While it is never an easy decision, there are many good reasons for getting adivorce in Alabama. Whether you reside in Montgomery, Huntsville, Mobile or any one of the dozens of small towns throughout our state, financial matters and basic incompatibility are common complaints leading to separation and divorce. But as a Birmingham family law and divorce lawyer, I can easily say that domestic abuse, either between the two marriage partners or between one of the parents and the children, is by far the most serious reasons behind anydivorce action.
Child abuse is particularly awful. In Alabama, physical abuse as it pertains to children can mean several things. Per Alabama Code 26-14-1(1)-(3), physical harm or threatened harm to the health or welfare of a child can be through:
- Non-accidental physical injury
- Sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse
- Sexual exploitation or attempted sexual exploitation
The state statutes also provide for emotional abuse, which is defined by Alabama state law as being non-accidental mental injury.
Similarly neglect, according to the state of Alabama, is defined as the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child, including the failure to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical treatment, or supervision. It is important to mention that Alabama provides an exception to the area of neglect in Alabama Code 26-14-7.2, which states that a parent who fails to provide medical treatment to a child due to the legitimate practice of religious beliefs shall not be considered negligent for that reason alone. This exception shall not preclude a court from ordering that medical services be provided to the child.
Finally, sexual abuse is one of the most egregious offenses that a spouse can perpetrate on another family member, especially a child within the family circle. In Alabama, child sexual abuse includes the flowing:
- The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in any sexually explicit conduct, or
- Having a child assist any other person to engage in any sexually explicit conduct
- Any simulation of the conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of the conduct
- The rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children
- Incest with children
In general, sexual exploitation is defined as allowing, permitting, or encouraging a child to engage in prostitution; allowing, permitting, encouraging, or engaging in the obscene or pornographic photographing, filming, or depicting of a child for commercial purposes.
No matter what your situation — separation, contested divorce, mediated divorce, etc. — choosing a qualified family law and divorce lawyer is the first step to a better life for you and your children. Don't settle for just good enough when it comes to your future happiness and security. Do your homework and choose your divorce attorney wisely. For more information on child welfare issues, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' child welfare website.