Birmingham Custody Attorneys: 5 Ways Judgmental Judy Is Judging You In Your Custody Case

Need custody advice? Give Magic City Law a call at 205-583-2832!

Need custody advice? Give Magic City Law a call at 205-583-2832!

Judgmental Judy’s are everywhere. When you are going through litigation they have the power to use their judgmental ways against you. Not only is your ex being unusually judgmental, but his/her lawyer, your lawyer, the Judge, possibly a Guardian Ad Litem, mutual friends, witnesses, and anyone else who comes into contact with your case. You thought that you had it bad when you became a parent and everyone wanted to tell you how to raise your child – Breast is best! Don’t spank! Your car seat technique is BAD! Vaccinations are for amateurs!

Imagine getting through that and then going through a divorce.  Here are a few things that a Judgmental Judy might be using as ammunition to judge you:

  1. Co-sleeping. Hey, we get it. You’re close with your child. You both feel better when you’re in the security of each other’s company. However, co-sleeping is one of the first things that a Judgmental Judy will call you out for, especially if you and your kid(s) are the opposite sex. We understand that this is something that can easily be turned around on you. You could try making a safe sleeping zone on the floor near your bed for your little one. Likewise, perhaps you want to make a no man’s land by your child’s bed. The thing is, no matter how sweet co-sleeping is and how great it is for your bonding experience, your ex can easily turn something so sweet into something somewhat creepy, particularly if they never viewed co-sleeping in the same way.
  2. Bath time. Anything dealing with nakedness is a Judgmental Judy time bomb. WWOCS? (What would opposing counsel say) It’s one thing to make sure all conditioner is out and the suds are off. It’s another to be by your child the entire time they’re in their bath. (Please note that this does not apply to babies. Babies should not be left to fend for themselves in the bath. Supervision is the key on this one. I’m sure even Michael Phelps needed supervision as a baby in the tub.) This is another one of those things that changes with age. Consider age & gender.
  3. Twitter. Instagram. Snap Chat. Etc. Social media is not your friend. It’s a frenemy. It’s like that chick in college that you would tell your darkest secrets to, and then she’d tell everyone else the minute she has one red solo cup of beer. She wouldn’t be sorry. She would bask in the glow of your demise. We’ve said this before. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. Don’t post it. Don’t let your friends post it. It doesn’t matter if you say something passive aggressive that doesn’t directly say that your ex-spouse and/or her/his attorney is a complete piece… someone else might finish your thought. Then they’re issued a sweet invitation to your divorce trial. #deleteyouraccount.
  4. Gossip. Say Goodbye to that part of you. Really -> XoXo Gossip Girl. Anything you say – can be used against you. I repeat, anything you say – can be used against you. I repeat, anything you say – can be used against you. Seriously, gossiping about your case can, and likely will, be used against you. Your best go-to for advice is your attorney. If you’re going to pay someone an hourly fee for advice, perhaps your bestie (who doesn’t happen to be an attorney) with the free advice isn’t the best person to contact. Also, although this should be OBVI, gossiping to your child or in front of them gives a Judgmental Judy every right to judge you. In fact, it turns me into one. I’m judging you. Stop. Your child is not your confidant, and the person you’re gossiping about is half of them. Just stop.
  5. Drinking. Posting a photo of 15 cans of beer in your child’s crib while you’re cheers-ing the camera – obviously not the best idea. Here’s your motto – think before you drink. Could that picture of a bottle of wine with your child in the background become an issue? Could those bottles of beer in the trash be used against you? When your child refers to wine as mommy’s sippy cup – would that be used against you? Sometimes something as innocuous as a picture of a margarita could haunt you worse than that terrifying woman in The Ring.

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.

3 Things to Consider for Fathers in Custodial Agreements

If you're a good father who wants to be involved, don't listen to the "meme" girls. You don't have to settle for less! Fight for your right to be involved with your child's life! 205-582-2832.

If you’re a good father who wants to be involved, don’t listen to the “meme” girls. You don’t have to settle for less! Fight for your right to be involved with your child’s life! 205-582-2832.

Each and every day we get a new father coming into our office wondering why they signed an agreement giving them limited visitation. More often than not a father comes in stating that he agreed not to have the child overnight until the child was three. He agreed that he’d get every other weekend and some holidays. He agreed that the mother was the primary custodian and now she won’t let him make any decisions. The number one problem is that he agreed, even though secretly in his head he was screaming for more than what he was getting. He further tells us that he used to be very involved with his children, but now he’s missing most if not all of their school functions because his ex will not involve him. He finds out from his kids that his children who used to cheer for Auburn with him are now cheering for Georgia because mommy’s new boyfriend prefers it. He loses weekends because their mother decided that she was going to enroll them in competition laser tag. He later finds out that competition laser tag doesn’t really exist and his children are staying with his ex’s crazy mom while his ex is playing drunken laser tag with her Georgia fan boyfriend.  Don’t be a daddy dud. Make sure you do the following before you sign an agreement that is sexist:

  1. Stop limiting yourself to nights and weekends if you want more than that. You are not subject to the same time as free minutes from a cell phone company. You are a father. You made a child with another human being. Unless you’ve done something unsavory in the past, there is no reason why you should not be afforded the same rights as the mother of the child. Each case is different, but don’t let someone bully you into something you cannot live with if you want more time with your child. When the sun goes down, do you become a vampire, werewolf, or shapeshifter? If so, are you a true danger to your child? If so, then you shouldn’t have your child during the night. If not, you should be allowed to have your child in your home. Each case is different, but if you have both been equally involved in your children’s lives then you should both continue on that same path. If you haven’t, you do need to consider that.
  2. Do your own research. Just the other day we were in a seminar when another (much older) attorney asked “Well I always tell men to just sign the visitation schedule set out years ago. What am I supposed to do now to encourage settlement?” We have had several other attorneys say that they just tell their clients that as well because they don’t like to handle contested cases. In short, you need to research your attorney before you hire them. You need to research your own rights before you sign something you’re not happy about signing. You need to know what the trends are in your particular county. If you researched your attorney enough, they should be able to help you with the rest. As Delia says on Girlfriends Guide to Divorce: “You don’t want someone who wants to fight for compromise. You want someone who fights for YOU!”
  3. The McClendon Standard is a hefty burden to bear. You start out with a best interest standard when it comes to your children. After you have given up the primary parenting position, it is awfully hard to change it. A full explanation of this standard is here. The courts have come up with this hurdle which often discourages fathers from coming back and trying to get custody because you, as the father who agreed to this unfair agreement, have to prove that the change in custody outweighs the disruption of moving the child from his or her current custody arrangement. This can be very hard to do absent some obvious fault on the part of your ex.

 

Moral of the story is: Don’t sign an agreement giving you less than what you truly want without fully considering the consequences. You have to live with this agreement, not your lawyers!

3 Tips on Halloween and Your Custody Case

Attention all jack-o-lanterns and ghouls! Halloween with all its spooky glory is haunting our lives here at the office more and more often. Parents are often sacrificing holidays like Thanksgiving or Fourth of July in order to make sure they see their little ones all dressed up and on the hunt for sugar. Negotiating

Halloween Tips for Custody Cases can come to a halt if someone doesn’t get to trick or treat with their little one or be involved in choosing their costume. However, more often than not, parents fight over the major holidays and come to an Agreement only to realize at a later date that they neglected to even think about Halloween Festivities. Then, as the ghost appears, they’re having to call their lawyers in frantic panic to fight over who gets to take the little one this year and that year or how the other parent is allowing their little angel to dress like a devil/zombie/serial killer. If it’s not in the agreement, then whoever’s weekend coincides with the spooky day gets that joy which can really upset the other parent missing out on all the fun. With that being said, here are our Halloween Tips:

  1. Remember Halloween when you’re negotiating.

    People don’t think about Halloween as being a big family tradition until they realize they’re missing out on Little Seymour dressed as a killer Venus Fly Trap. Further. Children sometimes realize they’re going for visitation and all their plans end up ruined. “But MOM, we were going to go as the mean girls on Wednesdays! WE ARE ALL WEARING PINK! Without my girls, I’ll just look like Barbie!” The children’s feelings should be considered. Do they want to be around their main neighborhood during Halloween? Do they like handing out candy? Are they going to want to dress up with their other parent? “BUUUUUT DAD, MOM WAS GONNA BE BATMAN AND I WAS GONNA BE DA PENGUIN!!!” These things should be discussed before the child ends up looking like a fool because they planned a group costume, and now they’re the only one who can’t attend trick-or-treating. Instead they’re angry and targeting happy go lucky kids with skittles as they approach the door.

  2. Halloween isn’t often addressed in “standard visitation” nor is it usually addressed in standard agreements.

    Since it’s not a school holiday, and often times it is celebrated on a different night depending on where you live in order to allow kiddos to not miss school the next day, it could be hard to dictate when the actual holiday will fall. It’s just not given high priority in society because it can be seen as a frivolous celebration as opposed to Thanksgiving or Christmas. This doesn’t mean that you should just go with the norm. Why leave something out and let it haunt you at a later date? Go ahead and figure out if you’ll truly miss your kiddo during a holiday that screams with fun, then work it into negotiations.

  3. Even if you think Halloween won’t be a big deal, it might be better to carve out the details now instead of waiting for a problem to appear like an unwanted apparition.

    It might seem like your kid couldn’t care less about Halloween. That might be because he is only two months old and couldn’t chew those gum drops if he wanted to. What happens as the child ages and he starts obtaining interests of his own. Maybe this year he wants to go as Olaf, Thor, or Elsa. It’s best to figure it out now before you end up poisoning your ex’s candy to make sure you get to see little Timmy dressed as the ice queen.

HAPPY HALLO-NEGOTIATING! DON’T BE A HALLOWEENIE!!!

Call us at 205-582-2832 if you want us to help negotiate a good Halloween schedule for your little ghost or goblin!

Birmingham Divorce Attorneys: 5 Facts about Divorce in Birmingham (The Magic City)

Divorce in the Magic City isn't necessarily magical. Give us a call for an initial consult at 205-582-2832.

Divorce in the Magic City isn’t necessarily magical. Give us a call for an initial consult at 205-582-2832.

Sometimes in the Magic City couples lose the “magic” in their relationship. They no longer feel the way they once used to, leading to a very expensive fight. Maybe financial problems have torn them apart. Perhaps, it was a vice of some sort like alcohol, marijuana, heroin, excessive brownie intake, or even strippers. Regardless of the core reason that caused the dissolution, those people inevitably have to figure out the best way to split up everything without destroying themselves in the process. They begin googling divorce, child custody, and alimony (we’ve even seen the term “aliMONEY” in our google analytics) and start asking friends for advice. Then they start the divorce process highly educated in a variety of jurisdiction’s principles. They fail to realize that even one county away divorce is vastly different than the Magic City.  Sadly, they’re in for a rude awakening when they begin filing things and visiting with attorneys. Here’s a few facts about getting divorced in Birmingham to help you along the way:

  1. There are thousands of attorneys in the Birmingham area. A large portion of these attorneys handle domestic cases regardless of whether they are truly capable of doing so or not. Since the true nature of domestic or matrimonial law is fact based and ever changing, there are numerous lawyers who thrive in that gray and hide behind the safety of the statement “there’s no guarantee of a good outcome.” Ever since the criminal appointment system in Birmingham dissipated, lawyers who only practiced criminal law are now jumping into the domestic arena with little or no experience. There are lawyers everywhere who practice “threshold law,” meaning they’ll take anything that pays the bills. This has led to an increase in fees because domestic attorneys are forced to either teach the other side what they need to do to make this process move smoothly or deal with the incompetence of the other side. The pleadings and negotiating go downhill. The trials are flooded with nonsensical mess. Just because you found an attorney, doesn’t mean they do what you need. Would you go to an allergist to solve your heart problem?
  2. As the General of your army, you need to make the proper decision in regards to choosing an attorney right for you. The large amount of attorneys in this area comes with a large variety of attorneys you can choose from. If you are simply googling, you’ll get the people who pay the most for search engine optimization. This doesn’t mean you’re getting an attorney who is right for you. There are a few of those attorneys who will bleed you dry and send you on your way. How do you think they pay to be #1 on Google? If you have a complicated custody issue, look for an attorney that focuses on custody. Many lawyers advertise custody but have never been a Guardian Ad Litem. Ask your lawyer directly what they think an ideal custody situation is. If they are giving you what you want to hear, you know they aren’t looking out for your children first. If you have a high asset divorce, don’t just look for someone who advertises high asset divorces because sometimes…that’s just code for “clients that can afford to pay me.” Do your own research and NEVER hire someone who lists another area of law as their primary area of practice. You may save money at first, but you’ll end up having to hire someone else to clean up what they didn’t understand later.
  3. You could be waiting at least a year for your day in court. Just because you’re wanting to duke this out in court doesn’t mean that you’ll be in court in the next couple of months. Jefferson County is flooded with divorce cases, and don’t get me started on modifications. Sometimes it takes three months to get a Final Order on an Uncontested Divorce. You have to be patient, and you need someone who knows realistic time expectations, especially when it comes to which Judge is assigned to your case. You are in the largest county in the state. What does that mean? Larger numbers of people flooding the court system.
  4. Stop assuming that the mother is always getting custody, child support, and alimony. There are some counties where this is a guarantee. This is not one of them. Once again, this depends on your judge, but as a woman do not go in there expecting to win everything simply because you are a woman. As a man, stop giving up everything because you expect that to happen. This is not 1950. If it were, my outfits would be so much cuter. Also, people would never think it was okay to wear jeans to court. It’s not okay to wear jeans to court. Please, if you’re my client, do not ever wear jeans to court.
  5. There are two divisions for Jefferson County and so
    Your family's law firm. 205-582-2832

    We love the Magic City so much, we put in our firm’s name. We want to be your family’s law firm in the Magic City. 205-582-2832

     

    many courthouses. There is not just one almighty courthouse downtown like most counties in the state of Alabama. Jefferson County separates its domestic courts from the civil court, family court, and the criminal court. They even have another Bessemer Division that handle cases in the Bessemer area. The odds of getting lost without proper guidance are pretty good. Make sure your lawyer informs you of where and when to show up to court.

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 Divorce Attorneys: Can you win my case?

Criminal Defense and Family Law are hard realms to predict. Give us a call today to see if the odds are in YOUR favor! 205-582-2832

Divorce and Family Law are hard realms to predict. Give us a call today to see if the odds are in YOUR favor! 205-582-2832

We inevitably get asked, “how many cases do you win?” or “what’s your records for these types of cases” or “is my case a winnable case?” The issue is that we’re not civil attorneys. This isn’t a car wreck. I know sometimes the complete disaster that your relationship has become feels like some sort of car wreck as a euphemism of sorts, but the types of law are not comparable. There are numerous factors that come into play that make such simplified questions almost funny. We stress that no results are predicted. We can, however, almost guarantee that all of our cases will end in a divorce, but the funny part of that is that it still depends on you. Here are a few factors that you need to consider before trying to make your lawyer’s ability to “win” your case so black and white:

  1. You may be the villain. We don’t know whether you’re a great person or not. We met you just like you met us. It may have been through a friend or family member, but each of us has deep dark secrets that others don’t know. We may begin to represent you, and low and behold your deep dark secret is the equivalent to demonic possession. We can only do so much when our client is really not the “victim,” regardless of whether he or she feels victimized. Further, we can only prove so much to the Judge as far as parenting when the other side is able to see through your mask and is able to do so in front of the Judge.
  2. Your ex may be Mother Theresa. Similar to how you could truly be Voldemort of sorts, your ex could be perfection. He or she could practically be a saint and no matter what you do, they can 1-up you in the eyes of the court, the law, and your case. You could be stating what a great influence you are, but no matter what, they could be doing it better than you. We can show how wonderful you are all day long, you may come up smelling like roses, but if the other side comes up smelling like cookies, it’s going to be hard to beat.
  3. Case law is hard to overcome. We can try to overcome some case that we feel is unfair and ridiculous, but there’s this thing called stare decisis which means “to stand by things decided.” Basically, for you, it means that as different as you are, as different as your facts are, the law must be followed as it was in similar cases. This is one thing that is forever stagnant. We can attempt to show the facts in such a way as to differentiate your case, but the Judge will not reinvent the wheel for each case. If they did, could you imagine how backed up our court systems would be?
  4. Evidence is essential. We have the responsibility of “proving” your case through evidence. You can tell us all day long that someone said something to you that gave you concern, but we can’t prove to the court what was said unless we bring proof. Just like when we first met each other, the Judge doesn’t know you. They can’t take your word for it because, as it was said above, you could be the villain in all this. Lying under oath is not beneath a majority of people. It may seem like a big deal to some, but there are a large amount of people who do it without blinking an eye. If you want to say that you saw your husband token up on the weekends, bring us a picture. If you want to say that your wife is diddling the soccer coach, bring us video proof. If your husband is letting your brother in law tattoo the children, make sure the children are there to show the judge the tattoos. If your wife’s mother is making poisonous potions and putting it in your soup, bring us 1) the soup 2) a scientist that has tested it and 3) video of her actually attempting to poison you. We can only do so much work without assistance from our clients.
  5. It all comes down to the Judge. Regardless of what you want, how your trial goes, what facts you present, how you feel about your case, what witnesses turn up, what your lawyer says, what the opposing attorney says, what evidence you give us, none of it matters if the Judge doesn’t want to give you what you want. Some judges are anti-alimony; some are very pro joint custody. Filing for divorce is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. You might end up with pure milk chocolate and caramel, or you might end up with one of those nasty raspberry filled pieces. Be prepared to change your expectations depending on which judge you get. It’s very rare that you’ll get another!

Birmingham Custody Attorneys: 3 Tips for Fathers in Court

Are you a father and need help in court? Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca a call at 205-202-0070!

Are you a father and need help in court? Give Magic City Law, LLC a call at 205-582-2832 TODAY!

Unless you’re living in a hole, not on Facebook, and not sensitive to over aggressive marketing techniques you probably noticed that Father’s Day was Sunday. Fathers are appreciated for their monster under the bed battling skills, spider squishing skills, and (in my dad’s case) mad dance skills and killer HTML skills. Whether you were a father by choice or by unexpected circumstances, you are a father nonetheless. It is wrongly assumed that fathers aren’t really given fair treatment when it comes to their children in court. This is not always the case. Father’s need to listen up because here’s three things you should know about being Father in the Court System:
1. Fathers CAN get custody, too! The Tender Years Doctrine that mothers have relied on for years and years stating that they are the number one best parent to raise their child due to them being the mother is not really used that much anymore in most courts. You see, with feminism on the rise and women going out into the workforce, the view on both men and women is changing by the court system. Fathers are seen as equals to their children, and not just the second in command money maker. The trend today is shared custody and shared time. Fathers, whether they really like it or not, are supposed to be Susie homemaker along with Mr. Fix it! We take the position that unless something pushes otherwise, children are at their best when both of their parents are equally involved in their lives.
2. Pay your Child Support! There are no excuses. I don’t care if the woman is a gold digging money grubbing demon, you should be paying that child support if you are ordered to do so. That money, whether she knows it or not, is for your children. That money is not hers to spend on lipo, and it’s not yours to withhold. You need to pay it like you’re ordered to do so that you are always in the right. There is a Courtroom here in Jefferson County with a board of excuses for why people are not paying their child support. Every time there is a new one, the Judge will add it to his board. Why? Because he feels that if a man isn’t doing his job as a father, and paying child support for his child when he has been Ordered to, his bad excuses should be ridiculed. Tip: If you aren’t paying child support because you can’t afford it, do NOT show up to Court in a Lexus.
3. Be Active as a Father! Don’t be a doormat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a father say that he has been denied visitation for years and he’s been waiting years to file for visitation. If it were important to him, he would have shown up to court before now to make it known that he was not getting to see his children. As a Father, you should make sure you’re on the birth certificate, that you are given court ordered visitation or custody of your child, and that the other side is following that Order. Make any and all attempts you can to have visitation with your child, and if it is denied, document, then go see any attorney! The last thing I want to hear is that she denied you visitation, and you haven’t seen your children in years. It makes me think that your child isn’t important enough to you to fight for the opportunity to see them grow up!!!

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!

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!)