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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.