Birmingham Family Law Attorneys: The Magic City Law Difference

Birmingham Family Law Attorney

Need help with your divorce? Give our family law boutique firm a call today at 205-582-2832.

You’re thinking about hiring a lawyer for your family law matter. Whether it be an adoption, custody case, or divorce, you’re not exactly sure who you want to hire. You have checked out a lot of lawyer websites but they all have a gavel, scales of justice, or some sort of laurel wreath. You’ve read through the schools, the length of practice, and how each person wants to try to sell themselves to you. After reading each bio, you’re still just as confused. You don’t know what you want. You don’t know what route to take.

We get it.

As a law firm, we didn’t know which route to take either.  It’s obviously, we’re young & we’re spunky. Our firm is new-ish to the market. We could try the ol’ “we have over “x” # of years of combined experience” line to make ourselves appear older, but we’re not. That’s not us. We get it, we’re young, but we do have years of experience. Most importantly, those years have been focused on one area of law. We spend each and every day gaining experience and expertise in family law. Here’s the Magic City difference. You let us know whether or not we’re the right fit for you by giving us a call.

  1. We want to be your friend and confidant.

First, we keep it real. We don’t attempt to make you feel like you’re stupid or uninformed when you come in our office. We aren’t trying to sell you on what our firm will and can achieve for you. We cannot do that. Each and every case is different. The most important parts of a case are the people and the facts. Here’s the thing, we cannot make you into a better person, we can only work with what you give us. We cannot make the opposing party into a better person, we can only work with what they give us. We will, however, speak to you – sometimes at length – and explain what is going on in terms that everyone can understand.

We make sure that when we talk to you about your case, you leave feeling like you just had a chat with your close friends. We don’t want you to feel like you’re ever bothering us, or that we’re above you. We’re in this together. Regardless of whether or not you just did something crazy.

  1. We work each case as a team.

That means you get two lawyers for the price of one.  Our firm doesn’t charge for two attorneys during our trials, but we work them together. To be the most effective firm we can be, we have to be on point all-of-the-time. One lawyer will do the questioning, while the other is watching the reactions of the people in the courtroom, especially the Judge. We do this, not only for you, but for ourselves. You see, April and I have very different personalities. We use that to improve each other. We may have one of us being aggressive, while the other is working the honey/sugar/niceties. Just remember that you’re on our team when you hire us, and when you hire us, you hire a team.

  1. We want to save you money.

We don’t want to bankrupt you while working to get you to a happier place. We want you to still call us and be our friend when everything is over. We want you to send other clients to us. We often will let you know, as a friend, “hey, those 25 phone calls last week, they’re depleting that retainer, fast. “ We do everything we can to save you money, and keep unnecessary expenses from happening. Although we love money, I mean it’s a material world and I’m a material girl, we don’t love it more than our clients.

4 Points On Standard Visitation Schedules

Looking to get more than a step visitation schedule? Afraid you won't get it because you're "not the mama"? Give us a call at 205-582-2832

Looking to get more than a step visitation schedule? Afraid you won’t get it because you’re “not the mama”? Give us a call at 205-582-2832

DISCLAIMER: We do not feel that we will take either side. Each case is evaluated on a case by case basis. We have simply seen that there are good fathers being disadvantaged due to the mere fact that they are the father and not the mother. This post is not intended to offend anyone in particular, but merely to give light to a way to fix a long standing issue.

Couple 1: Princess and Michael met in a bar one night. He had a hard day at work, and she was everything just right for that night. He was a little intoxicated. They ended up going home together where they inevitably made a baby. They continue to text each other from time to time. For months neither of them knows that Princess is pregnant. She continues to go out drinking, and takes different guys home. She works at a local strip club, and when times are tight, she sometimes gives the customers a little extra sum’n sum’n to get a bigger tip. They go on a few dates, but Princess has a different type of life than Michael who works an office job each and every day until 5. She has the baby, and has a new guy at this time, so she doesn’t tell Michael. When he eventually finds out via Instagram a year or so later (#wheresmychildsupport #wheresmaurywhenyouneedhim #19years19yearsandonthe19thbirthdayfoundoutitwasnthis) he immediately files for custody. He goes to court, and sits next to the other unwed couples awaiting to find out if this is his child. Turns out that Kleverleigh Un-Xpected does in fact belong to him. He, the working father, with no previous drug issues and nothing on his record, gets supervised visitation until the child is 3.

Couple 2: Claire and Robbie are childhood sweethearts. They get married in a small town on the outskirts of hunting territory and nowheresville. BAM, they’ve got six kids. She stays home, and he works to provide for the family. He’s always been involved with the kids. He comes home each night to take each of them to their various hobbies whether it be ninja ballet or laser tag football training camp. He bathes them, puts them to bed, and reads them their favorite stories. He goes to every single recital or game. Eventually the long hours to help feed all the little mouths begins to take a toll on the marriage. They decide to get a divorce. Robbie goes into the courtroom and realizes quickly that he’s getting supervised visits with two of his kids until they’re three and the rest? He gets them for every other weekend.

Couple 3: Claire and Robbie are childhood sweethearts. Instead of staying in that small town, they decide to move to a bigger city in the biggest county in the state. Again, Robbie’s always been involved with the kids. (Same facts as #2). They decide to get a divorce. Robbie gets joint custody.

Couple 4: Claire and Robbie are childhood sweethearts. He beats her/He does a lot of drugs/He partakes in child torture. He loses custody and gets supervised visitation. He blames the system and her for losing custody and having supervised visitation. He doesn’t understand why she won’t modify the agreement to give him more time with his kid. (This is the exception, and these are the ones that waste the mother’s money with modifications because they’ve gone to one or two counseling sessions or AA meetings and expect to get unsupervised visits with their children).

Obviously looking at the above situations, one could see why lawyers everywhere have to say to you that it depends on the judge, on the court, or on the situation for whether or not you will get custody. Your lawyer may be the type who doesn’t care to learn what each judge thinks regarding visitation and just encourages the ancient schedule to push settlement along, as well as your case. Sometimes you’re just on an assembly line with little thought being given to your case. The problem that we keep seeing at our firm is that there are good and loving fathers with no history of drug or alcohol abuse, nor any child abuse issues, who come into our office after they’ve signed an agreement that “grants” them the ancient step schedule where it gives the father a certain amount of time with the child depending on the child’s age such as (and they aren’t this “simple”):

ages 1-3: supervised visits for a few hours

Ages 3-5: one night every other weekend

Ages 5+: every other weekend

Here’s the short of it:

  1. A marriage makes a huge difference when it comes to custody, even in the best of counties. The difference between married parents and unmarried parents can make or break a custody case for the father of the child. It can put you into a different courthouse with a whole different set of rules. These rules normally point to the step visitation schedules mentioned above. If you are married, then you definitely need to know your rights before you sign them away. Further, you need to find out how your Judge feels about Fathers. If you are unmarried, please look to #4 then continue reading and read #4 again.
  2. Are these step visitation schedules based on age compliant with Alabama law? We would argue no. These types of visitation schedules that automatically increase without requiring proof of a material change in circumstances have been deemed to be improper in divorce cases where the parties agree to a modification based only on time without any material change in circumstances to justify the modification. These step visitation schedules, just like the cases allowing for a modification after a mere passage of time, have the same issue in that there would be no reason other than the child’s inevitable aging that would indicate that a change in visitation is justified. In Long v. Long, where unsupervised visitation was automatically changed to supervised visitation, the Court stated that the “evidence did not support modification of child custody after six months from supervised visitation to unsupervised visitation, as trial court did not impose any conditions or obligations on noncustodial parent to fulfill during six months, there was no evidence to indicate that there would be any change of circumstances or conditions to warrant modification after six months, and there was no basis to determine future events.” Long v. Long, 781 So. 2d 225 (Ala. Civ. App. 2000). So, does this mean that these step schedules have made it so that fathers have supervised visitation forever? Well, that just seems like a disaster, but maybe… In that case, are these schedules justified in making all visitation with the father supervised… FOREVER? Well, that seems like poppycock. It has been stated that restrictions such as this are deemed okay “only when necessary to protect the health, safety, or welfare of the child. A juvenile court exceeds its discretion, however, when it imposes an overbroad restriction on visitation that does more than is necessary to protect the child and thereby unduly infringes on the parent-child relationship.” Pratt v. Pratt, 56 So.3d 638, 641 (Ala.Civ.App.2010). B.O. v. Jefferson County Dept. of Human Resources, 70 So. 3d 1286, 1291 (Ala. Civ. App. 2011). So tell me why these fathers have to have supervised visitation with the children if their only discretion is that they are not the mother?!
  3. Are men less capable of taking care of their children? Yes, SOME men are. Just as some women are less capable of taking care of their children as well. There are tons of cases such as Couple # 4 in which the father OR THE MOTHER go to yet another rehab program/counseling session/child abuse program and they think they’re suddenly parent of the year. However, looking at just a man versus a woman with no other facts doesn’t really seem like a good way to determine custody. Isn’t deciding something based on genitalia and/or gender called something— wait, what is that word? Oh, yeah: sexual discrimination. Isn’t there also something in the Constitution of the United States that deals with this type of law making? Pretty sure there’s that whole Equal Protection Clause thing…
  4. Should men just take the abuse and settle out of court because they won’t change the law anyways? No! It’s time to take a stand. Fight for your children. Find a lawyer who knows the courts and the judges in your county. Pay attention when you’re on the assembly line of cases. Don’t just be a case in a line of cases that the lawyer is going to throw some settlement talk at you and make you settle so they get paid and they can move on to the next case. Also, don’t take her word for it. Unless she is your lawyer and is not your baby momma, then you should not believe what she has to say. Wouldn’t you tell her what you think would make her give up the fight and give you want you want? You wouldn’t? Well, that’s nice of you… but custody battles aren’t nice.

5 Ways You Can Help Us Help You

It’s thirty minutes after trial has ended. The client looks over at her attorney and mutters, “I had witnesses that could have testified to all of that. Why are they saying it’s only my word against his? I have letters, emails, text messages, and even recorded phone calls that can prove what I just testified to! He was lying too. I can prove that in a heartbeat. Look, I’ve got his mistress on speed dial and she said she’d testify to him paying her in diamonds. She said she’d tell the Judge he’d make it rain with diamonds while she was naked on the bed! I even have pictures in my glove compartment to prove that they were doing all this, and a video in my backpack. Oh, and she’s only 16.”  The lawyer, who has been prepping for this case for months, worried about no evidence, worked with her client over testimony, is absolutely flabbergasted.

After all this time prepping, talking to the client each and every day, could her client not mention any of this? Was she not listening when her client told her that her ex husband was making it rain with diamonds? There’s absolutely no way. That is something she would surely remember. It comes down to this simple fact: clients keep things from their lawyers. They don’t tell us everything. Okay, the good ones tell us a lot and help us prepare for trial. The ones that keep things from us are the ones that don’t always win their trial because we were missing proof that could’ve helped them. I almost want to say “Well, too little too late.” I don’t though. Instead I think of every way I can to help them tell me what will help them. Which brings us to this:

  1. If you think it could help your case, then help us help you. Don’t keep anything
    5 Ways You Can Help Us Help You!!!

    5 Ways You Can Help Us Help You!!!

    from your lawyer. (There are exceptions to this when it comes to criminal cases.) We suggest that you keep a diary. Write everything down. We don’t have to be phone pals, talking each and every day, but we want to know what’s important. If he is playing “Pretty Pretty Princess” with his mistress, then write it down and bring us proof if you have it! If you want to keep your bill down, then write short little notes to help you remember or to give to us to review. You don’t have to be our pen pal just to keep us informed, but you must tell us. If we were mind readers, we’d all be billionaires.

  2. Don’t wait to tell us. Write it all down immediately and let us know WAY before trial. If there is Discovery that is due, it might be a good idea to tell us before we do all of that. In order for us to fully prepare, we need ALL your information before the other side gets it. We need to know the good and the bad of our clients, so we are fully prepared to go to trial.
  3. If you have evidence, stop telling us about it and give it to us. There’s only so much that words can do. Clients can talk a lot of talk, but when it comes to proving their case, they often fall short. Bring us the bacon… or… uh… the smoking gun? We had a client bring us her husband’s lover’s prescription meds boxes and hair out of her shower drain that didn’t match her or her husband’s. Is this gross? Sure, a little, but at least she could prove that girl was in her home and using her shower. If you find naked photos or love letters, bring them to us. We don’t want you to describe them to us.
  4. Do not hold on to past criminal acts to use against your ex at the last minute. It doesn’t look good for our case. You cannot simply throw mud back and forth when you’re holding onto a time bomb. If you don’t want to use it against them, then by all means, do not use it against them. If you get angry enough to use it against them, it shouldn’t be at the end of the case. You either try to be nice and stay that way, or you bring it up fast. You should tell your lawyer about this time bomb before it is ready to explode. The last thing we want to do after negotiating a visitation schedule for four weeks is to then say, oh never mind, she’s been having an affair with a student at school for the past year. The Judge’s reaction if that comes out after multiple hearings will not only be disbelief but distrust.
  5. Just communicate. We know when it comes to lawyers that talk isn’t cheap. However, if you don’t talk to us because you fear the money implications of it all, then you end up only cheating yourself. Be effective by keeping a diary. Come in for short meetings where you stay on track telling us the high notes. Don’t call every day, but call and keep us informed. Make and keep appointments. Get us evidence without us having to work extra hard for it. Call your witnesses and talk to them before we do so they know what to expect. Be open with everyone, and your case will be economically efficient for you and time efficient for your attorney!

Birmingham Family Law Attorneys: 5 No No’s for Facebook!!!

Pending court case? Here are 5 No No's on Facebook!!! Call Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca to find out more at 205-202-0070!

Pending court case? Here are 5 No No’s on Facebook!!! Call Magic City Law, LLC to find out more at 205-582-2832!

How often do you log in to Facebook? Do you check it religiously? Is it something that you could give or take? Facebook has lead to a huge addiction for most people. The first thing I do before meeting someone for a consult or get appointed a case, is to Facebook stalk that person. I want to know what kind of person they are. Are they the kind that posts inspirational things throughout the day? Are they the kind that airs their dirty laundry for all to see?! When you have a pending court action, Facebook can make or break your case. Here are a few tips for dealing with Facebook:

  1. Delete your Facebook account AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Facebook isn’t your friend. Also, there may be tons of people on your “friends” list but that doesn’t mean that they are either. What they really are… are ninjas for your ex who are there to spy on you and report back or send screenshots to your ex in order to help him or her with their case against you. Something as harmless as a picture of you with a friend’s husband having a beer when your friend stepped away to talk to another table can be misconstrued if used in the correct way.  If you post something and someone takes it wrong… it could be used against you. Also, if you post something and someone takes it right… it can be used against you.  If you decide to keep Facebook while you have a pending court case then, at the very least, follow the rest of these tips.
  2. Don’t Drink and Facebook. You may be the most careful Facebook user of all time, but when you’re in an emotional place and you’ve had a few drinks, things my change. You may log on to Facebook, and start looking at pictures of you and your ex together. You may log onto Facebook and see pictures of your ex with your kids at a ballgame the previous week. Next thing you know, you’re post something along the lines of “My ex is such a maggot. I can’t wait until I take his cheating POS to court in a few months. He will regret the day he married me. Oh, BT DUB, I slept with your bestie and it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to everyone, AND IT IS A BIG DEAL.”
  3. Just because you deleted it, doesn’t mean it’s gone. Have you heard of a crafty little thing called screen shots? They are a nifty useful tool that make bad split second decisions live forever in infamy. Just don’t post it. If you do, then delete it quickly and hope to goodness that someone isn’t out ninja’ing you.
  4. Don’t let your friends do the passive aggressive posting for you. Your friends are an extension of you. Each one of you needs to take the high road. I don’t care if she does it on her own. You need to disassociate if she does it. It is not her place to ruin your case. You will be held accountable for your peers. It’s just like high school, so pick them wisely.
  5. If you start seeing someone, or have been seeing someone, dear goodness do not make it Facebook official. Do not post pictures of the two of you together. Do not post on each other’s walls. Do not “like” each other’s photos. Do not mention each other in a status. (Ex: Me and my sweetie are going to Disney! #adultery #whatdreamsaremadeof #startginover #divorce). Lastly, do NOT check in to a hotel with them.

BONUS: If you aren’t paying your child support, alimony, or attorney because you “can’t afford it” DO NOT post a picture of you at the Iron Bowl.

Birmingham Family Law Attorneys: 8 No No’s When Dressing For Court

Please don't make us, as your attorneys, have to make this phone call... If you need reminding call 205-202-0070!

Please don’t make us, as your attorneys, have to make this phone call… If you need reminding call 205-202-0070!

I’ve been in Court for four days this week, which has given me time to not only work toward the perfect resolution for my cases, but to also people watch in my down time. You see, we see all the different people going in and out of the court system. We see people showing up begging to get their children back, but they can’t even dress themselves appropriately for Court. We explained in the past how to dress for court, so I thought a second blog would not be necessary to explain how NOT to dress for court. However, after seen a woman walking in with see through leggings with her thong shining through, I think it might need to be said. Also, the abundance of bra straps that I’ve seen in the past four days has me slightly unnerved. Here are the No-No’s:

  1. No T’s (No t-shirts, tattoos, or ta-ta’s). Those things are for your significant other, or your doctor to see. You should dress with those three C’s that I mentioned in my first blog on this matter. You need to look classy, and church-like. If you have claws tattooed across your chest, cover it up. You may want to draw attention to that area to attract a mate, but court is not the place to go a courtin’.
  2. No armpits. Do not wear tank tops, and certainly NO HALTER TOPS, NO TUBE TOPS. I know they say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but in my opinion, when it comes to the Courthouse, cardigans are a girl’s best friend. Notice how I didn’t mention men wearing tank tops? That’s because, in my personal opinion, that really should never happen in public past the age of 2 for males.
  3. No pleather. Just no.
  4. No dressin’ for your baby daddy. I don’t care how handsome he is or how long it has been since you’ve seen him. Do not dress to impress him when you go to court. He got you in this mess. Do you really want him back? If so, do you want to risk the Judge having a negative first impression of you because you’re wearing a mini skirt and halter top to a court of law? Don’t do it. Like I said, there’s no courtin’ in court.
  5. No camouflage. I know you want to hide from the situation you’re in, and you want to hide from the law, but we can still see you in court. In fact, you stand out if you’re wearing camo in the Courthouse. I don’t care if we’re in the South, this is not acceptable.
  6. No undies on the outside. I don’t care if you’re wearing a Versace bra. I don’t want nor need to see it in public. Please refer to paragraph #2.
  7. No jeans. There is no casual Friday when you step into a courtroom. Respect the laws that uphold your country, your state, and your county. Do not let me see you walking into a courtroom wearing jeans when you could have easily have put on a sundress. I know some churches are okay with jeans these days, and there are casual Fridays at work, but do not disrespect the court system by dressing like you’re going to Walmart.
  8. No Leggings. (Yes, even if they’re lululemon).

Birmingham Family Law Attorneys: What happens after DHR removes your children from your home?

The amount of turmoil and drama in the Family Court is insurmountable. The biggest issues are those where DHR becomes involved and the children are taken from the parents leading to

Need to know what happens when your children are removed by DHR? Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca, LLC a call at 205-202-0070.

Need to know what happens when your children are removed by DHR? Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca, LLC a call at 205-202-0070.

Dependency cases and then, if the parents don’t do what is requested, they become Termination of Parental Rights cases. The number one question that the parents want to know when their children are taken away in the heat of the night is when they’ll get to go to court and what happens next. People often feel that their rights are being violated because their kids were taken without them having to go to court in the first place. However, the law provides that DHR can remove a child from a parent’s custody as long as there is a Shelter Care Hearing in order to protect children from dangerous or harmful situations. What exactly does that mean?

  1. Shelter Care Hearings must be within 72 hours of removal of the child.
  2. This cannot be waived by any party. They’ll have to make sure that if they cannot have the hearing within 72 hours, the child must be placed back in the home.
  3. If you cannot afford an attorney, then one will be provided for you.
  4. Parents must receive oral or written permission of the hearing (NOTE: This does not mean that you have to be served! Most times parents are served with the actual allegations of the petition at the hearing.)
  5. The parents must be informed of what is in the petition. (NOTE: This does not have to be what is exactly in the petition but simply a description of why their kids were taken away. Example: Mother was hyped up on cocaine and slapped her 6 month old for crying. However, the DHR worker informs the mother that due to her failed drug test and abuse, her children are being taken from her custody.)
  6. There must be relevant and material evidence of any allegations in that petition, but note that the rules of evidence are quite relaxed in this court system. (If drugs were alleged, you’ll probably be taking a drug test, so come without drugs in your system. Please also note that three days isn’t enough to flush out drugs from your system nor should you attempt any of those online drug flushing elixirs. This is not DHR’s first rodeo.)
  7. The parent should come equipped with relative resources that can take their child if the parents are not allowed to leave with the child. (NOTE: These relatives should have a squeaky clean record. Don’t lie and say that they are clean because everything is checked and double checked. If Uncle Leroy has a drug trafficking charge, it does not matter if you swear up and down that he is a changed man, and that is okay by you that he get custody temporarily.)

Birmingham Custody Attorneys: 5 Signs of Parental Alienation

Alice comes home from school. It’s Friday and she’s excited that she’s going to see her papa this weekend. Since the Divorce, she rarely gets to see papa and it’s been really hard on her. She used to play tea party with him, and her favorite stuffed bunny. She’s packing up her favorite tea set when the phone rings. She doesn’t hear the conversation. She doesn’t hear her father calling to say that he’s on the way to pick her up. She doesn’t hear her mother tell her dad that she’s made other plans for Alice this weekend. She doesn’t know that her father has been trying to call her all week to finalize his plans with her. Her mom comes in and tells her, “Your father isn’t coming to get you. He has better things to do. He didn’t even ask to talk to you, Alice. How about I take you to Yogurt Mountain to get some frozen yogurt and then you can go stay at one of your friends’ houses?” Even when Alice begins to cry, and ask to call her father, her mother doesn’t break. She tells Alice that her father just doesn’t love her as much as she does. She tells Alice that he’s not a good person and that he was a bad husband to her.

Dealing with Parental Alienation? Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca a call at 205-202-0070! We can help!

Dealing with Parental Alienation? Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca a call at 205-202-0070! We can help!

This happens more than you would expect. When it comes to custody, children are treated like a pawn in a war against the other spouse. This situation that you just read is a prime example of Parental Alienation. This happens all of the time when people are going through custody battles. They essentially project their feelings onto their child. The emotional aspect of this can be devastatingly permanent on a child and will ruin their relationship with the target parent, the projecting parent if they figure it out, or worse, both parents. On April 16, 2014 Governor Bentley declared April 20th through the 26th Parental Alienation Prevention Week with April 25th being Parental Alienation Awareness Day. This is something that is affecting the future your children and should be better known. Here are a few examples of Parental Alienation:

1. One parent is negatively speaking about the other parent.

Example: No, honey. Your dad is an alcoholic. He also will sleep with any blond that walks through his office leaving mommy all alone to raise you by herself. You better not bring your friends around him because when you reach your teens, he’ll date them all!

2.  One parent limits all visitation and communication with the other parent.

Example: I’m sorry, but Alice has summer camp this year. I’ve signed her for a dance camp. It’s not my fault it is during your visitation period. She needs this. Do you not love your daughter enough to support her dance future? Also, she can’t come to the phone right now. She has to finish her homework before she goes to dance.

3. One parent punishes the child when they say nice things about their other parent.

Example: Daddy isn’t smart. If daddy was smart, he wouldn’t have neglected his wife and daughter. If you think daddy is so smart then you can rethink that while you go outside and cut the grass with these scissors.

4. One parent alienates the other parent’s family, friends, and/or professionals who try to help.

Example: You can’t trust Daddy’s grandma. She raised him to be a bad man. Why do you think he is the way he is? She used to give him beer as a small child. She put it right in his bottle. Don’t tell your therapist I said this or your guardian ad litem. They are picking favorites anyways. If you tell them I told you, they’ll take you away from both me and daddy, forever. Do you want to be an orphan?

5. One parent blames everything that goes wrong in the child’s life on the other parent.

Example: Alice, you didn’t make dance team because daddy constantly interrupted your dance training. Your dad didn’t support you. You also broke your ankle attempting those triple pirouettes because you didn’t get enough practice. If your father helped you practice during his time with you, these accidents wouldn’t happen, but he’s too busy with the kinds of dancers that keep dollar bills in their thongs!

Birmingham Family Law Attorneys: 10 Facts About Money From Family Law Attorneys

If you give a mouse a cookie... he's going to want some milk.

If you give a mouse a cookie… he’s going to want some milk.

There is a certain time of the month that we at our firm dread. It’s the last day where we check to make sure all our billing is in, and we look at our client’s accounts, then send them updates on their case and accounts. We see their money dwindling knowing that we’ve worked hard on their case. On the one hand, we feel that we’ve worked diligently and have earned that money. On the other, we see their retainers diminishing and we know we will either have to ask for money that month or soon. Either way, we have to give them the truth on what they’ve spent out of their account. We have to show them an itemized list of what we’ve done for them. We mail them a letter with a description of our services and an invoice that states exactly what has been done, and await the response. What people don’t realize is that:

  1. Asking for more money is awkward. We don’t like having to ask for more money. That’s why we prefer bigger retainers to begin with because cases aren’t always an easy in and out of a court system. This isn’t Drop Dead Diva or Suits. This is the real life, and it takes months to get to court. We hate having to have a meeting and then segue into “So… your account is getting low… and we’re still 6 months out from court.” That’s not what we were educated to do. We don’t know how to be bill collectors. We are your advisor, your counselor, your defender. We DO NOT want to have to ask you for more money.
  2. It makes us feel like a failure to have to ask you for more money. We like to do things in an economically efficient manner. If we’re working hard trying to keep the cost down for you, we aren’t going to be happy if we keep having to ask for money. If we predicted this case to be easy peasy and the other attorney is slow, or difficult, and we end up having to beg for more money just to finish the case, we feel like we didn’t bully that other attorney back enough. We feel like we’ve failed YOU even if it’s beyond our control.
  3. We know and understand how expensive a trial is. We have been doing this a while. We give you an amount because we think that’s how it should go. However, we understand all the things that can go wrong. If I were on your side, I don’t know how long I could deal with the expensive consequences of going to court. We understand money. We understand the expenses that are draining your account. Believe me, we see it and we get it. 
  4. We know when you receive money, we know your financials, so we know when you’re being stingy with paying us versus when you actually cannot pay. We have a client who is a landscaper. We know that during the winter, we won’t get paid as well as when the flowers are blooming and the grass is growing. In family law, we quickly see what you have in your account, and we know whether you feel that your $700.00 per month vehicle is more important than keeping us as an attorney. While we understand rough times, we will cut someone loose very fast if they don’t have their priorities in order.
  5. We want to win your case, but we can’t keep working toward a win without payment. Without being paid, we are constrained in what we can keep doing. We love to win our cases. We love our clients who are golden. We love the client who comes in with a great case and lays it all out on the line for us. We love being able to fight knowing that our clients deserve the best possible outcome. We just wish that working for our clients didn’t sometimes come as a detriment to our firm and our income. When we are constrained because you’re in the red, we can’t keep filing motions and going to court. We have to limit costs so that you don’t end up in a hole. We have to look out for your economic interests when your emotions get in the way.
  6. We wish we could afford to keep working on your case even when you stop paying, but we have no other sources of income except our legal obligations to our clients. This is our job just like you do your job for income. If we cannot afford to pay our bills, we cannot keep working for free. People don’t understand that we get paid to talk and give advice. We went to school to learn the law, and answer questions for people. If you went to see a psychiatrist, would you ask them to diagnose you and medicate you for free? If you met a chef, would you ask them to cook for you for free? We love our clients. We actually stay friends with a lot of them. However, simply because we become friends with our clients, and look out for them, doesn’t mean we can live off of their good feelings and friendship. We have to charge, or we’re going to have to find a new job.
  7. If we give you a deal, we have to give others a deal. In the end, it devalues our services across the board. If you give a mouse a cookie.  
  8. Cheap, quick work is sloppy, and can cost you money. Don’t be upset that we are meticulous, that is you why you hired us. We take pride in our good legal work. We are thorough. If you want a sloppy, quick, lawyer who doesn’t care what happens then go hire someone else. We will happily refer you to someone!  
  9. If we give you multiple warnings regarding how we’re trying to save you money, heed those warnings and don’t call constantly. We can only do so much to save you a buck without your cooperation. We know that you want to call your lawyers to fuss about how your ex is being a jerk, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re problem solvers. Call your friends for that advice. Nothing is more painful to your lawyer than for you to call simply to fuss without asking for advice or help to fix the problem when your account is in the negative. We go out of our way to help you. Help us help you stay in the green.
  10. Amount of money paid does not predict an outcome. C’mon. We all know just because you spent 15k and yet you’re a secret serial killer, does NOT mean that you’ll get custody. Sometimes money can only get you so much time, talent, and effort before the Judge throws out your case or commits you.

What the heck is Family Law?

FAMILY LAW means DIVORCE? What?! Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca a call at 205-202-0070!

FAMILY LAW means DIVORCE? What?! Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca a call at 205-202-0070!

We are family law attorneys. I never knew until this week when we upped our networking that “family law” isn’t well known to be a euphemism for a type of law. Instead, we’ve gotten the question of “oh, you’re sisters?” or “you’re all related, that’s cool!” This has sparked a laugh at times, but mainly we’ve ended up having to explain what we mean by family law. The thing is, if you haven’t had to contact a family lawyer before you may not know that “family law” is a euphemism for something that people typically dislike which is a divorce lawyer. That’s why we don’t say, divorce lawyer until we’ve won you over with our wit and charm.

“Family Law” or the even fancier term “Matrimonial Law” simply means that we handle legal issues that arise within your family whether it be to join your family through a prenuptial agreement or adoption or help you throughout the process and recovery from a dissolution of an unhappy marriage. We take the drama and nitty gritty that a lot of lawyers don’t want to touch due to the emotional turmoil their clients are going through and help you to a happy resolution.

If you’ll refer to the other portions of our website you’ll see the types of cases we handle are adoptions, divorce, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, domestic partnership agreements, modifications, child custody, child support, surrogacy, paternity, father’s rights, family estate planning, and family business planning. This list is long, so obviously, we use the short and simple term of “Family Law” or even better, “we’re a family law boutique firm” which simply means we’re a one stop shop for your family’s day to day needs (unless one of you is in the need for an ambulance chaser, but we’ve got those on speed dial for ya!)

8 Reasons Why YOU Should Hire a Female Divorce Attorney

In a few counties, the smaller ones, (at least in Alabama) we lady lawyers are a rarity. It’s a little amazing with the strides we have made in our careers through Hilary Clinton, Nancy Grace, Sandra Day O’Connor, even Elle Woods or Olivia Pope, that we’re such a rare gem, but we are. However, in our county we’re everywhere. The divorce court is no exception. The divorce court has a surplus of female attorneys. Why? Because it can be an advantage to hire a woman. Here’s why you should hire a female attorney to represent you in your next domestic case.

Need a Female Divorce Attorney? Call 205-202-0070

Need a Female Divorce Attorney? Call 205-582-2832

Why you should hire a female attorney for your domestic case?

  1. We understand emotion and we can relate emotionally. We all know that women are more emotional than men. In my opinion, that’s not a bad thing. We can empathize. Sometimes that means listening to you cry (yes, even you Mister Manly Man) or even saying “yes, you should be angry. I will fight alongside you and for you until you get through this.” We are not machines, and this is an emotional subject, so why would you want someone who is all logic and no empathy. We’re here to help you get through the emotional times. Could you imagine crying or having a breakdown and seeing Mr. Spock staring you down until he mutters, “well, that’s illogical. Let’s get to the money.”
  2. We are multi-taskers. We can juggle, so to say, all your family law issues at once. We won’t show irritation if you call while we’re drafting the latest pleading with an emergency custody request. We’ll work hard to get you the best results, even if it means we’re juggling full time. (At least that’ll tone our arms).
  3. We listen. This goes along with how we understand emotion. We understand that sometimes you simply need someone to listen to WHY you’re upset and not just attempt to fix the problem. Men often jump to fixing things instead of just listening to why it upsets you. We want to hear why you’re upset before deciding whether it will pass or whether something NEEDS to be done. Sometimes you need someone to pick through the problem to find the best solution for all involved.
  4. We soften the case. For a Man, we’re there to lessen the blow when he doesn’t want to offer the cheating ex-spouse alimony or his life savings.  For the woman, we’re there to offer her an understanding advocate. We’re the Batman to her Robin, if you will.
  5. We’re fashionable. Don’t get me wrong, I love bowties as much as the next woman. Here’s the thing, besides Mr. Alan Duke at the Hamer Law Group, I don’t know many men who sport them. It is our opinion that they should because ties are boring. Why get tied down to the same old thing? With us, we’re about surprise. The monotony of black and navy suits is a nice change. We come with the element of surprise, and by surprise, I mean a variety of suits, cardigans, prints, colors, and shoes. Sometimes these bright colors and the visual dessert they cause will lessen the other side’s defenses. That being said…
  6. We’re approachable. The best way to end your case in an economically efficient manner is to have a lawyer who is willing to negotiate for you. You don’t want a lawyer that people dislike or refuse to talk to. As a whole, female attorneys are more approachable because we are social creatures. We like to talk to other attorneys. We like to get to know them. I have to say that luckily, I have tons of lawyer friends, and it is my every intention to keep it that way.
  7. We’re maternal creatures, we are on the side of you and your children. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are some male lawyers out there who are ready to protect your children and fight for you, but for us, our mama bear instincts kick in and we want to protect your children. We want the best outcome for you, but most of all for your little ones. We’re here to make sure each child gets their happily ever after.
  8. Have you ever argued with a woman?