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Birmingham AL Collaborative Divorce Law Blog

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Make Your Ex Your Ally: 10 Considerations to Embrace When You Have Kids


Studies show that improper handling of post-divorce life is what most adversely impacts children. But Texas psychologist and author Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D., has a radical solution for how to approach post-divorce parenting: Transform them into an ally.

“Treat your ex-spouse as a valued ally upon whom you depend to work toward a common objective—the welfare of the children,” says Pickhardt.
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Monday, May 13, 2019

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Five Essential Steps Women Should Take to Safeguard Health During Divorce

Those who have been through divorce often say it feels like their hearts were breaking. In truth, the emotional aspects of divorce can bring on physical manifestations that may lead to serious heart health issues. And although both men and women suffer when going through the process of divorce, research indicates that it may take a more serious physical toll on women. Understanding these risks –and what you can do to minimize them – are particularly important when going through the stress of divorce.

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Co-Parenting Goes Mobile: Six apps to keep your busy family harmonious after divorce

Mobile technology has transformed the way we communicate – especially for divorced parents. Not only does sending a text or email make it easier than ever to document communication between parents, there are also numerous apps designed especially for the complicated task of co-parenting.

There are many co-parenting apps available today. Here are six that provide features designed to take the headaches out of parenting after divorce.


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Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Child Custody Fact or Fiction? Test Your Knowledge of Alabama’s Child Custody Law


“I thought if we divorced, my son’s life would be ruined.” Statements like this often keep parents in relationships long after they have become unhealthy and unloving. Recent research indicates, however, that staying together for the sake of the kids despite unhealthy behavior on the part of one or both parents is more harmful than deciding to part ways. In these cases, divorce can provide a healthier environment for children and parents alike.

Understanding the law may help those who are hesitant to divorce to come to terms with how their children will fare during and after divorce.


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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I’m Divorced. Now What? Five Essential Steps to Take:

You’ve met with your attorney, filed for divorce, hashed things out with your ex, divvyed up your assets. At long last, the day has arrived when a judge declares you divorced. Think you’re done with the divorce process? Think again.

When it comes to legal and financial matters, the days, weeks and months immediately following the legal finalization of your divorce are among the most important. This is the time when you follow through on the instructions laid out by your divorce agreement. In other words, just because the decree says you get the house and he gets the car, doesn’t mean those assets magically transfer ownership of themselves.


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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Applying for Your Child’s Passport After Divorce? Plan Ahead

If you’re divorced and planning a big vacation with your kids outside the U.S. there’s one crucial detail to remember: Apply for their passports ASAP.


All children — even newborns — are required to have a passport for international travel. When your child is under the age of 16 and you share custody, both parents must demonstrate consent. Not only do your children need to be present for the in-person application appearance, your ex will need to be there, too. This is just one step in the process that can take months to complete — and rightfully so. These strict guidelines are in place to protect the welfare of your children.


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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Take Charge of Your Change: Five Easy Ways to Cut Expenses and Jump-Start Savings After Divorce

Creating a budget is one of the first empowering steps when parting ways from your spouse. But once you ascertain your financial footing, then what? For many people, getting a handle of expenses and/or setting aside money in savings becomes the goal.

“You’ll only start saving money when you develop healthy money habits and your future needs become more important than your current wants,” says Dave Ramsey, money-management guru, radio talk-show host, and best-selling author. “It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. With a few tweaks to your spending priorities, you’ll be on the fast track to saving money in no time.”

The best way to change your spending habits is to find small ways to defray costs and channel that money into savings so you don’t even feel the pinch. Consider these tips to begin saving money and cutting unnecessary expenses right away.

Tip 1 - BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch): If you work in an office, it’s easy to get into the habit of picking up lunch (and even breakfast and dinner) on the go. But a simple shift can save you $100 a month – or more! Planning ahead at the grocery store, bringing leftovers or making lunch-able items at home is not only less expensive that eating out, it can also be more healthful. Likewise, if you tend to eat dinner out frequently or pick up fast-food for the kids on a regular basis, there’s a great opportunity to save money by making more meals at home. Potential annual savings: $1200+


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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Post-Divorce Budget: Taking the first step to financial freedom

There are many aspects of divorce that can be hard to predict or control —such as the emotional fallout, how your kids will respond, or the impact on your extended family and friends — but you can count on one thing: Your finances will change. And yet few people consider this inevitability until after the ink on their divorce papers is dry.

“Most people don’t prepare themselves financially or emotionally,” says Fada Baradihj, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst. “More often than not, the standard of living of both spouses drops in the first few years after divorce, because the same cumulative income and pool of assets now has to support two households instead of one.”

The good news? If you take a proactive approach, you can minimize the stress this aspect of divorce may cause. As you start your life over as a single person, you can begin to gain better understanding of your relationship with money, rein in spending, minimize debt, and build up savings. The first step? Create a budget.

Say the word budget and many people think of deprivation or “tightening the belt.” While you may need to trim expenses, the exercise of creating a budget is designed to help you understand how much income you realistically need to cover your typical expenses. Only then can you make smart choices about saving and spending.

“Develop a budget based on needs– not wants – and keep in mind that your expenses need to stay within your post-divorce income,” Baradihj says. “Consider all sources of income – including spousal and child support, keeping in mind that they won’t last forever – as well as investment income.”


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Thursday, March 21, 2019

What’s in a Name? How to Reclaim Your Identity After Divorce

Your divorce is final. Although your divorce agreement provides an accounting of who gets what, for women, there’s an asset that remains unresolved: Your name. How and when you decide to change your name is up to you, but in the state of Alabama, there are specific steps to take in order to revert to your maiden or pre-marital name.

Step 1: Go online to download the petition required for the county in which you live. Each county provides its own form and specific requirements. (Click here for the link to the Jefferson County name change instructions; and click here to download  the Jefferson County name change petition.)

Step 2: Complete the petition provided by the Probate Court. An Alabama driver’s license, birth certificate, supporting marriage and divorce documents and two proofs of residency (such as a current utility bill, voter registration card, deed, mortgage, renter’s contract, etc.) must be provided upon filing petition. Post office box address are not accepted. You are not required to have an attorney to file.

Step 3: Sign the form in front of notary. The petition must be witnessed, signed, and sealed by a licensed notary. (Your financial institution or bank may provide a notary service at no charge. Or you can find a list of notaries online. Some business services providers, such as The UPS Store, provide notary service for a fee.)

Step 4: File your signed and notarized petition in person with the Probate Court Clerk. You must bring the required documentation (See Step 2) and cash or money order. At that time, you will be required to pay between $65 and $80, depending upon the number of copies made.


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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

How to Have a Loving Relationship with ... Money: Rethinking your finances after divorce.

Divorce can open your eyes to many realities. Beyond considering future romantic relationships, you may realize a need to re-evaluate your feelings about financial matters. And it’s probably about time.

“One of the first things I had to do (after my divorce) was come to terms with what caused my problems with money in the first place,” writes divorcee Crystal Sands in an article for the Banger Daily News. “I had grown up poor, and I think a fear of ‘being without’ was driving me emotionally. I made a lot of poor purchasing decisions, including the money pit house from my first marriage. I didn’t understand that my efforts to surround myself with more were actually leading me down a path to less.”


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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

How to Tell the World You’re Through: Five Tips from the Stars

One of the hardest parts of divorcing can be breaking the news to your family, friends and colleagues. No matter how eminent the ending, telling your nearest and dearest that your marriage is over makes it real. You also may not wish to share details of your break-up (and it’s wise if you don’t in most cases) and this can lead to awkward silences and/or idle speculation. But how do you say enough without telling too much?

When making your intentions to separate public, take a cue from people who are accustomed to being in the public eye. A quick look through the most recent celebrity breakups provides insight on how to share the news of your impending divorce without baring your soul — or throwing your ex under the bus.


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