Merrell Law Firm, LLC
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Posts tagged "Family Law"

How DNA tests influence child support rulings

Alabama parents are generally required to financially support their minor children. However, there may be questions about who the father of the child is. In some cases, individuals may try to cast doubt about their paternity even if there is reason to believe that they are their children's legal fathers. If necessary, a judge can ask for a DNA test to confirm who a child's father is.

Privacy and confidentiality during divorce proceedings

In Alabama and across the United States, people frequently share personal information via social media platforms. Many couples planning to divorce have active accounts on Facebook and Twitter. Although it's fine to stay active on social media platforms, people getting divorced should take some precautions. Most online friends are not close friends. Accordingly, sharing personal and confidential information with distant acquaintances is not always advisable. For instance, people should refrain from posting negative comments about their spouses.

Equitable property division and separate accounts in divorce

Millennial married couples in Alabama may be among the 28% who keep their finances separate according to a Bank of America survey. This is more than twice as many as Gen X and baby boomer couples. However, according to experts, this will not necessarily mean their finances are considered to be separate property in a divorce.

Divorce impacts business owners in many ways

When a divorce takes place in Alabama or any other state, it could mean significant changes for an individual. For a business owner, it is important to understand how much the company is worth and how having a business could impact the final divorce settlement. Ideally, the company's value will be assessed by an independent professional appraiser. This person should have access to any documents needed to come to a fair valuation.

Collecting Social Security benefits after a divorce

For many married people in Alabama, Social Security benefits are an important asset. Even when a spouse has little or no income of their own, they may still collect up to half of their significant other's benefits if they are eligible to receive payouts. But when a marriage ends, there's understandable concern about what might happen with such benefits.

Divorce settlements and stay-at-home mothers

Alabama is not a community property state, so when couples get a divorce there, each spouse is entitled to an equitable but not necessarily equal share of marital assets. How to determine what is equitable can be difficult when one spouse was the breadwinner and the other stayed home to raise children. While it may be fairly straightforward to assess the earnings of the spouse who has worked outside the home over the years, it can be more difficult to put a value on the other spouse's contributions.

Refinancing or assuming a mortgage in a divorce

Divorcing spouses often wish to remain in the family home they have lived in for many years. This presents no challenges when an agreement can be reached and primary residences are owned free and clear, but matters become more complicated when a mortgage is involved. In these situations, Alabama spouses usually decide between assuming a joint mortgage and taking out a new loan. Departing spouses generally require joint mortgages to be assumed or paid off as they would otherwise remain financially responsible and could be pursued for payment if the loan fell into arrears.

Planning for college expenses after a divorce

Alabama parents who get a divorce are generally not required to pay for their children's college educations, but it may be a matter of concern to some parents anyway. Living in separate households can be costly, and parents may need to prioritize day-to-day living expenses and child and spousal support above college. However, there are still steps parents can take to plan for their child's college education.

Divorce mistakes to avoid

Alabama couples who are going through divorce should beware of potentially costly errors. For example, one man who said he could not afford a certain settlement later made financial boasts on social media that hurt his case. Another common error is not getting the financial paperwork necessary when it is available. Information such as how much was paid for the home and account numbers may be useful years after the divorce as well as during it.

A parental arrangement that's best for the children

When couples get divorced in Alabama, they need to figure out how to take two joint lives and separate them. This includes dividing property, assets and any retirement plans. Parents have the additional challenge of figuring out a guardianship arrangement that is going to be in the children's best interests.

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