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Delk & Tomlinson Law | Family Law for Men Montgomery AL


By delktomli48103527, Apr 7 2017 09:36PM

Since 2003, every custody determination must include with the order of custody the language of the Alabama Parent-Child Relationship Protection Act, otherwise known as the “relocation act.” The Act was implemented to promote the “general philosophy in this state that children need both parents, even after divorce.” It requires relocating parents to take certain procedural steps prior to any change in their principal address, to ensure that children have access to both parents. The most important thing to remember about the Act is to carefully follow the instructions laid out in the Act.

The Act requires any party, whether they have primary physical custody or visitation rights, to notify the other party prior to moving more than sixty (60) miles or more from the residence of the non-relocating party. Notice must also be given where the move is less than sixty (60) miles from the non-relocating parent, but will result in the child living in another state. This notice must be sent by certified mail forty-five (45) days prior to the intended move. If for some reason, you do not know of the relocation in sufficient time to provide a forty-five (45) day notice, you must give notice by certified mail no later than the 10th day after you know you’re moving.

The notice must contain very specific information, such as: (1) the intended new residence, including the specific address if known; (2) the mailing address, if not the same as the street address; (3) the telephone number or numbers at such residence, if known; (4) if applicable, the name, address, and telephone number of the school to be attended by the child, if known; (5) the date of the intended change of principal residence of a child; (6) a statement of specific reasons for the proposed change of principal residence of a child, if applicable; (7) a proposal for a revised schedule of custody of or visitation with a child, if any, and; (8) a warning to the non-relocating person that an objection to the relocation must be made within thirty (30) days of receipt of the notice or the relocation will be permitted. There are certain exceptions if you are under Military orders.

Failure to notify the non-relocating party of an intended change in principal residence may be considered in a subsequent case. On the other hand, if the non-relocating party receives the notice required by the Act and doesn’t file an objection within thirty (30) days, the change of principal residence is authorized.

If the non-relocating party does object, a hearing will be held to determine whether the relocation is in the best interests of the child. In cases where the court approves the change in residence, it will require “contact between the child and the non-relocating party and telephone access sufficient to assure that the child has frequent, continuing, and meaningful contact with the non-relocating party.” Issues of transportation cost of the child for visitation will also be decided based upon the facts of the case. The court may determine that a deviation from the child support guidelines should be considered in light of all factors, including the costs of transporting the child for visitation.

It is very important for both parties/parents to abide by this Act. Failing to give notice or to object to the Act could result in you losing custodial time with your child. The courts have discretion when determining whether you violated the Act and tend to frown on situations where you willfully defy the Act. It is best for all parties involved, including your minor children, if you abide by the Act and give notice.

If you have any questions concerning the Alabama Parent-Child Relationship Act, please call our office at (334) 819-4810.

By delktomli48103527, Mar 24 2017 08:47PM

There are many things that attorneys can argue over, but the calculation of child support pursuant to the guidelines is not one of them. This is one of the most black and white areas of family law. Hopefully, this blog post will give you some insight to how child support is calculated.

There are several factors that the rule regarding child support takes into account, which include the combined gross monthly income of both parents, each parent’s gross income as a percentage of the combined gross income, the amount that the Alabama Legislature has determined is necessary to raise the number of children you have together, any pre-existing child support or alimony orders, the amount paid for work-related childcare, and the amount paid for health insurance for the child or children, and which parent is paying that expense.

The gross monthly income is your income BEFORE taxes are deducted. Both parties are required under penalty of perjury to disclose ALL income sources. However, there are several things that do not qualify as income which your attorney can explain to you. The pre-existing child support or alimony orders can reduce your gross monthly income in child support calculations.

Being unemployed or underemployed does not extinguish your child support obligation. The court will impute income to an individual that it finds to be voluntarily unemployed or underemployed. If the court finds that an individual is voluntarily underemployed, the court focuses on several factors such as the employment potential and probable earning level of that parent, based upon that parent’s work history, education, and occupational qualifications, and on the job opportunities and earning levels in their community.

Work-related childcare costs are then added to the total amount of money that the Alabama Legislature has deemed necessary to raise the number of children you have with the party. However, there are limits as to how much daycare expenses can raise your child support obligation. Each parent’s percentage of the total of the combined gross income of the parents is then applied to that amount. This gives you the child support amount that you would owe monthly. However, health insurance comes into play and can reduce one parent’s obligation, and determining the amount you can claim for health insurance can be tricky—it is not simply the difference between single and family coverage.

After you have provided the figures to your attorney, your attorney can then calculate the correct amount of child support that you owe. Most of these figures, excluding childcare costs, can be found on your paystub or taxes.

There are a couple of specific situations that can alter the way child support is calculated. The most common reason to calculate child support outside of the guidelines is true joint physical custody. There is no place in the rule for joint physical custody, which is where the child spends the same amount of time with both parents and neither party has primary physical custody. If this is your situation, you should consult a local attorney to help you.

Different judges have different ways of handling child support in these situations, and a local attorney will be able to give you more insight into how a specific court will calculate child support.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. If you are struggling with a child support issue yourself, please call our office at (334) 819-4810 for a consultation.

By delktomli48103527, Mar 17 2017 04:07PM

We have many clients who don’t work 9-5 jobs, like shift workers or military personnel. It’s our job to find a schedule that works for you. Shift work and military deployments do not automatically ensure that your children will stay with the other party. Many clients who work shift work or are military, reserves and active duty, immediately assume that the other party will be granted primary physical custody of the children. While this may have been the case years ago, many courts are leaning toward shared physical custody.

Shared physical custody does not necessarily mean fifty-fifty custody. In fact, in many cases, it is not. Every case is different and every case requires its own custodial schedule. There are several ways to deal with the odd hours or changes in your work schedule.

If you can settle your case outside of court, you have the most flexibility with regards to the custodial schedule. In any agreement, your attorney should try their best to ensure that every possible scenario is accounted for. Rotating shift work may require the attorney to try to include a rotating custodial schedule. Set shift work may have a schedule based off the shift you are on. Your attorney should try to factor in military deployments and drill weekends. The attorney should also try to include a catchall provision that considers your changing schedule and allows for the parties to reschedule custodial time if necessary, but that the rescheduling must allow you to have the same amount of time with your children as before. In other words, the schedule may change, but your time with your children won’t.

It is more difficult to get such a detailed order from the court, but not impossible. The opposing party must show that it is not in the best interest of your children to share physical custody. If the opposing party fails to meet that burden, we must then show the court the schedule that we believe is in your children’s best interests. We do this through our complaint or answer as well as testimony. We set forth your work schedule, her work schedule, and specifically ask the Court for a specific schedule that is in the best interest of your children. In instances where the Court asks your attorney to prepare an order, she can include as detailed a schedule as if she were writing an agreement. In instances where the Court issues an order, we will deal with whatever he or she orders. If it is not a workable schedule, we can attempt to remedy that by filing a motion with the Court, setting forth the reasons the schedule doesn’t work and offering a schedule that does.

Bottom line, don’t give up before you even begin by assuming that you are not entitled to time with your children because of your work schedule. Your children are just as much yours as they are the other parent’s. If you are having concerns regarding custodial schedules, call our office at (334) 819-4810. We would be happy to help you figure out the best options for your schedule.

By delktomli48103527, Mar 10 2017 09:53PM

Often mediation is a tool used to settle divorce and child custody cases. Some parties willingly submit to mediation, while others are ordered by the court to mediate the case prior to having a final hearing. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that allows each party to have some control in reaching an agreement, rather than leaving the decision to the Judge. These are negotiations, which means that at a successful mediation, neither party leaves feeling like they won.

In most family court mediations, the parties and their attorneys are in separate rooms. The Mediator moves between the two. This is beneficial because tensions are usually high and, it is much easier to speak frankly with the Mediator outside of the opposing party’s presence. The Mediator’s job is to encourage the parties to settle and facilitate a settlement that is beneficial for all parties involved. The Mediator does not discuss anything you say with the opposing party unless you give him or her permission to discuss it with them. The Mediator listens to both sides and, relays offers and counter offers back and forth between the parties. Either a settlement is reached or the parties reach an impasse, and a good Mediator realizes settlement is impossible. This can be a long process. Be prepared, bring a book, and make sure your cell phone is charged.

If a settlement is reached, the Mediator will draft the settlement, and both parties will sign. At that point, it is a binding agreement and all parties are to act within the bounds of the agreement. Once you reach an Agreement and sign, it is very difficult to retract. If a settlement is not reached, the parties walk away and prepare for a final hearing. Nothing that occurs during the mediation can be used as evidence in a final hearing. This is to facilitate the parties’ willingness to negotiate to reach an agreement that all parties can live with.

Throughout the mediation, your attorney is there to help you negotiate to get what you ultimately need, and to ensure that any settlement reached is in your best interest.

By delktomli48103527, Feb 10 2017 11:05PM

We know it is only February, but school will be out in no time. The schedule changes that come along with summer can be stressful on all parties involved, especially your children. There are several things that you can begin taking care of now to make these changes less stressful on yourself, the other parent, and most importantly, your children.

First, if you are a non-custodial parent who is going to be enjoying more time with your children, it is time to make arrangements to be off work for as much of your custodial time as possible. It can sometimes be very difficult to get days off in the summer, and requesting leave now may make it less difficult. While we know that it may be impossible to get that much time off, you can plan for day camps or other activities for the children when you must be at work. Start looking into those types of programs now, as they may have sign-up deadlines.

Second, if you are a non-custodial parent who has plans to take the children on a trip during your summer custodial time, make sure that you comply with any order that requires you to notify the other parent or provide them with an itinerary. In fact, now is a good time to pull out that final order or settlement agreement to make sure that you are abiding by it. It is much better to do it now, than to wait and run into an issue the day before you are supposed to leave. While planning for a vacation with your kids make sure to get a list of their medications, allergies, pediatricians, and a list of emergency contacts, just in case you cannot reach the other parent in an emergency.

Third, have a conversation with the other parent about any current issues your children may be having. It is not uncommon for children, especially younger children, to have separation anxiety when their schedules change. The best person to help you with this transition is the other parent. They can encourage the change and help the children get used to the idea of being away from them longer than normal. You can facilitate the change by speaking to the children now about the plans you have made for your time with them. Get them involved in the planning stage. Get them excited about spending that time with you!

We hope these tips make the transition into summertime custodial schedules less stressful on all involved. Feel free to contact our office at (334) 819-4810 if you have any concerns or questions about your summer custodial time.

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