Frequently Asked Questions

Reputable Divorce Attorney in Birmingham, AL

At my firm, the Law Office of Zach Horsley, LLC, I am committed to helping individuals and families throughout Birmingham come up with creative solutions for their family law matters. I understand that divorce can be an overwhelming and complex process, but you do not have to navigate the Alabama family law system alone.

What are the grounds for divorce?
As a hybrid state, you can either base your divorce on fault or no-fault grounds. Parties often consider fault grounds to gain advantage over a contested matter, such as child custody, child support, property division, or the amount of alimony.

What is the difference between an uncontested and contested divorce?
An uncontested divorce is when the two spouses are able to agree on all matters, and do not need the court to make decisions for them regarding child custody, child support, alimony, or property division. A contested divorce is when the parties cannot agree on terms, and must go through a courtroom process where a judge will determine the important decisions for them.

What is the residency requirement for divorce?
When the defendant is a non-resident, the other party to the marriage must have been a bona fide resident of Alabama for at least six consecutive months prior to the filing of the divorce complaint.

How is property divided during a divorce?
If an agreement regarding property division cannot be reached, the Courts will decide. Alabama is known as an equitable distribution state, which means the court will determine what marital property is and what separate property is. In this particular context, "equitable distribution" refers to what is fair but not necessarily what is equal. Factors that can be assessed when determining equitable distribution of property could include:

  • Length of marriage
  • Age
  • Health of each spouse
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Ones contribution to education, training, or increased earning power
  • Services as a parent, wage earner, or homemaker
  • General type and value of property
  • Tax consequences
  • The needs of the parties
  • Other sums of income (retirement, etc.)
  • Living arrangement of the parties
  • Existence of at-fault behavior

The court cannot distribute property that is separate. Separate property can be obtained before and even during the marriage. Separate property consists of but is not limited to gifts and inheritances unless the previous mentioned has been used to benefit both spouses as a married couple. Comingling often becomes an issue, especially in regards to checking/savings accounts. Fault grounds may be taken as a consideration when the courts distribute and award property to the respective parties.

What are the child custody guidelines?
When determining child custody matters, the court will begin with the presumption that it is best for the children to have frequent and continuing contact with both of their parents after divorce. This is why judges typically support joint custody arrangements whenever possible. When it comes to deciding actual custody, the children's best interests will always be the number-one priority.

What are the child support guidelines?
Alabama requires that both parents support their children, even after a divorce. The amount of child support will depend primarily on each parent's income, other resources, and how much time each parent spends with the children. Additionally, at times the courts will attribute income to a parent that has the ability to earn more than he or she is actually earning.

What is the threshold / standard for modifying child support?
Generally the courts will look to a 10 percent difference in income from the time the child support was initially ordered.

What is the standard / burden that must be met to modify a child custody or visitation arrangement?
The courts look to Mclendon Case Law. The moving party must show a material change in circumstances since the last court order. Most importantly, the courts will require proof that the modification of custody / visitation will be in the child's best interest.

Let me help you find a solution – contact my firm today!

For any questions you may have regarding family law, do not hesitate to contact my firm. Whether you are going through divorce or a complex child custody battle, I possess the resources and skills needed to assist you.

Initial consultations are free, so do not wait to get started on your case today!

Birmingham Divorce Attorney

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Law Office of Zach Horsley, LLC
Birmingham Divorce Attorney
1929 3rd Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
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