Divorce Attorneys in Auburn, Alabama
When a couple gets married, the last thing most of them believe will happen is that the marriage will end in divorce. Dissolving the marriage is never part of the plan, but sometimes it is the best way forward for everyone involved. When the decision is made to get divorced, it becomes a very stressful time. There is a lot of regret about what could have been done differently, and a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds.
If you are considering a divorce, you need an experienced attorney by your side to provide strong legal guidance and moral support during this difficult time. At the Alsobrook Law Group, we have helped numerous clients in Auburn and the surrounding Alabama communities get through the divorce process. We work closely with our clients, taking the time to listen and fully understand their needs, and working hard to protect their rights and interests.
We know that when it comes to divorce and other family legal matters, there is no one-size-fits-all legal solution. Each family has a unique set of dynamics, and oftentimes, it is not merely a question of “winning” or “losing.” There may be other issues to consider as well, such as the best interests of the children and the need to preserve delicate family relationships. Whenever possible, we work to develop amicable resolutions that everyone can live with. That said, if protracted divorce litigation is necessary, we are ready and able to forcefully advocate on your behalf inside the courtroom.
Comprehensive Auburn, AL Divorce Representation
We handle all legal aspects of a divorce for Auburn area clients. This includes but is not limited to:
If the spouses have children together, one of the most important issues will be to ensure that the children receive the financial support they need to enjoy a standard of living that is as close as possible to what they have become accustomed to. Alabama follows an “income shares” model, which is a complicated formula that calculates support based on the number of children and the combined income of both spouses.
Both parents have a responsibility towards providing child support. The court outlines the respective share of child support from you and your spouse, and there are specific stipulations to calculate child support based on the incomes and parenting time of both parents.
One of the key factors to discuss with your divorce attorney could be a list of childcare expenses so that your lawyer can form a clear assessment of the current and future needs of your children. This could help them in preparing their defense strategy in your divorce proceedings.
Child Custody and Visitation
Another child-related issue that needs to be settled is who will retain custody of the children. The state of Alabama prefers that both parents maintain an active role in the life of their child, and this is automatically presumed to be in the child’s best interest, unless proven otherwise.
There are two types of custody; legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority over important areas of the child’s life (such as education, religious upbringing, etc.), and this is often granted jointly to both parents. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, and a court may decide to give this to one parent or the other, or to give the parents joint physical custody. If one parent receives sole physical custody, the other parent will most likely be granted liberal visitation rights.
Child custody is always the most emotional and hotly contested part of a divorce. The court may award legal or physical custody to either one or both parents, taking into view the future welfare of the child. In taking this decision, courts consider the stability of the home environment, child’s relationship with the parents, and the physical as well as mental well-being of the parents.
If there is a major income disparity between the two spouses and one spouse is financially dependent on the other, spousal support may be awarded. Spousal support is not required in all cases, and there are no pre-set formulas for determining when to award it and how much should be awarded. This decision is in the hands of the court, and much of their consideration is based on the specific circumstances of each case and the strength of the arguments presented by the spouses’ respective legal counsels.
Spousal support is one area of the law that is changing rapidly. Courts may consider numerous factors to determine alimony, including the duration of the marriage, the couple’s health, education levels, their standard of living, future earning capacity, etc.
Discuss your financial and career goals with your lawyer to work out ways to get the support you need. On the other hand, if you are the one paying spousal support, you must discuss what impact the financial burden might have on your future.
Decisions over money and property frequently become contentious, and in fact, this is one of the reasons many couples get divorced in the first place. During an Auburn divorce, all marital assets must be divided fairly and equitably. A marital asset is generally one that was acquired while the couple was married, such as the purchase of a home or vehicle, or a joint bank account. Non-marital assets are assets that one of the spouses owned solely prior to the marriage.
There are exceptions to these general rules, however. For example, some assets that were brought into a marriage can become co-mingled to the point where it is impossible to distinguish between what is marital and what is non-marital. There are also some assets that may be acquired during the marriage that are still considered non-marital. These may include inheritance and gifts received, or property that is purchased with non-marital funds.
Any property acquired by you or your spouse while you were married, including the marital home, jewelry, cars, and furniture, usually constitutes marital property. However, the actual property division in a marital dispute is not always as straightforward as it might seem on paper. For instance, if there has been an increase in the value of the property, the spouse who invested their own funds or time in the property might claim a greater share of the increase in value.
As you can imagine, determining what property is marital and what property is non-marital is not always a simple and straightforward task. And if you have a significant amount of assets, unique assets, and/or complex assets, this can become even more challenging. Division of property is one area where the help of an experienced attorney will be critical. With so much at stake, you need someone looking out for you who understands this process and help ensure that you receive your fair share.
Other Legal Matters Related to a Divorce
The above-mentioned areas are extremely important, but they are not necessarily the only issues you may have to deal with during an Auburn divorce. There are several other legal matters that we assist clients with as well, such as:
- High net worth divorces;
- Divorces with family-owned businesses;
- Military divorces;
- Divorces with special needs children;
- Divorces with a stay-at-home mom;
- Divorce tax consequences;
- Post-divorce modifications and enforcement.
Filing for a Divorce in Auburn
In Alabama, you can seek a “no-fault” divorce, meaning you can dissolve your marriage without any other reason except that your marriage is “irretrievably broken”, or that you have been separated from your spouse for at least two years. There are also various “grounds” for getting divorced; such as adultery, cruelty/abuse, incurable insanity, and some others.
In general, “no-fault” is the easiest and smoothest way to get a divorce. If you file based on one of the fault grounds, you will need to prove to a court that your spouse engaged in misconduct and/or displayed some type of behavior that legally justifies the dissolution of the marriage. This is more costly and time consuming and is not usually recommended except in some limited cases.
In order to file a complaint for divorce in Alabama, at least one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for six months prior to the filing, and this must be alleged and proven within the complaint. There is also a 30-day waiting period after filing the complaint before the divorce may become effective.
Common Mistakes People Make During an Auburn Divorce
Lack of Understanding about Financials
Before filing for your Auburn, AL divorce, it is crucial to understand your financial status, including an understanding of your assets and debts, both individually and as a couple. It’s a good idea to make photocopies of all financial papers prior to filing for divorce. You should keep them in another file, so you don’t accidently hand over or mail your only copy. Make sure you label that file, so you know what it is, and you don’t forget about it.
Coercing Children to Take Sides
Notably, you or your spouse (or likely some of both) are responsible for the failure of your marriage, not your kids. Don’t place them in a tough situation by asking them to take sides. Try not to put emotional pressure on children and keep them away from complicated situations as far as possible.
Trying to Cope with this Alone
Irrespective of how strong a person is, at some point, everyone needs emotional support, especially during challenging times. You will need supportive friends and family members who can be there for you when you are going through the divorce process. Avoid people who offer unreliable or undesirable advice. Only legal professionals can offer trustworthy advice on the divorce proceedings.
Fighting for Custody for the Sake of it
Do not fight for legal custody merely because it’s the norm. You need to decide what is best for your child. Fighting for joint custody can be traumatic for children if you are unable to ever find a middle ground with your ex-spouse. Sole custody, joint custody, or visitation rights in Auburn are options that you must evaluate judiciously and not emotionally.
Not Working with the Right Attorney
One of the most important factors that will determine the outcome of your divorce case is your choice of an attorney, which takes significant thought, planning, and meticulous assessment. An Auburn, AL divorce lawyer working on your case should be skilled, experienced, and compassionate to be able to accomplish the best outcome.
How to Deal with the Financial Pitfalls of a Divorce in Auburn
A survey found that 80% of spouses who were not involved in the daily finances during the marriage regretted this after getting divorced. Those in this category also say it took longer to recover from the financial stress of the divorce, and approximately 40% say they still have not recovered.
With this in mind, the first action you must take to deal with the economic pitfalls of a divorce is to get involved your finances ASAP. Maybe you have always maintained that money is not your “thing”, and you have left this area up to your spouse. But if your marriage is on the rocks and you are considering parting ways, you can no longer afford to be passive in this area.
It is time for you to find out where you really stand financially, and to get control of this area in the event that you have to go out on your own. This might mean asking more questions and having some difficult conversations, but it needs to happen in order for you to protect your financial future.
At the very least, each spouse should know and understand some basic things about the family finances. Here are some financial areas that you should educate yourself about:
- Bank accounts;
- Retirement accounts;
- Tax returns;
- Home mortgages;
- Car loans;
- Insurance information;
- Credit cards;
- Personal loans;
- Utility bills;
- Monthly income of each spouse;
- Monthly household expenses;
- Miscellaneous income and expenses.
Make sure you communicate clearly with your spouse about financial matters and insist on openness and transparency. Because whether you end up getting divorced or not, it is always in your best interests to have a better handle on the household finances, and to be able to provide greater input on how your money is being spent.
Contact Our Seasoned Auburn, AL Divorce Attorneys
If you are facing a divorce, the Alsobrook Law Group is here to help. We know this is a difficult time for you, but you can get through this, and we will be with you every step of the way. In Auburn, Opelika, and surrounding communities, message us online or call our office today at 334.737.3718 to schedule a free confidential consultation. We look forward to serving you!