About Divorce Attorney Tommy Davis
Q: Where are your offices located?
A: Our offices are located in Birmingham, Alabama. We are in the Historic A. B. Loveman House in the Highland Park neighborhood near St. Vincent’s Hospital, for convenient access. Our office is set up to be comfortable and welcoming to anyone interested in discussing my services.
Q: Do you offer free consultation?
A: We do not offer a free consultation. Due to the nature of our practice, we find that our best clients are those who understand that time is valuable. We do offer a consultation at a reduced rate: $150 for approximately forty-five minutes.
Q: How much is a consultation?
A: Our consultation fee is $150. For the consultation fee, we accept cash and checks.
Q: What areas of Alabama do you cover in your practice?
A: My office is in Birmingham, Alabama and therefore my practice is centered here, but I take on clients from all parts of Birmingham and surrounding counties. These service areas include, Jefferson County, Shelby County, Tuscaloosa County, Blount County, Bibb County, St. Clair County, and Talladega County.
Q: What if I have further questions about your practice?
QUESTIONS ABOUT DIVORCE IN ALABAMA
Q: What are the legal requirements for divorce?
A: Aside from state residency, divorce is Alabama is granted for a variety of reasons. Some examples include adultery, incompatibility, domestic violence, voluntary abandonment for more than one year, and one partner keeping information from the other at the time of marriage, such as a previous marriage or current pregnancy. However, most divorces are granted on the legal grounds of incompatibility.
This is not a complete list, so it is best to contact an attorney to discuss the details of your situation.
Q: What are the primary issues addressed in a divorce?
A: The four primary issues addressed for resolution during Alabama divorce proceedings are:
- parenting (custody and visitation);
- division of assets and debts;
- child support;
- spousal support.
Q: Does Alabama have common law marriage?
A: Yes, Alabama does have laws related to common law marriages. A couple can be married without a ceremony or exchange of verbal vows under certain conditions of cohabitation. We are one of only seven states still recognizing common law marriage; however, due to a recent change in Alabama law, common law marriages can no longer be entered into. Those who would be previously considered to be married at common law, are still married. However, effective January 1, 2017, the only way to create a new marital relationship is to have a marriage license and ceremony. This will, over time, clear up confusion–both among lawyers and their clients.
Q: How is child custody between parents decided in Alabama?
A: A child’s natural parent has custody rights over a third party unless the natural parent is unfit for parenthood. When a dispute between two biological parents, the best interest and welfare of the child is the deciding factor. Some specific factors in this decision include:
- Sex and age of the child;
- Emotional, social, material, educational, and moral needs of the child;
- Characteristics and capacity of each parent in their ability to provide for needs;
- Interpersonal relationships between the child and parents as well as other children;
- Home environments offered by each party; and
- The preference of the child if the child is of appropriate age and maturity to make that decision.
Q: What is the difference between Alimony in Gross vs. Periodic Alimony:
A: While these differences can be complicated and misunderstood, alimony in gross is compensation for the present value of a partner’s marital rights to the estate as it exists at the time of divorce. The times and amounts of payment are established and cannot be modified. Alimony in gross is not eliminated in the event of remarriage, where periodic alimony typically is. Alimony in gross is generally non-taxable, while periodic alimony can be considered deductible by the payor, and is included in the gross income of the payee.
For specific details, it is best to contact an attorney.
Q: How does legal separation work?
A: In some cases even where the marriage is not terminated, an Alabama court may enter a decree of legal separation. In these cases, the court is able to address the issues of asset division and child custody.
For questions about the specifics of your case, please contact an attorney.
Q: What is equitable distribution?
A: This is the process used by the courts in Alabama to divide assets and debts between parties during a divorce. It is noteworthy that equitable does not mean equal, but rather a division that is fair based on the acquisitions by a couple for the duration of their marriage. There are not established standards for this, and judges make this distribution on a case by case basis after considering each specific circumstance.
Q: How is child support in Alabama determined?
A: Unlike equitable distribution of assets and debts, child support does have established guidelines in a family law case. The Alabama Supreme Court has created these guidelines with a calculated formula based on the percentage of money contributed by each parent compared to the gross income of each party, as well as factors like health insurance and costs of special needs. It is known as the “income shares” model.