Birmingham Family Lawyer
Compassionate Legal Support for Families in Vestavia Hills
Every family may encounter the occasional problem or dispute. Some of these matters might require the attention of a compassionate and skilled attorney. For high-quality representation and guidance in your Birmingham family law case, reach out to Ingram Law, LLC. Our firm has the experience and knowledge in family law to develop the most advantageous legal strategies for your case.
We serve clients in:
- Child Support
- Child Custody
- Separation Agreements
- Asset Division
- Domestic Violence
Adopting in Alabama
In Alabama, any minor may be adopted. Any adult who is permanently disabled and/or is determined to be mentally retarded may also be adopted. Note that the age where child consent is required is 14 years and older unless the adoptee does not have the mental capacity to give consent.
Any adult person or husband and wife jointly can adopt in the state. No rule or regulation of the Department of Human Resources can prevent adoption by a single person solely because of a certain age or by a person because they work outside the home. The one requirement for adopting is that the adopted individuals resided in their home for 60 days prior to the finalization of the adoption. In rare cases, this home residence requirement may be waived by the court when good cause is shown.
Note that the statute of limitations to challenge an adoption is 1 year. Also, although Alabama does not have a statutory restriction on same-sex adoption, some courts have turned down requests to adopt a same-sex spouse’s child. Alabama also has designated adoption courts that handle adoption proceedings in order to protect the best interests of the adopted.
Child Custody Laws
Alabama law favors joint legal custody as the preferred outcome because it usually leads to children having frequent and continuing contact with their parents and enables parents to share the rights and responsibilities of raising their children together. In considering physical custody, one of the factors a judge will consider is how far the parents live from each other. If it’s a substantial distance, the judge may instead decide that joint custody will not be in the child’s best interests, as moving back and forth between distant homes could negatively impact the child’s education or interfere with recreational activities.
Note that a judge will look at several factors when determining a child’s best interest:
- The agreement between the parents;
- The age and sex of the child;
- The child’s needs (emotional, material, educational) and each parent’s ability to meet those needs;
- A parent’s home environment;
- A parent’s age, stability, and mental and physical health;
- The nature of the child’s relationship with a parent;
- The nature of the child’s relationship with any siblings;
- The impact on a child of any change to the current custody arrangement;
- Reports and recommendations of experts, such as psychologists; and
- Any other factors pertinent to custody.
If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, the court may consider their preference.
Alabama also has a specific provision in the custody law for situations if the wife has abandoned the husband. In these cases, the husband will have custody of the child after the child reaches the age of 7, as long as the husband is a “suitable person” to have custody. Individuals in a same-sex marriage should consult an attorney about this specific provision if they’re contemplating a divorce and their same-sex spouse abandoned them and their children.
State law also holds that if the court determines a parent has committed domestic or family violence, giving that parent any form of custody will not be in the child’s best interest. However, the court could give custody to that parent if the parent proves that receiving custody will not be detrimental to the child.
Getting a Divorce
Alabama has a 6-month residency requirement to file for divorce and a 30-day waiting period from the filing of the complaint before a divorce can be final. A Complaint for Divorce may be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the defendant (non-filing spouse) resides, or in the circuit court of the county in which the parties resided when the separation occurred. If the defendant is a nonresident, then the divorce may be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the plaintiff (filing spouse) resides.
Alabama, along with many states, offers a “no fault” divorce, where spouses do not have to allege any specific wrongdoing in order to get divorced. Instead, they only have to show the court that there was an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are not in the best interests of the family.
Once a divorce is finalized, it is important that both partners adhere to all aspects of the divorce decree. There are instances when one parent may refuse to allow child visitation, or sometimes a parent may not pay child support or their share of the medical bills as required. In all of these situations, Ingram Law, LLC is available to help enforce the divorce decree.
It is possible that over time, the divorce terms two former spouses once agreed upon may need to be modified. For instance, as their children grow up and each partner’s income changes, visitation schedules, alimony payments, and child support agreements may need to be revised. Modifying a divorce decree is a process best handled by a skilled Birmingham divorce attorney. Speak to our attorney at Ingram Law, LLC to represent you in your case to change any or all of the aspects of your divorce decree.
Let Ingram Law, LLC Help
If you are involved in any type of family law case in Birmingham, from adoption to child custody to divorce, contact Ingram Law, LLC immediately for effective legal representation. The nuances of family litigation require a knowledgeable and skilled attorney who has clients’ best interests in mind.
Attorney Ingram is a Former District Attorney and has a successful track record.
We are here for you. Attorney Ingram will travel to you.
Attorney Ingram is a proven trial attorney with years of experience.
We are always available to take your call. Contact us 24/7.