Month: April 2017

Five Myths About Child Custody in Alabama

5 Common Myths about Child Custody Issues
Divorce is almost always a stressful situation for everyone involved, especially children. When it comes to child custody, the likelihood of a battle is pretty high. The reason? There are too many misconceptions about the laws regarding child custody in Alabama. Here, we will dispel the five most common myths regarding child custody.
No. 1 – The mother will most often be awarded primary custody
This simply is not true in Alabama. In fact, Alabama’s child custody laws do not favor either parent. Instead, determining what is best for the child is the primary deciding factor. In reality, that usually means attempting to maintain a strong relationship with both parents, if at all possible.
No. 2 – Child Custody depends on the needs of the parents
As stated above, it is the child’s well-being that is the driving force behind every child custody determination. The needs of the parents do not factor into the equation.
No. 3 – Sole custody is the most common arrangement
In reality, sole custody is not the most common result in most cases. Sole custody, or full custody, means that only one parent will have legal and physical custody, while the other parent would have limited contact with the child. This is actually very rare. Nevertheless, in situations where sole custody is warranted, the non-custodial parent would most likely still have some visitation rights. In most cases, joint custody is awarded to both parents so that they can both continue to raise the children together.
No. 4 – When there is joint custody, there will be no child support award
While the child custody arrangement may impact the child support payments ordered by the court, there are also many other factors that are considered as well. Each parent’s income is one of the most important factors. Regardless of whether both parents have equal custody, there may still be a need to order child support payments for a parent who needs them.
No. 5 – A child custody arrangement ordered by the court cannot be modified
Possibly one of the most common reasons child custody cases turn into a huge battle is the belief that the arrangement ordered by the court is absolutely permanent. That is not necessarily true because, as the courts recognize, circumstances often change. For that reason, child custody decisions are not set in stone.
If you have questions regarding child custody or any other family law matter, contact us online or by calling Brad J. Latta at (205) 823-1223 for a consultation.

What Can Child Support Be Used For?

What Can I Use Child Support for in Alabama?

There are many misconceptions when it comes to what child support payments can be used for. Most commonly, people believe that child support can only be used for the so-called “bare necessities.” To most people, that means only food, clothing, and shelter. But in Alabama, child support covers a wider range of expenses, including education expenses, entertainment, health care and extracurricular activities.

Guidelines are established in every state

All 50 states have created some form of child support guidelines which help the courts and attorneys to determine the appropriate amount of child support to be awarded in each case. Those guidelines require courts to consider a wide variety of factors, including the income of each parent, the ability to pay and the financial needs of the child. The goal is to provide the amount of support necessary for the child to maintain his or her current standard of living as much as possible. It is important to remember that child support laws are not uniform from one state to the next.

Parents are not required to prove how child support payments are used

In Alabama, as in many other states, parents are not required prove how the child support payments they receive are being used. The only time that becomes an issue is when there are allegations that a child’s basic needs are not being met. Otherwise, the courts will assume that the custodial parent is taking care of the child’s necessary expenses and there is no need to monitor the parent’s spending habits.

Examples of what child support should cover

It goes without saying that children need food, clothing, and a safe and comfortable place to live. Children also need basic medical care, which is usually provided through some form of health insurance coverage for their child. Any uncovered medical expenses must also be covered. Even for children in public school, there are certain fees for school-related activities. Child care as well as extracurricular activities like summer camp and sports activities should also be covered.

If you have questions regarding child support or any other family law matter, contact us online or by calling Brad J. Latta at (205) 823-1223 for a consultation.

Alabama Adoption License Requirements

Alabama’s Adoption Licensing Requirements

If you are considering becoming adoptive parents, the process can be a bit lengthy, so you need to be persistent. Typically, it takes an average of four to twelve months to complete all of the necessary steps to become licensed to adopt. The process generally includes submitting the application, participating in a home study and attending training. Parts of the process may be overwhelming and particularly invasive, but it is important to remember that everyone involved has the same goal, to ensure the safety and well-being of the children.

Basic requirements for an adoption license

Anyone applying for an adoption license must be 19 or older, with a stable family, and reasonably good health. At least one parent must be a United States citizen. There must be a regular source of income sufficient to meet the family’s financial needs.

Background checks are required without exception, including criminal background checks for all household members 19 and older, and clearance of State Central Registry on Child Abuse and Neglect for all household members 19 and older as well. Character references will be required, as well as successful completion of a home safety inspection. A home study and family assessment, along with training in First Aid and CPR for adults, infants, and children is also required. If the adoptive parent is married, the applicants must be married for at least three years. However, being married is not required.

Certain exceptions may be allowed

The Alabama State Office of Adoption may approve a policy exception to the above qualifications if it appears the applicant has considerable attributes for parenting children with special needs and is willing to accept such children. Requests for exception can be made to the Office of Permanency before proceeding with the application.

If you have questions regarding adoption or any other family law matter, contact us online or by calling Brad J. Latta at (205) 823-1223 for a consultation.