Archive for Divorce

Grandparent Visitation Rights

Hodges Trial Lawyers is experienced in trying cases dealing with grandparent visitation petitions. Whether defending or suing on your behalf our talented domestic relations specialist Kourtney Ballew will fight for you. We understand that it is important to protect your children from hazardous relationships as well as support and fight for the healthy relationships within the family. After the passage of House Bill 334 grandparents have a higher burden of proof in order to win visitation rights. Considering this it is important to hire a law firm that understands the new law and is willing to fight for you and your family. In both Madison and Limestone county Hodges Trial Lawyers is prepared to represent you.

Grandparents’ visitation rights

Alabama lawmakers have approved a new bill which gives grandparents the right to petition for visitation rights with their grandchild.  Prior to this legislation, grandparents were unable to petition for visitation with their grandchildren if the parent(s) refused to allow visitation.  The new law states that a grandparent may file for reasonable visitation with their grandchild if any of the following circumstances exist: (1) an action for a divorce or legal separation has been filed or the marital relationship between the parents of the child has been severed by death or divorce, (2) the child was born out of wedlock and the petitioner is a maternal grandparent of the child, (3) the child was born out of wedlock, the petitioner is a paternal grandparent of the child, and paternity has been legally established, or (4)  an action to terminate the parental rights of a parent or parents has been filed or the parental rights of a parent has been terminated by court order.

 Since a parent has the right to deny or limit visitation with grandparents, the grandparent seeking visitation must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the grandparent has established a significant and viable relationship with the child and visitation with the grandparent is in the child’s best interest.  In order to establish a significant and viable relationship with the child for purposes of visitation, the grandparent must meet certain criteria under the new law.  The attorneys at Hodges Trial Lawyers will be happy to discuss your legal options regarding grandparent’s rights and visitation.

Techniques for Co-Parenting

Co-parenting with your former significant other can be stressful.  Nobody will parent your child exactly the way you would.  However, co-parenting is in the best interests of your child.  Here are some helpful co-parenting tips. Be flexible. If one parent needs to swap days, try to accommodate them. Hopefully they will extend the courtesy in the future.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Keep them informed with doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, school activities, etc.  Our Family Wizard is an App that both parents can download on their phone.  This App provides a calendar, document sharing capabilities, expense sheets, visitation schedule, etc. that both parents can utilize.  Always remember the child’s best interest is the most important objective to co-parenting.

Divorce-Default Proceedings

You may need to enter into a default proceeding if your spouse refuses to sign the paperwork for your divorce. Regardless of your spouse’s reasons for refusing to sign, they cannot legally prevent you from getting a divorce. A default proceeding is like a forfeiture. The Court will assume that if your spouse had any disagreement regarding the documents, your spouse would have made them known. Since your spouse has not cooperated, the Judge is now forced to rule in your favor. If your spouse is refusing to sign, or being uncooperative, our attorneys can assist you with your divorce.

What Are the Different Types of Custody?

There are different types of custody, and they can be confusing. There is legal custody, and there is physical custody. Legal custody means you have the right and obligation to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing (ex. school, medical care, religion). Physical custody means you have the right to have the child live with you. Either of these may be joint- meaning the parents share, or sole- meaning only one parent, and you may have a combination of the two. For example, you may have joint legal and physical custody where both parents share in the decision making and the child spends about an equal amount of time with both parents. This situation is ideal for parents that live in close proximity and who communicate well, or you may have joint legal and sole physical meaning both parents share in the decision making, but the child spends considerably more time living with one parent that the other. This is typical of parents who live far apart.  If you have joint legal custody and one parent is excluding the other from decision making, that parent may be taken back to court to ask a Judge to enforce the custody agreement. If you have questions about custody or would like to petition for custody of your child, our attorneys can evaluate your situation and advise you of your options.