Alabama Divorce Update: Important Legal Definitions for Divorce and Legal Separation — Part 2

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Nov 19, 2009 | 0 Comments

When considering divorce it is always a good idea to find a qualified family law attorney or divorce lawyer to help guide you through the labyrinth of laws and legal requirements. As a Birmingham divorce attorney I look out for the best interests of my clients went representing them in divorce court. Whether you are a husband or wife, this is a stress-filled time for many people, and my approach to compassionate representation during all phases of legal separation, divorce, child custody and other marital and post-marital agreements remains one of sympathetic, yet aggressive advocacy.

My years of experience in divorce-related and family law matters has equipped me to provide the necessary counsel during one of the most trying times in a person's life. Here are some additional legal terms you may run across when facing a divorce or separation in the state of Alabama.

Alimony, Maintenance, Spousal Support
The awarding of alimony is determined by the court based on the need of the spouse requesting alimony and the ability of the other to pay. If fault is a factor in the divorce, the judge has the right to make an allowance to either spouse out of the estate of either spouse, or not make an allowance as the circumstances of the case may justify. However, any property acquired prior to the marriage of the parties or by inheritance or gift may not be considered in determining the amount of alimony.

Child Custody
Child support is determined using the Income Shares model, with the theory that children should continue to receive that same amount of support as if the parents were still together.

Child Custody
The courts in Alabama strives to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. The court shall in every case consider joint custody, however it may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child.

Joint custody does not necessarily mean equal physical custody. In determining whether joint custody is in the best interest of the child, courts typically consider the same factors considered in awarding sole legal and physical custody and all of the following factors:

  1. The agreement or lack of agreement of the parents on joint custody
  2. The past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly
  3. The ability of the parents to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent
  4. Any history of or potential for child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping
  5. The geographic proximity of the parents to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of joint physical custody

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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