not necessarily mean physical custody of equal duration of time.
Factors In Determining Child Custody
– The Agreement Or Lack Of Agreement Of The Parents On Joint Custody
– The past And Present Ability Of The Parents To Cooperate With Each Other And Make Decisions Jointly
– The Ability Of The Parents To Encourage The Sharing Of Love, Affection, And Contact Between The Child And The Other Parent
– Any History Of Or Potential For Child Abuse Spouse Abuse, Or Kidnapping
– The Geographic Proximity Of The parents To Each Other As This Relates To The Practical Considerations Of Joint Physical Custody
It is the policy of the State of Alabama to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after their parents have separated or divorced. Joint custody does not necessarily mean equal physical custody.
In Alabama, if both parents request joint custody, the presumption is that joint custody is in the best interest of the child. Joint custody shall be granted in the final order of the Court unless the Court makes specific findings as to why joint custody is not granted.
As children grow older, they become increasingly involved in activities such as school related events, sports, band, and other extracurricular activities. Of course, a parent cannot intentionally schedule activities so that they disrupt visitation of the non-custodial parent.
However, it may become necessary after a divorce to modify visitation periods so that both parents are able to remain active in their child’s life.
Hiring an Alabama Child Custody attorney knowledgeable in child custody laws is an essential part of the divorce process. You can trust Attorney Richard Perry and The Perry Law Firm, LLC to help ensure your interests are fully represented in the process of determining who gets custody of your child and under what terms.
Alabama Child Support is outlined Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration (A.R.J.A.). In order to determine child support, the gross income of both parties is combined and the percentage of both individuals is then multiplied by the basis amount of support based on the combined gross income. In order to calculate the amount of support, the amount of child care, if any, and health insurance is added together.
In Alabama, the right of children to receive child support is so basic that the obligation by parents to provide support cannot be permanently removed by agreement, release, or judgment.
One common myth is that if a party has shared custody, no party will be required to pay child support. This is one hundred percent false. In instances of shared custody, support is calculated as follows:
a. Compute the support the father would pay to the mother if she was awarded custody of the children
b. Compute the support the mother would pay to the father if he was awarded custody of the children
c. Subtract the lesser support obligation from the greater. The parent who owes the greater obligation should be ordered to pay the difference in support to the other parent unless the court determines it should deviate from the child support guidelines.
Factors That Terminate Child Support
– The child is adopted
– The child turns 19 years old
– The child marries
– The child becomes emancipated
– The child becomes self-supporting
– The child dies
In Alabama, child support does not automatically become terminated because one of the foregoing reasons occurs. In order to terminate the child support Order, the party who was ordered to pay support should file a Petition to Modify Child Support.
In a child support case, it is essential that you are represented by a knowledgeable and experienced attorney. Attorney Richard Perry has both the knowledge and experience you need to represent your child support case. Rest assured that Attorney Richard Perry will always offer competent legal services and provide representation that is in the best interest of his clients.
Child Support Modification
Often times after a divorce, the circumstances of one of both of the parents will change. For instance, the parents may receive a raise in their salary, or, one of the parents may change employment. Regardless of the situation, sometimes it is necessary to modify the child support order.
If one of the parties loses his or her job through no fault or cause of their own, it is possible to ask the Court to temporarily suspend the obligation to pay child support, or in the alternative, to reduce the child support to a lower amount. Another reason for a modification in child support is because of an increase or decrease in income of ten percent.
In a child support modification case, you need an attorney who has the knowledge to represent you in an adequate and effective manner. Attorney Richard Perry has the knowledge you need in an attorney to represent you in your child support modification case.
When a couple who are not married have a child in the State of Alabama, the father is known as the putative father. This means, quite simply, that he is the father because he claims to be. A putative father has no legal rights to the child. In order for this to happen, the father is typically required to take a DNA test, unless he signed an affidavit of paternity, and he is the adjudicated the father of the child.
Paternity cases are important for several reasons. One reason is because a mother chooses to seek child support from the father of the child. Another reason is because the father wants to exercise visitation and requires a Court Order to be able to do so.
In Alabama, when a husband and wife are married and a child is born, the husband is presumed to be the father. This can cause big problems for the husband, particularly when the husband and wife have been separated at the time the wife became pregnant. In these situations, the wife could go to the Court and file a petition to order the husband to pay child support. The husband is the only person who is able to rebut the presumption that he is the father.
Attorney Richard Perry has represented clients throughout the State of Alabama in establishing paternity for whatever the reason. He has the knowledge and experience you need in your paternity case. If you are in a situation in which you need to establish paternity for child support or visitation purposes, or if you are being taken to Court to pay child support for a child you suspect is not your child, give Attorney Richard Perry a call and schedule a hassle free consultation.
ALABAMA PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
Alabama Prenuptial Agreements are contracts that are entered into by a party prior to a marriage. They are created in order to protect the interest of a party who owns substantial property prior to getting married. Once married, any property not included in a prenuptial agreement becomes marital property and is therefore subject to divisibility should the marriage end in a divorce.
There are no rules when preparing a prenuptial agreement other than it must be fair and entered into voluntarily.
Prenuptial Agreements often include common elements that include:
– An accounting of all assets and debts the parties are bringing into the marriage.
– An agreement that each spouse will own all income and assets that he or she acquires individually during the marriage.
– A provision that if the marriage ends in a divorce, there will be no property to divide with the exception to any further terms in the agreement.
ALABAMA POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
Alabama Postnuptial Agreements are contracts that are entered into by a party after the marriage has occurred. They are very similar to a prenuptial agreement except it is intended to separate the assets and debts acquired after the marriage has taken place. Postnuptial agreements will often divide assets and debts that each spouse shall receive upon the death or dissolution of the marriage.
Just like with prenuptial agreements, there are no rules when preparing a postnuptial agreement other than it must be fair and entered into voluntarily.
FAIR AND VOLUNTARY
– Each party must have adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
– Each party must be given a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other party’s property.
– Each party must sign a waiver of such disclosure.
– The party whose attorney did not prepare the agreement must have the opportunity to discuss the agreement with his or her own attorney.