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.

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 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!!!

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!)

Birmingham Custody Attorney’s: 5 Signs You’ll End Up In Family Court

Family Court? Give us a call (205)202-0070.

Domestic Relations and Family Court are not the same thing. In Jefferson County, they aren’t even on the same side of town. Domestic Relations involves divorce cases and post-divorce cases. Family Court is where you go when you have a child with someone, but you two never got married, DHR brings a dependency case, or where juvenile criminal cases are held. Normally, when DHR comes knockin’ on your door, this means that something very alarming has happened that makes the state think that your child is in imminent harm.

While being in Family Court, we’ve noticed a few trends that should’ve been warning signs to parents that they were going to eventually end up here. This doesn’t mean that if you have any of the below that you will definitely set foot into the building, but the likelihood is pretty high. If you have any of the below issues, and DHR hasn’t come knockin’ quite yet, we suggest you rectify that situation rather quickly!

 

  1. You do drugs or drink in excess. Once you have children, it’s time to stop partying. The problem is even if your child wasn’t in your presence while you were doing drugs, what happens when you go home from partying or you go to pick up your child and something goes wrong? If you plan on drinking, get a babysitter who can responsibly watch your child or someone else who is sober who can help you if an emergency arises. If you are still doing drugs, and you have a child, it is time to stop. Illegal narcotics numb your senses. If you shouldn’t be driving, you shouldn’t be raising your child that way.
  2. You give your child a stripper name. This is somewhat to be funny and somewhat serious. It’s way too often that we hear names of children when in family court, where we know that it was their destiny to end up here. One such instance: Klever, Kurious, and Knowledge. It’s almost like naming your child Jenna Jameson. Shoot high with your child’s name. Think Presidential, but don’t name your child President.
  3. You often get into fights with people in your home. If pots and pans are flying, or you’re wind-milling your boyfriend, the chances that the cops and then DHR are going to get called is high. Keep all violence in Fight Club. Don’t bring it home. It’s not a safe environment if your child lives in fear of getting sideswiped by a soap dish.
  4. You don’t know who your child’s father is. This just simply means that you’ll have to get a paternity test. Hey, it’s better than going on Maury. At least it’s private in Family Court.
  5. You refuse to pay child support to your baby momma. (18 years, 18 years and 18th birthday found out it wasn’t his!) In Alabama, it’s 19. Pay the child support to your baby momma regardless of whether or not she’s using it to get lipo or buy your kid tyco. If you don’t trust her, then don’t sign over custody to her. Request joint custody, be active in your child’s life, and actually follow through!

Note: Although the above signs are somewhat humorous (if I do say so myself) it doesn’t mean that we are making light of DHR having to get involved in your child’s life. As you can tell, we are not happy with parents who are not willing to go above and beyond for their children. We will help you get back on track if we’re defending you, and we’ll help you do what you can to ensure your child’s life is stable, but we will not condone attempts to force a child to go back into a dangerous situation.

5 Celebs With Paternity Problems

Paternity is a very touchy subject. It is the very essence of custody disputes, inheritance disputes, visitation, and every man’s most dreaded two words – Child Support. Fathers can use it to establish a relationship with their child, and sometimes, especially when celebrities are involved, mothers feel that they can use it to establish a big ol’ bank account. Although, sometimes, these women (the ones who did actually have sexual relations with their celeb of choice) are using it for its intended purposes- to support their children.

Here are five of our fav celeb Paternity cases:

 

JUSTIN BIEBER: Oh man, the Biebster.  It seems that he is offending people left and right… though he must be doing something right because there are tons of women saying they slept with him!  Back in 2011, he was hit with a paternity suit from a lady in Miami. The suit was dropped when he agreed to take a Paternity Test (Fishy! Fishy!). However, now he has been slapped with a SECOND paternity suit. It has yet to be seen if the Biebs will agree to take a test this time. However, considering he has recently gotten in trouble for some reckless driving… one would hope he’d play it safe for a little while… in all aspects of his life.

MICK JAGGER: Back in 1999, a Brazilian model, Luciana Morad claimed that Mick Jagger was the father of her son.  It appears that she is one of those ladies who loves guys with “moves like jagger”! His wife? Not so much. Turns out, the paternity test confirmed that Jagger was indeed the daddy which lead to an expensive divorce for him, and some cash in the bank for his new found son!

SCARY SPICE & EDDIE MURPHY: It took a nasty paternity dispute and paternity test to make Eddie Murphy acknowledge that he had fathered Scary Spice’s daughter. After the paternity test came back stating that she was his daughter, he finally admitted paternity. He should’ve been shouting this one from the rooftops, in our opinion.

BILL COSBY: I’m sure every woman wants a father for her children like the time treasured Bill Cosby with his quick wit, funny voices, and adorable sweaters! One woman, Autumn Jackson, accused Mr. Cosby of this multiple times. Subsequently, she refused to take blood tests herself to clear things up! He did offer to submit his DNA though! She ended up going to jail for attempting to extort money from him.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: We all remember this case. In 2011, it came out that Mr. Schwarz had a former child with a household staff member. She was actually carrying his baby at the same time that Maria was carrying one of his children too! They gave birth 5 days apart. He didn’t know though until the kid began to resemble him as a toddler! He was giving her money secretly. The whole sordid ordeal came out back in 2011 during marriage counseling and appears to have been the final straw in their marriage.

Take these cases as an example that paternity actions can have serious ramifications on your life and on your bank account.  At Meyer and Middleton, we can assist individuals going through this type of situation and the process involved in filing a paternity action to establish or refute paternity. Don’t end up with your pants down in a paternity dispute!

Paternity & The Presumed Father

Fathers Day (Presumed Fathers…)

In the spirit of Father’s day we’ve decided to do a blog on Paternity issues. There are many aspects to fatherhood which are joyous, happy occasions. There are also many situations in which Paternity becomes a complicated mess. These are normally those situations where the father is ordered to pay child support. However, there are other benefits for a child provided paternity is established before the age of majority (19 years!). Establishing paternity gives this child the same legal rights as a child born to married parents. There are benefits that you can only receive if paternity is established such as Social Security benefits, veteran’s benefits and inheritance rights.

Determining paternity and establishing paternity is normally when a lawyer is necessary or the court system needs to be involved. Here are a few situations in which you’d need help from the legal system (consider yourself to be an “alleged father if you are one of the following):

  1. You’ve been dating someone, and she’s become pregnant. You’re not sure if you’re her only sexual partner.
  2. You had a one night stand with someone or have been having sexual intercourse with someone, and she has become pregnant. Again, you’re not sure if you’re her only sexual partner.
  3. You’re married, and your wife has had sex with someone else.
  4. You’re not married, and your girlfriend has become pregnant.

Under Alabama Law, specifically, the statute that provides for “Paternity” of a child makes it pretty cut and dry as to what makes a presumed father. These situations are as follows:

  1. The father was married to the mother when the child was conceived or born (within 300 days of the end of the marriage).
  2. The father attempted to marry the mother (even if the marriage was invalid) and the child was born within 300 days of the end of cohabitation.
  3. The father married the mother after the birth & he either acknowledged paternity via writing to the Office of Vital Statistics, with his consent he is listed on the birth certificate, and/or agreed to support the child through an agreement or court order.
  4. The father welcomed the child into his home, and openly held the child as his own.
  5. The father acknowledged his paternity in writing.

In order to rebut this presumption, you must provide clear and convincing evidence that you, as Maury, would say “are not the father!” What does that mean? Clear and convincing evidence which is very hard to come by, but the number one way to do it? Paternity Test. Either you or the mother can file an action to establish paternity. Then you end up on the Daddy docket with all the other potential fathers awaiting your fate.

Even if you are not presumed to be the father, but you think you are, or possibly could be, once again, either of you can file to establish paternity. Then you move on to the next step…