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St. Clair County Family Law Attorney

Our families can provide some of the most cherished moments of our lives. Sometimes legal issues can arise that families cannot solve independently. It can be difficult for family members to look objectively at the problem without the help of an experienced attorney.

If you are experiencing a family law matter, you need the assistance of a skilled attorney who can provide legal advice to resolve your issues quickly. Jim Golden Law is a law firm dedicated to helping families resolve their legal disputes and resume their lives.

Our highly trained family law attorney will gladly sit down with you to determine your needs and how we may be able to assist you. Contact our law offices and ask to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options.

What Types of Legal Issues Does a Family Law Attorney Handle?

A family law attorney is capable of handling the many issues that develop between individuals in families, including:

  • Divorce
  • Adoption
  • Separation
  • Spousal support
  • Mediation
  • Child support
  • Child custody/visitation
  • Guardianship
  • Paternity
  • Domestic violence

Jim Golden Law recognizes all of these issues can be stressful to deal with and leave you feeling overwhelmed and unsure where to turn for help. Furthermore, family law issues can be overly complex and challenging to try and navigate without legal training. For this reason, you must seek qualified legal representation immediately.

Our experienced family law attorney can evaluate your issues impartially and determine appropriate legal action.

What is the Difference Between a Contested and Uncontested Divorce?

Filing for a divorce can be difficult for any married couple to make. No one ever wants to believe they will end up divorced, but sadly many people realize it’s their only option. Alabama allows for two different types of divorce, contested and uncontested.

Contested Divorce

Alabama law dictates that one spouse must present legal grounds alleging why they wish to end their marriage and file for a contested divorce. Legal grounds for a divorce in Alabama include:

  • Adultery
  • Irreconcilable differences
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Drug addiction
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Imprisonment
  • Inability to maintain employment.
  • Lack of physical intimacy

A spouse may file for a contested divorce for various other reasons unrelated to the fault grounds. For example, if either party is not agreeable to the divorce, it may be wise to file for a contested divorce.

In many cases, one spouse may want a divorce while the other is adamantly against it. Obviously, this can cause the two parties not to be able to agree on critical issues that can cause further contention.

Some other common factors that may cause an individual to file for a contested divorce include:

  • The spouses cannot agree on critical elements of the divorce, such as spousal support, child custody, or property division: One of the most critical aspects of a divorce is deciding essential issues that deal with life for each spouse after the divorce.
  • One spouse cannot be located.: One spouse may want a divorce but is not sure where the other spouse resides, making it hard to begin the legal process.

If any of these issues present a problem in obtaining a divorce, filing for a contested divorce is in your best interest. Marital issues that involve any support or visitation can have lasting consequences for both spouses that should not take lightly and, if necessary, be worked out through litigation.

In many contested divorce actions where key issues cannot be agreed upon, the judge will order that both parties meet with a neutral third party known as a mediator. The mediator will work closely with both sides to obtain a mutual resolution to the issues that must be worked out.

The length of time that it takes to obtain a contested divorce can range anywhere from 30 days to months or even years, depending on the marital issues that need to be resolved. In extreme cases involving a great deal of wealth or complex property division issues, a contested divorce could take years to complete.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is typically much simpler to work through as both parties have already agreed on key issues that pertain to them, such as child support, visitation, and spousal support. In addition, unlike a contested divorce, one spouse needs to state that they are incompatible and cannot live together anymore or there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

Spouses may file for an uncontested divorce in Alabama if they both live in the state. However, if one spouse lives out of state, the individual filing for a divorce must be a resident of Alabama for at least 6 months before filing.

An uncontested divorce typically takes anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks to be completed and may depend significantly on the backlog of cases on the court docket.

If you have decided that divorce is your only option, contact our law firm and ask to schedule an appointment to discuss your case. Then, we can evaluate your situation and determine which divorce option is best for you.

What Types of Child Custody Are Available in Alabama?

Alabama has five different types of child custody arrangements available to parents. A trial court judge will decide the type of custody you are ultimately awarded. Jim Golden Law realizes how stressful it can be to worry about the time you will be allowed to spend with your child and the long-lasting impact on both of you. Therefore, our law firm is passionately committed to providing quality legal assistance.

The five custody arrangements in Alabama include:

  • Joint legal custody: Both parents have equal rights to make important decisions regarding the child’s schooling, religious beliefs, and healthcare.
  • Joint physical custody: Both parents spend a great deal of time with the children, but not necessarily an equal amount of time. This type of custody is granted to ensure that both parents have the opportunity to bond with the child.
  • Joint custody: When both parents have joint legal and physical custody rights.
  • Sole legal custody: Only one parent is granted the right to make crucial decisions for the child regarding education, religion, and healthcare issues.
  • Sole physical custody: One parent retains physical custody of the child, while the other parent spends time with their child during scheduled visitation time.

The judge will consider a variety of factors when deciding child custody and will always rule based on what they consider to be in the child’s best interests. However, the most common type of child custody arrangement in Alabama is joint legal custody. In this arrangement, the child lives in a primary residence with one parent, but both parents have equal legal rights to make critical decisions.

Some of the factors the court considers when deciding child custody include:

  • The ability of each parent to care for the child.
  • The child’s physical and emotional needs
  • Any history of child abuse or parental kidnapping on the part of either parent
  • The ability of each parent to work together to make decisions for the child

Child custody can be one of the most contentious aspects of any family law case, as emotions typically run high for both parents. Therefore, you need our skilled family law attorney on your side who can act as your legal advocate and help you protect your rights and your child’s future.

Call Our St. Clair County Family Law Attorney Today!

If you are dealing with legal issues and find yourself in family court, you need an attorney who is not afraid to speak up to defend your rights. For example, in a divorce, you often need a lawyer who can stand up to opposing counsel during negotiations to ensure that your voice is heard.

Regardless of what type of family law case you need assistance with, Jim Golden Law can provide you with the legal representation you need to obtain favorable results and hopefully come to a mutual resolution with the other party.

Most individuals dealing with family law legal issues want them resolved as quickly as possible so they can continue their lives. Therefore, if we agree to take your case, our legal team will immediately get to work to start the legal process. We will never leave you wondering what is going on with your case and will keep you updated as to any changes or progress that may occur.

Contact Jim Golden Law and ask to schedule a free no-obligation consultation to learn how we may be able to assist you in your time of need.