Articles Posted in Child Custody

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An issue that often arises in Alabama divorce, child custody and post divorce modification cases is whether one parent may leave the state and relocate with the minor child.  These same issues arise in family court cases in Alabama where an Order addressing paternity and custody has been entered.  In any case in Alabama in which custody or visitation in involved the Alabama Relocation Act, Alabama Code Section 30-3-166.  In short form the Act provides for the technical notice that is required to be given by a parent seeking to relocate and the procedure the court must use to evaluate such a request.  Alabama law actual requires that the text of the Act be included in any order establishing custody and/or visitation rights with a child.  The Act provides:

Alabama law requires each party in this action who has either custody of or the right of visitation with a child to notify other parties who have custody of or the right of visitation with the child of any change in his or her address or telephone number, or both, and of any change or proposed change of principal residence and telephone number or numbers of a child.  This is a continuing duty and remains in effect as to each child subject to the custody or visitation provisions of this decree until such child reaches the age of majority or becomes emancipated and for so long as you are entitled to custody of or visitation with a child covered by this order.  If there is to be a change of principal residence by you or by a child subject to the custody or visitation provisions of this order, you must provide the following information to each other person who has custody or visitation rights under this decree as follows:

(1)       The intended new residence, including the specific street address, if known.

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There has been a bigger effort to implement balanced child custody legislation during the first half of 2015, and this could lead to divorced parents spending time with their children more equally. Divorced spouses with children in Alabama might want to know that almost 20 states are considering steps that aim to change the laws that determine which parent is awarded legal custody.

According to a significant number of studies, the best way to prevent children from being negatively affected after a divorce is to grant equal parenting time to the parents. Researchers have also found that children who live with both of their parents are less stressed than children who live with just one parent. However, mothers are still overwhelmingly favored in child custody battles. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that mothers are the custodial parents in about 83 percent of the cases. At the end of 2013, the Nebraska Administrative Office of the Courts reported that 72 percent of fathers in that state who were not awarded custody between 2002 and 2012 only saw their children an average of 5.5 days a month.

In 2014, the first nationwide study provided an in-depth ranking of custody statutes for each state, and 25 states were ranked D or worse. No state was awarded an A. Since then, several states have made an effort to improve upon their custody laws. Utah, for example, enacted legislation that took effect in May 2015 and which increases the number of overnights per year that noncustodial parents receive from 80 to 145. Legislators in both Colorado and Texas have introduced equal parenting bills as well.

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Smartphones are not only changing the way we communicate, they are also changing the way we divorce.

According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 97 percent of divorce lawyers throughout the nation said that they have noticed an increase in the number of divorce cases that involve evidence gathered from smartphones and other electronic wireless devices over the past three years.

The most common electronic evidence being used came from text messages, but emails and call histories were also commonly cited in divorce cases, the survey indicated

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We all know that divorce can be difficult on kids, but a recently-released study helps to explain more precisely how they can be affected.

The study determined that psychosomatic symptoms — which are physical problems that result from emotional distress — might be more common in teenagers whose parents have separated or divorced.

It was determined that teens who lived primarily with only one parent because of a divorce or separation were more likely to experience psychosomatic symptoms than teens who lived with both parents. 

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Many parents in Alabama have been ordered to pay child support that becomes unfair or unmanageable for a variety of different reasons, including a job loss or an unexpected decrease income. The good news that it may be possible to modify a child support order so that a more reasonable amount can be paid.

The most important thing that someone in this situation can do is act. The court won’t modify the child support order on its own, it is up to you to ask the court for a child support modification and prove why it is necessary.

Because this isn’t always an easy thing to do, you will likely benefit from having an experienced family law attorney on your side.

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As a family law firm, we have many clients who come in believing to know what they are going to be ordered to pay in child support because they used an online calculator that spit out a number. Unfortunately, these calculators are often far from accurate.

As a FindLaw.com article explains, these calculators can give you a ballpark estimate at what your child support payments could be, but they can rarely predict exactly what you will owe. That’s because judges have the final say over how much child support should be ordered after considering state statutes.

The reason these calculators typically cannot tell you with accuracy what you will be ordered to pay in child support is because they don’t take into account the unique circumstances of your situation. Most child custody and child support cases are complicated, which the online calculators don’t account for.

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Unfortunately, domestic abuse — or allegations of domestic abuse — is a part of many divorces in the state of Alabama, and it can have a major effect on the outcome of cases.

First of all, when abuse is part of a divorce case, it can change the outcome of the case by granting grounds for divorce in favor of the victim instead of being a “no fault” divorce in which neither party is blamed.

This is a good thing if you are a victim of abuse because it gives you added protections and remedies. For example, the judge in your case will have the ability to order your abuser to pay you additional compensation.

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Parenting after a divorce can be a challenge for both mothers and fathers, but fathers can especially struggle with the transition.

A divorce can throw a wrench in the routines that may have existed since the child was born. Fathers may also worry about getting to spend enough time with their child, and making the most out of the time they do have together.

A family law attorney who specializes in father’s rights authored the book How to Be a Good Divorced Dad and recently provided several tips to Yahoo! Parenting for fathers who have recently gone through divorce.

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If this year will be your first time filing income taxes as a single parent, there are several issues you should be aware of, including your filing status, children you can claim as dependents and a series of possible deductions.

First, you may be able to file head of household and be taxed at a lower rate with higher deductions if you were unmarried as of Dec. 31, 2014, you earned at least 50 percent of your household income, and your children lived with you at least six months out of the year, in total.

Next, it’s important to know whether you can claim any of your children as dependents. The IRS defines a child as a dependent if that child lived with you for at least six months out of the year and you were responsible for financially supporting the child during that time.

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This is an issue that we get asked about frequently. In some cases, a parent — usually the mother — decides that she does not want to force the other parent — usually the father — to pay child support.

Sometimes mothers believe that letting the father off of the hook for child support will mean that the father will agree to the custody terms that she wants. In other words, in order to get custody of the children, the mother sometimes agrees to not make the father pay child support.

However, this is not legal under the law. In the state of Alabama, child custody is ordered on behalf of the child, and neither parent can decide that the child should not receive that support. Child support is calculated using a formula that takes into account the income of both parents, the cost of child care, the cost of insurance and the expense the state of Alabama deems necessary to raise a child.