Month: August 2014

Alabama Alimony

I have not been married long.  Will I get alimony in Alabama?

Many Alabamians have the notion that divorce courts in our state never award alimony in a marriage that lasts less than 10 years.  The truth is, there is no bright line rule on this issue.  Although it is rare, from time to time Alabama courts will award alimony to a spouse after a short-term marriage.  It will generally depend on the special circumstances in that case.

What is the purpose of alimony?

The purpose of alimony is to limit any unfair economic effects of a divorce by providing continuing income to the spouse who is either unemployed, or earning lower wages than the other.  The justification for this award, in part, is that one spouse may have given up a career to support the family.  As such, that spouse needs time to find ways to support himself or herself.  Another purpose of awarding alimony may be to allow one spouse to continue the standard of living he or she was used to during the marriage.

 Alimony awarded after a 6-year marriage

One Alabama case, decided in 2009, provides an example where an alimony award was appropriate after a marriage of less than 10 years.  In Lackey v. Lackey, the wife quit her job as a nurse to care for the couple’s children, while the husband was in residency and pursuing his medical career.  Upon their divorce after six years, the Husband was ordered to pay $1,500 per month in permanent alimony (which means until the wife remarries or cohabitates with a member of the opposite sex).  The husband appealed the ruling, but the appellate court affirmed the award.

What factors does the court consider?

The appellate court discussed the factors that Alabama trial courts should consider in determining the need for alimony in each case.  The court stated as follows:

When dividing marital property and determining a party’s need for alimony, a trial court should consider several factors, including ‘the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, the future employment prospects of the parties, the source, value, and type of property owned, and the standard of living to which the parties have become accustomed during the marriage.

It is also interesting to note that the appeals court also considered the fact that the husband was in pursuit of a professional license, which would provide him with the income necessary to pay the alimony.

If you have questions regarding alimony or any other divorce issues, contact attorney Brad J. Latta online, or by calling (205) 998-5570.

Grandparent Visitation

What rights do grandparents have to visitation following a divorce?

An important and sensitive issue in any divorce where children are involved is the right to visitation.  The non-custodial parent will likely seek reasonable visitation rights to the children.  Under good circumstances, the parents are able to agree on the terms of visitation.  But how often do the parents consider the rights of grandparents to visitation?  The parents of the non-custodial spouse may be completely left out of the equation.  Do they have rights to visitation in Alabama?

Grandparent rights to visitation in Alabama

Yes.  In Alabama, grandparents have the right to visit their grandchildren as well.  Any grandparent has the ability to file a petition to enforce these visitation rights, under many different circumstances – not just divorce.  As long as the grandparent’s visitation is deemed to be in the best interest of the child, they can seek visitation under any of the following situations:

  • One or both parents of the grandchild have died
  • The parents of the grandchild have divorced
  • A parent of the grandchild has abandoned the child
  • The grandchild was born outside a marriage
  • If the parents of the grandchild are still married and living together but one or both of the parents are using their authority to prevent a grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild.

In reviewing the grandparents’ petition and the best interests of the child, the court will consider the grandparents’ willingness to nurture a relationship with the child and his parents, the grandchild’s preference if any, the health of the grandchild, the mental and physical health of the grandparents, evidence of domestic violence within the family, and  any other relevant factors.  The court may also consider the preferences of any living parent.

If you have questions regarding grandparent visitation, or any other divorce or domestic issues, contact attorney Brad J. Latta online, or by calling (205) 998-5570.

Who Needs a Will?

Who Should Have a Will?

Everyone should.  Yet almost 70% of all Americans do not have one.  Does it matter who gets your money or property when you die?  Do you care who is appointed as a guardian to care for your minor children, should you unexpectedly die?  If you answered yes, then a you need to have a will.  A Last Will and Testament is the easiest way to plan for the inevitable and make the important decisions while you still can.

Wills are not only for the wealthy

No matter how much money you have, drafting a will ensures that your personal belongings and other assets will go to the people you choose.  Otherwise, the laws of your state and a disinterested judge will make these decisions for you.

Selecting a guardian for minor children

If you have young children, a will is critical.  Without a will, you have no say in who will take care of your children should you die while they are still minors.  Making these significant decisions now and discussing your desires with the individuals you plan to nominate as guardians is the best action you can take to secure the future of your children, as well as your peace of mind.

What happens if you don’t have a will?

Dying without a will does not necessarily mean your property will not go to your surviving family.  Actually, your closest remaining relatives are the ones who will typically receive your property, pursuant to the laws of “intestate succession” in your state.  However, you may have other plans in mind.  Without a will, your property will go to your relatives as determined by law. How the property will be distributed depends completely on which relatives are still alive at the time of your death.

If you have questions regarding wills, or any other estate planning issues, contact attorney Brad J. Latta online, or by calling (205) 998-5570.