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Frequently Asked Questions
What is an uncontested divorce
An uncontested divorce is where both parties reach an agreement regarding all the terms of their divorce without filing for the court to hear their divorce case. An uncontested divorce is handled entirely outside of the court and the finalized agreement is then filed with the court to be approved.
What is a contested divorce
A contested divorce is when a party serves the other with divorce papers, formally starting the process of divorce with the court. Consult with a divorce attorney to learn more about this process.
Who gets custody in a divorce
When parties with children file for divorce, there is often a question of who will get custody. During a divorce trial, the court will consider many factors in its decision for who gets custody of the children and the judge will use his or her discretion to make a decision after hearing all of the evidence and testimony presented at trial. The judge’s decision for who gets custody is determined by what the court finds to be in the child’s best interest. This is referred to as the “best interest standard.” If you are getting divorced and are worried about who will get custody, speak with a local divorce attorney to get advice on how to prepare your custody case.
Who gets custody when the parents were not married?
When unmarried parties have a trial for custody of their children(ren), the court will consider many factors in its decision for who gets custody and the judge uses his or her discretion after hearing all of the evidence and testimony to decide what is in the child’s best interest. This is referred to as the “best interest standard.” If you are trying to get custody of your children and you and the parent were not married when the child was born, speak with a local custody attorney to get advice on how to prepare your custody case.
Can I change my custody order
Yes, after a divorce or custody order is entered you can go back to court to modify, or change, your custody order. This can be done either by agreement of the parties or by filing a motion to modify custody with the court. To modify a court’s custody order in Alabama a new, more challenging legal standard is applied, commonly referred to as the McLendon Standard. Speak with a local family law attorney to learn more about how to change custody.
What is mediation
Mediation occurs when both parties attempt to resolve their case outside of court with the assistance of a certified mediator. The parties attend mediation with their respective attorneys and participate in separate rooms by sending offers of settlement and negotiation through the mediator.
What are depositions?
Depositions are a tool used by attorneys to get information from witnesses and parties in litigation. In a divorce, an attorney may depose, or take the deposition, of a party or witness to learn what they know about a certain situation. The person who is being deposed in sworn in -or put under oath- and then answers questions while a court reporter records what is asked and answered. Depositions are a valuable tool to prepare for and use in trial.
What is discovery?
Discovery is a tool used by attorneys to prepare your case for trial and to get valuable information. You may receive interrogatories and request for production when you are served with a complaint. These interrogatories and request for production must be responded to in a set amount of time or the court may take actions to sanction, or punish, a party that does not cooperate. If you are served with discovery and interrogatories and request for production in your family law matter, call and speak with a family law attorney to assist you in properly responding.
How do I get custody if we were never married?
You will need to file a petition for custody in the appropriate court. Speaking with a custody attorney can help you decide what steps need to be taken and where to file for custody in Alabama.
What can I expect at my consultation?
A consultation is required to hire an attorney at J. Jerry Pilgrim and Associate. During your consultation you will tell the attorney about your case and the attorney will determine if we can handle your case and what steps need to be done to assist you. A consultation does not result in an attorney client relationship unless the attorney is then hired, an employment contract signed, and a retainer paid.
What is a dependency case?
A dependency case is where a third party, or someone is not a parent of the child, files for custody of someone else’s child. This is often where a grandparent or aunt or uncle file for custody of the child, but can also be filed by a non-relative. Sometimes these cases arise when Department of Human Resources removes a child from their parents. In dependency cases, the party asking for custody has to prove to the court that both parents are unfit or unwilling to care for the child. If you want to file a dependency, meet with a local family law attorney to learn more about the process.
How is child support calculated?
In Alabama, child support is calculated using the Alabama child support guidelines, as set out in Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration Rule 32. These guidelines take into account each parties gross monthly income, daycare expenses, health insurance, and whether either party pays court ordered alimony or child support from another court case. Speak with a child support attorney to determine what your child support payment should be under the Alabama child support guidelines.
How can I change my custody order?
To change a custody order, you need to file a motion to modify custody with the court. You will have to meet a heightened legal standard, referred to in Alabama as the “McLendon” standard. Schedule a consultation with a family law attorney near you to discuss what you need to prove to modify custody.
How can I change my child support order?
Child support can be modified when there is a material change of income by one of the parties or when one of the children reaches the age of majority (19 years old in Alabama). To learn more about modifying child support reach out to an attorney.