Guiding Clients Through the Divorce Process in Huntsville
Family law is a very specific type of law that is especially important for helping families move forward through troubling situations. This includes divorce concerns but also encompasses matters such as prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, child custody, child support, and more – generally, any legal issues that affect the family. If you have any such concern, an experienced Huntsville family attorney can help, and you should contact Cloud, Ryan & Rouse today.
Common Divorce Issues
Huntsville Family attorneys often deal with divorce issues, including:
- The division of marital property
- Child custody arrangements
- Child support
- Spousal support (or alimony)
Each of these plays a critical role in divorce and can have a significant effect on your future. Let’s take a closer look at each.
The Division of Marital Property
In Alabama, like many other states, the property that you acquired together as a couple is generally considered marital property, which is to be divided between the two of you equitably – or fairly – rather than equally upon divorce. While this may sound easy enough, many factors can affect the outcome, and it can become very complicated very quickly. High asset divorces and divorces that involve owning a business can be especially difficult. Ensuring that your marital property is divided in a manner that protects your rights is critical to you and your children’s financial future and should be taken into careful consideration in the divorce process.
Child Custody Arrangements
If you have children, your primary concern in your divorce is often their ongoing well-being and happiness. Generally, one parent becomes the primary custodial parent with whom the children live most of the time, and the other parent has a visitation schedule. The fact is, however, that even if you have primary physical custody, your children will not be living with you full-time the way they once did, and this can be a very difficult adjustment. Suffice to say that child custody issues are often difficult, but that a savvy Huntsville family attorney can help you find a path forward that reduces some of the hardship, and that allows you to create a new normal with your kids.
In addition to determining how to divide physical custody, there is also legal custody to consider. Legal custody refers to the parental rights and responsibilities related to making important decisions on behalf of your children. This includes decisions related to:
- Their education
- Their extracurricular activities
- Their religious upbringing
- Their medical care
Except in extreme situations, both parents typically share these rights and responsibilities and must make these important decisions in tandem.
Generally, the parent who has the visitation schedule pays the primary custodial parent child support to help him or her take care of the children on a daily basis. While the State of Alabama expects both parents to financially contribute to raising their shared children, the parent with whom they reside is considered to be contributing his or her fair share by taking care of the children’s daily needs.
Spousal support is what most of us consider alimony, and it refers to the support one divorced spouse pays the other in an effort to somewhat level the financial playing field – so to speak – post-divorce. If one spouse’s assets are far less than the other’s and he or she has less ability to earn into the future, the court may offset this discrepancy with alimony. While there is no guarantee that you will receive alimony in your divorce, several factors can make it far more likely, including:
- A marriage of considerable duration
- A marriage in which one spouse sacrificed his or her career to help the other spouse expand his or her own
- A marriage in which one spouse stayed home to care for the children – thus decreasing his or her current earning potential
The amount and duration of alimony is predicated on factors such as these.
Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements
You’ve probably heard of prenuptial agreements – also called prenups – but may be less familiar with postnuptial agreements. Both are legally binding contracts that are designed to spell out the details if your marriage does end in divorce. These agreements cannot, however, address issues related to child custody arrangements or child support – these are issues that must be determined in real time (either between you and your divorcing spouse or by the court on your behalves).
A prenuptial agreement is drawn up before the marriage takes place and goes into effect as soon as you are married. A postnuptial agreement, on the other hand, is created during the marriage – often because the prenup no longer pertains to the circumstances of your marriage or because you had no prenuptial agreement. Far from being a sign that you expect a divorce in your future, these legal contracts can help you better recognize what a divorce would actually mean for you and can help you focus on what it takes to keep your marriage healthy. There are many reasons to consider a prenup or postnuptial agreement, and an experienced Huntsville family attorney will help you explore your needs and options.
Child Custody Modifications
Family lawyers are also there for you if you need to make modifications to your child custody arrangements (and/or child support) post-divorce. As your children grow up, their needs – and therefore, your responsibilities as a parent – change. Sometimes, a modification to your child custody arrangements is in order.
If a change in circumstances leaves you in need of such a modification, the court will hear your request, but the burden is on you to demonstrate that such a change is in the best interest of your children. If, for example, your children have an opportunity to attend a school at a different location that better addresses their specific needs, the court may consider your request for a modification involving a change of location.
An Experienced Huntsville Family Attorney Can help
If you have family law concerns, the dedicated legal team at Cloud, Ryan & Rouse in Huntsville are committed to helping you explore your best legal options and finding solutions that work for you and your children. We’re on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 256-801-1000 for a consultation today.