Birmingham AL Collaborative Divorce Law Blog

Monday, February 6, 2017

Assessing Your Options: Divorce Mediation Could A Third-Party Negotiator Make Your Divorce Easier?

Divorce is not one size fits all. Although the Hollywood version of divorce often depicts couples fighting it out before a judge, 90% of all divorces are settled out of court. A variety of factors — such as whether or not minor children are involved, alimony is being disputed, or when there are hi-net worth assets — may influence the way you go about divorce.  Depending upon the situation, mediation is one means of resolving issues that divorcing couples may find useful.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Strings Attached: Financial Abuse Defined

Four Strategies to Put Into Action

Although it often goes undetected, over one in 12 Americans experiences financial abuse.[1] It is often tied to cases of domestic violence, but can also occur in situations in which there is no other violence or abusive conduct. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, “financial abuse, while less commonly understood, is one of the most powerful methods of keeping a survivor trapped in an abusive relationship and deeply diminishes her ability to stay safe after leaving an abusive relationship.” [2]

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Why Social Media May Not Be Your Friend

Guidelines for divorcing in the digital age

For most of us, social media is a daily part of our lives. We love to share everything from images of cute pets to our political rants. Even under the best circumstances, texts, email and social media posts may be misconstrued or taken out of context. But when you’re in the process of divorce, considering what you send —before you post— becomes even more important.

“Going through a divorce always results in heightened levels of personal scrutiny.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Should You Stay, Or Should You Go? Listening to your motives may provide insight

When it comes to making the decision to divorce, no one can answer that question for you. The fact that nearly one half of all marriages end in divorce indicates that there are many reasons to part ways. Research shows that infidelity, physical, emotional or financial abuse, and addiction top the list of reasons why couples split.[1] But the impetus to make any decision comes down to one key factor: motive.

Exploring the rationale behind your desire to make life changes reveals a lot.

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Navigating Divorce with Children

Five ways to ease the long-term effects

When it comes to how your divorce will affect your children, no one has a crystal ball. But there are some actions you can take to help ease the transition. Experts have found that children's psychological reactions to their parents' divorce vary in degree dependent on three factors:

  • The quality of their relationship with each of their parents before the separation;
  • The intensity and duration of the parental conflict;
  • The parents' ability to focus on the needs of children in their divorce.[1]

Although you can’t control your child’s response to divorce, keeping these three factors in mind, you may mitigate the impact by focusing on the following aspects of family life that are within your control.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

When Should I Talk to an Attorney?

Taking action doesn’t have to signal divorce. It means taking charge of your life.

For most people, divorce is a difficult decision that comes after a period (often years, even decades) of unhappy marriage. Even still, the act of meeting with a divorce attorney can feel overwhelming. For many, that meeting symbolizes the end of the relationship — or the demise of an ideal. In fact, meeting with a knowledgeable attorney can be the beginning of a new start — whether you decide to divorce or not.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Are You Getting Sound Advice?

Four principles for finding answers when you’re going through divorce

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't.” — Erica Jong, novelist & poet

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Monday, August 22, 2016

Things to Consider When Picking an Executor

The role of an executor is to effectuate a deceased person’s wishes as declared in a will after he or she has passed on. The executor’s responsibilities include the distribution of assets according to the will, the maintenance of assets until the will is settled, and the paying of estate bills and debts. An old joke says that you should choose an enemy to perform the task because it is such a thankless job, even though the executor may take a percentage of the estate’s assets as a fee. The following issues should be considered when choosing an executor for one's estate.

Competency: The executor of an estate will be going through financial and legal documents and transferring documents from the testator to the beneficiaries. If there are legal proceedings, the executor must make all necessary court appearances. There is no requirement that a testator have any financial or legal training, but familiarity with these areas does avoid the intimidation felt by lay people, and potentially saves money on professional fees.

Trustworthiness: The signature of an executor is equivalent to that of the testator of an estate. The executor has full control over all of an estate’s assets. He or she will be required to go through all of the papers of the deceased to confirm what assets are available to be distributed. The temptation to transfer assets into the executor's own name always exists, particularly when there is a large estate. It is important to choose a person with integrity who will resist this temptation. It makes sense to utilize an individual who is an heir to fill the role to alleviate this concern.

Availability: The work of collecting rents, maintaining property, and paying debts can take more than a few hours a week. Selecting an executor with significant obligations to work or family may cause problems if he or she does not have the time available to devote to the task. If an executor must travel great distances to address issues that arise, there will be more of a time commitment necessary, not to mention greater expenses for the estate.

Family dynamics: Selection of the wrong person to act as executor can create resentment and hostility among an estate’s heirs. A testator should be aware of how family members interact with one another and avoid picking someone who may provoke conflict. Even the perception of impropriety can lead to a lawsuit, which will serve to take money out of the estate’s coffers and delay the legitimate distribution of the estate. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Domestic Violence & Protection From Abuse in Alabama

Domestic violence is an act that, like skipping stones into a pond, leaves ripples in its wake. Regrettably, what's left behind isn't just a puddle of water; it leaves damage ranging from emotional turmoil, to physical and emotional scarring that takes years to heal, and it creates legal problems. In the case of parents, domestic violence can affect who is awarded custody.  Like the emotional turmoil and legal problems mentioned above, the ripples of domestic violence into family law, child custody, and visitation determinations is widespread and deeper than many realize.

One of the most common misconceptions about Domestic Violence is that victims often believe that because they weren’t physically struck or wounded, the issue at hand is simply a “disagreement” and not abuse.

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Monday, June 6, 2016


While talks pertaining to divorce, death, and/or estate planning are hardly welcome ones in a loving and committed marriage or partnership, couples must realize that frank and honest discussions about divisions of property and assets are an absolute necessity.  This is doubly true and important when couples may have children from prior marriages or hold significant assets, especially assets attained prior to the partnership or marriage.  There is also now added complexity for same sex couples in Alabama as a result of last year’s Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling in Obergefell v.
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Monday, June 6, 2016

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Estate Planning

Estate planning is designed to fulfill the wishes of a person after his or her death. Problems can easily arise, however, if the estate plan contains unanswered questions that can no longer be resolved after the person's demise. This can, and frequently does, lead to costly litigation counter-productive to the goals of the estate. It is important that a Will and Trust be written in language that is clear and that the document has been well proofread because something as simple as a misplaced comma can significantly alter its meaning.

Planning for every possible contingency is a significant part of estate planning.
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