Divorce and Family Law Attorneys in Birmingham, AL
At Kirk Drennan Law, we know that when it comes to legal issues that involve members of your family, it is essential that you have experienced counsel to represent you. That is why you need a family and divorce law attorney Birmingham, AL residents trust. The attorneys at Kirk Drennan Law have served family members struggling with issues such as divorce, paternity, dependency, child custody, visitation and child support. When it comes to cases in family law or divorce, it is essential that you have experienced counsel to represent you.
We understand that divorce can be complex when it comes to handling issues such as alimony, child custody, visitation rights, and child support. That is why it’s important to work with a legal team that understands these complexities and has the knowledge and skill set to work effectively toward the solution you desire. Our team is prepared to guide you through every step of the divorce process and provide you with sound legal advice. We’ve worked with clients on every aspect of their divorces, and we also have experience working with clients with high net worth.
If you are looking for a Birmingham divorce attorney who knows how to solve problems efficiently and cares about their clients, Kirk Drennan Law is the place for you. Your case will be handled by the divorce attorneys Birmingham, AL residents rely on for expert advice and top-notch client service.
Family Law Representation
It can be difficult for unmarried people to agree on the best way to raise a child, which is why legal issues often arise in families. When you are with Kirk Drennan Law, you can be certain you are working with an informed and reliable family law attorney. Our team is prepared to help advise you on the best way to keep your child safe and protect your rights. Whether you are concerned about the well-being of your children or your personal custody rights have been questioned by the juvenile court system, you need a lawyer to reach your desired outcome.
Adopting a child in Alabama can be a joyful experience for a family, however, the adoption process is time-consuming, paperwork-intensive, and technical. Our attorneys are experienced with all aspects of the adoption process, and work directly with you to prepare you for each step. We handle relative, non-relative, DHR, foster care, interstate, and international adoptions, and are able to guide you through the unique challenges that each situation presents.
The team at Kirk Drennan Law has more than 20 years of combined experience representing clients, and we are prepared to give you the information and attention your situation deserves. We pride ourselves on our client-oriented white glove service. Each of our clients receives customized representation and one-on-one attention which helps them reach the best solution for their specific circumstances. We have no prepackaged way to represent clients, and we will work to find creative solutions and reach a satisfactory ruling.
If you are currently working through a divorce or a family law case, give us a call so we can provide you with detailed information about your rights.
When your relationship with your spouse breaks down and a decision is made to proceed with divorce, we can represent you in the official division of your marital property, assets, and child custody. We concentrate on negotiating the best alimony (spousal support) and divorce settlement arrangement for you, your children, and your assets; however, if negotiations cannot produce a desirable result we have the necessary skills to proceed through the court system with the trial of your case. We are prepared to help you to fight for the best custody and financial arrangements for your family, whether it is a new situation or a modification to an old arrangement. If you are considering divorce from your spouse or if you are considering a modification of your divorce decree, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. to explore your legal rights and options. 205-803-3500
Separation takes place when a married couple wishes to lead separate lives domestically, socially, sexually and financially. This usually takes place when one or the other party moves out of the family home, but can also take place in the same house. If you are considering a legal or voluntary separation from your spouse, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. to explore your legal rights and options. 205-803-3500
Common-Law marriage occurs when a couple agrees that they are married, live together, and present themselves to their community as husband and wife. Most states do not recognize common-law marriages. While unrecognized in most states, Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas do recognize common-law marriages. If you are involved in a common-law marriage and wish to terminate your relationship, Alabama law requires that you obtain a divorce decree just as if you had a ceremony and obtained a formal marriage license. If you have questions concerning whether your current relationship qualifies as a common-law marriage or if you are seeking to dissolve a common-law marriage through divorce, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
If you have a child with a person to whom you are not married, it may be necessary to petition the juvenile or family court to establish your parentage and therefore be recognized as the legal parent of your child. Additionally if you have had a child out-of-wedlock and the father of the child refuses to recognize the child or to provide financial support, you have the right to ask the court to establish the paternity of the father and to order a child support payment. The first step in a paternity action is usually the ordering of DNA testing to confirm the biological parents of the child. Once the scientific evidence is analyzed confirming parentage, an order establishing paternity is entered by the court. This may also involve changing the birth certificate of the child to reflect the father’s name if he was not present at the birth of the child or failed to sign the birth certificate. Additionally the court may order that the last name of the child be changed to that of the father. Once paternity is established between two unmarried parents, custody, visitation, and child support can also be established typically within the same proceeding. If you need assistance is establishing paternity, custodial rights or support, contact Kirk. Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
A petition for dependency may be filed by an individual or the Department of Human Resources. Such a petition is often filed when a parent is unable or unwilling to discharge his or her duties as a parent such that the child is being neglected or endangered. The first step in a Dependency Petition is often a Shelter Care Hearing where the immediate custody of the child will be determined in order to ensure the child’s safety and welfare with the least disruption. Thereafter, if the case cannot be resolved, it will be tried in two parts: 1) Dependency hearing, and 2) dispositional hearing. At the dependency hearing DHR or the individual who filed the petition for dependency must prove by clear and convincing evidence that the child was dependent at the time the petition was filed. If the court finds that the petitioner proved their case the court will declare that your child is dependent and set a date for the dispositional hearing. The dispositional hearing is conducted to determine who will have the care, custody and control of the child and will also order the parent or parents to pay support when appropriate. If you know a child in need or if you are being investigated by DHR or if you have been served with a dependency petition, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. immediately for legal advice. 205-803-3500.
Alabama family law and juvenile courts make initial child custody decisions based on the best interest of the child in paternity and dependency cases when the parents cannot agree on how to raise and support their children. Court considerations include any past history of domestic abuse, the parents’ geographical proximity to one another, history of child care-taking responsibilities, and cooperation between the parents. Your custodial periods or parenting plan may affect the amount of child support you will receive or that you owe. It may also affect your ability to modify the custodial arrangement in the future if your circumstances change. Regarding a child custody decision or modification child custody, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
A parenting plan, commonly known as child custody and visitation schedule, sets forth decisions regarding child custody. A parenting plan addresses legal and physical custody of children. If you need to establish or modify a parenting plan, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Family law encompasses child visitation rights and enforcement of those rights for non-custodial parents. If you are being denied access to your child, or if you do not have an established visitation schedule, please contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Alabama law requires that any parent, subject to a custody or visitation order, who moves more than 60 miles from the other parent’s residence, notify the other parent of that move 45 days in advance of said move. The notice must be sent via certified mail, and must contain the following: the mailing and street addresses, and phone number of the new residence; the mailing and street addresses, and phone number of the new school that the children will be attending; the reasons for your move; and any proposed changes in the custodial plan necessitated by the move. Your failure to send this notice can be taken into consideration in any court proceeding to change custody of the children. The other parent has 30 days to file an objection to your move with the court. If they do not file the objection it is waived and your move will be permitted. Upon the filing of an objection, it is your responsibility to show the court that it is in your children’s best interest to move. If you are considering relocation, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500.
Child support may be ordered in an action for dependency and an action for paternity. If you and the other parent’s combined gross annual incomes are $240,000.00 or below, child support will be determined by a formula that is set forth in the Alabama Child Support Guidelines found in Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. The parents’ incomes, the cost of work-related child care, the cost of family health insurance premiums and all preexisting child support or alimony obligations are taken into consideration when calculating child support pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines. The custodial periods that you are awarded with your child may also affect the amount of child support you receive or that you are required to pay. If you and the other parent’s combined annual income is more than $240,000.00, child support is determined by comparing the needs of the children, including life-style expenses, and the parents’ respective abilities to pay those expenses. Your attorney will expect you to compose a monthly budget of household expenses and your children’s direct expenses to assist in analyzing your child support needs or obligations.
Medical support in the form of health insurance coverage and payment of non-covered medical and dental expenses is also a part of the child support your children are entitled to. Usually one parent is ordered to maintain health and dental insurance coverage for the children and then the parties are ordered to divide the costs of non-covered medical expenses. If you are ordered to maintain health and dental insurance coverage for the children, the costs you incur for the monthly premiums are taken into consideration when calculating the child support you will receive or that you will be ordered to pay.
Failure to pay court-ordered child support (including maintaining health insurance and payment of non-covered medical and dental expenses) is a common family law issue. There can be severe consequences to failing to pay court-ordered child support including monetary sanctions and even imprisonment. These consequences are used to enforce the court’s order and ensure that your children receive the support that was ordered by the Court. Another enforcement method is to simply collect the child support by an income withholding order which is much like a garnishment. The income withholding order is served on the employer of the parent that owes child support and the employer withholds the amount of child support owed from the parent’s wages. If you have questions concerning the amount of child support your children will be entitled to; if you are owed past-due child support payments; or, if you have fallen behind on your child support payments, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. to assist in the calculations or in minimizing your risks at court for non-payment. 205-803-3500
College support, also referred to as post-minority support, is financial support for a child paid by parents for a child’s education. In the past year, the law controlling college support changed significantly, making it impossible for courts to order college support. Going forward, the only two paths to obtaining college support are through a clause in a marriage settlement agreement whereby college support becomes a term of the settlement contract; or by a parent’s voluntary payment.
Prior to October of 2013 Alabama courts granted post-minority support based on a standard set out in the case of Bayliss v. Bayliss. The Bayliss Court held that in order to obtain college support a request must be filed before the child’s 19th birthday, unless the issue was specifically reserved beyond the child’s 19th birthday in a previous order. Additionally, college support was limited to the cost of a “C” grade point average or above.
In October of 2013 the Alabama Supreme Court overruled Bayliss in the case of Christopher v. Christopher, all together eliminating court-ordered college support. Existing orders that call for college support will still be enforced; however, cases pending at the trial and appellate level are to apply this new law. It is still possible to obtain college support, but it must be laid out in a marriage settlement agreement as a term in the contract or paid for by a parent on a voluntary basis. If you believe your child is entitled to college support, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Temporary support is financial support awarded by a court to a spouse after the divorce is filed but before a final judgment of divorce or final judgment of legal separation is entered. The court may order or you and your spouse may agree to temporary child support and/or temporary alimony. If you believe you are entitled to temporary support, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Alimony is court-ordered spousal support payments from one party to another. Alimony is often necessary to assist the financially dependent spouse with their monthly expenses and can be awarded for longer or shorter periods of time, depending on the circumstances of the relationship. Alimony is usually paid in installments. It can be temporary or permanent. Permanent alimony means that the alimony is paid until such time as the spouse receiving the spousal support remarries, or cohabitates with a member of the opposite sex with whom they are sexually and financially involved. Temporary alimony, sometimes referred to as rehabilitative alimony, is ordered for a period of time necessary to assist the other spouse in becoming economically independent. Sometimes alimony is paid in a lump sum, but alimony paid in this manner is most likely a monetary property settlement. Please see asset protection and division below. If you seek legal advice regarding alimony, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
An asset is anything to which monetary value is attached and may be tangible, such as household furnishings, automobiles, clothing, jewelry, or intangible such as stocks, bonds, cash, or financial accounts. In a divorce assets are classified as either marital property or separate property. Marital property is property that was obtained during the marriage and used for the common benefit of the marriage. Separate property is property that was obtained before or during marriage usually by gift or inheritance that has never been commingled or used for the common benefit of the marriage. Marital property is subject to division by the court; however, separate property is not. Once the asset is determined to be marital property, negotiations to determine how the marital property will be divided. This process is referred to as property division. Many factors are considered when dividing marital property including misconduct of the parties, the source of purchase monies or down payments, financial contributions of the parties and the division of household and children care-taking responsibilities. A spouse’s separate estate may also effect property division when that separate estate is substantial. Alabama is an equitable distribution state which means the law only requires that the property be divided fairly. The law in Alabama does not require an equal division. If you need legal advice regarding asset protection or division, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Kirk.Drennan, P.C. divorce attorneys handle all stages of marriage and divorce, including prenuptial agreements. A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into between two people before their marriage that includes provisions for how assets and debts will be divided in the event of separation or if the marriage is terminated. It may include terms concerning asset division, child support and spousal support. It also can be referred to as an antenuptial agreement or most typically a “prenup.”
If your marital conflict leads to separation, your prenup may be used as a precedent for issues that arise in divorce proceedings, including the waiving of spousal support rights and the division of marital property. Pre-nuptial agreements can also provide for property assignation instructions at the death of a spouse. Having a prenup or postnuptial agreement can be a beneficial financial planning tool for your assets and your future, whether you divorce or have a long and fruitful marriage. If you need to establish or modify a prenuptial agreement, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Kirk.Drennan, P.C. divorce attorneys handle all stages of marriage and divorce, including postnuptial agreements. A postnuptial agreement is a contract entered into between two people after their marriage that includes provisions for how assets and debts will be divided in the event of separation or in the event the marriage is terminated, as well as terms concerning spousal support. A postnuptial agreement can be completed any time after the marriage ceremony.
If your marital conflict leads to separation, your postnuptial agreement may be used as a precedent for issues that arise in divorce proceedings, including the waiving of spousal support and the division of marital property. Post-nuptial agreements can also provide for property assignation instructions at the death of a spouse. Having a prenup or postnuptial agreement can be a beneficial financial planning tool for your assets and your future, whether you divorce or have a long and fruitful marriage. If you need to establish or modify a postnuptial agreement, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Cohabitation agreements are used by adults who do not wish to get married, however would like to set forth their rights for asset division, medical authorization, financial support, and estate planning before combining households. These agreements may contain provisions that apply during cohabitation or upon separation. Cohabitation agreements do not usually address what happens upon death, as the appropriate legal instrument in the event of death is a will. Cohabitation agreements are used by heterosexual couples as well as homosexual couples. Given the State of Alabama does not recognize same sex-unions, same-sex couples who live together may wish to have a cohabitation agreement in order to protect their rights regarding asset division, medical authorizations, and financial support. If you need to establish or modify a cohabitation agreement, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
A divorce agreement, also referred to as a marital settlement agreement or merely “agreement,” is a contractual agreement that states the rights of spouses in a divorce regarding division of property, tax liabilities and deductions, alimony, custody, visitation, and child support. The divorce agreement usually becomes a part of the final judgment of divorce once it is approved by the court; and therefore, is enforceable by contempt, among other remedies. We can assist you in negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement. If you want to discuss the possibility of settling your divorce by agreements and what provisions to include in the agreement, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. to assist you in drawing a divorce agreement. 205-803-3500
Separation agreements may also address and settle issues regarding child custody, child support, property division, tax liabilities and deductions, and alimony. The legal separation agreement usually becomes a part of the final judgment of legal separation and may be converted into a final judgment of divorce with the appropriate provisions. A legal separation that is filed with the court can have serious consequences to your rights to property accumulated or the increased value of existing property during the period of legal separation. We can inform you of your rights and obligations during a legal separation and we can represent you in negotiating the terms of your legal separation agreement. If you want to discuss the possibility of settling your legal separation by agreement and what provisions to include in the agreement or if you are considering an informal and voluntary separation from your spouse please contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C.
Mediation is a process to settle your case without the necessity of a trial. Mediation may be ordered by the court or may be voluntary. Mediations are conducted by certified mediators who are trained to assist you, your spouse and your lawyers in bringing your case to resolution. Mediations generally occur at the office of the mediator and the mediator’s fees are paid by the parties. Mediations are strictly confidential and third-parties are not allowed to attend. Even though the mediator charges a fee, if your case is resolved in mediation, the mediation fees are far less than what you would pay your attorney to proceed to trial. Mediation is a very common practice in resolving domestic relations disputes, including but not limited to divorce, asset division, alimony, child support, child custody, and visitation.
Some courts have mediation dockets, also called settlement dockets, where you appear in court with your lawyer on a specific date that has been set aside for the purpose of conducting settlement negotiations to resolve your case. Often the court will have voluntary mediators present at the mediation dockets to assist you, your spouse and your lawyers in the settlement process. If you are considering Mediation to settle a matrimonial or family law related dispute, contact Kirk Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Abuse is the occurrence of acts of physical or verbal violence, intimidation, or harassment between family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood. Acts of abuse may include infliction of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or punishment with resulting physical harm, pain or mental anguish, threat of physical harm, sexual harassment, rape, and willful deprivation by a caretaker of goods or services which are necessary to maintain physical or mental health. The laws of Alabama provide protection for you and your loved ones from abuse and/or the threat of abuse. The law specifically provides for the filing of a Petition for Protection from Abuse where you can ask the court to exclude another person from yourself, your children, your home, and/or your workplace. If your Petition for Protection from Abuse is granted, the court will issue an Order of Protection from Abuse. This order is like a restraining order, but more effective as the order can not only address your personal safety but also child support, spousal support and payment of debts. Additionally there are greater penalties for disobeying an Order for Protection from Abuse as compared to a restraining order. A person who disobeys an Order for Protection from Abuse may face criminal charges. If you or a family member is facing an issue regarding abuse and needs legal protection, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Certain aspects of your final judgment of divorce or other final orders may be modified such as the provisions for alimony, child support and child custody. Property and debt divisions are not modifiable. In order to qualify for a modification there must be a material change in circumstances that supports the modification such as increased/decreased income, increased/decreased expenses, a child attaining the age of 19 years, or misconduct of a parent that affects the children in a negative manner. If you feel the modification of a previously order is necessary, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Enforcement of orders is action taken by the court to ensure that its orders are followed by the parties. Such actions are commonly referred to as petitions for contempt or petitions for rule nisi. The court has power to enforce compliance with court orders by way of financial sanctions, incarceration, specific performance, and award of attorneys’ fee. Reasons for enforcement of orders commonly include failure to pay child support, failure to pay alimony and denial of visitation rights. If you feel you have violated an order of the court and need legal advice or if you have an ex-spouse who has violated an order of the court and need legal advice or relief from the court, contact Kirk.Drennan, P.C. 205-803-3500
Once settlements and arrangements regarding matrimonial or family law related disputes are complete, families and individuals who have been through them are entering a time of transition that may be difficult or emotionally trying. The attorneys of Kirk.Drennan, P.C. feel it is their duty to advise clients on decision making, productive practices, helpful habits that will ensure the continuation of healthy, happy, and financially secure lives as an individual or a family post-divorce. Life following a matrimonial or family law related dispute may seem hard or scary; however with sound, good advice and the appropriate resources you may come to realize that, although different, your life can be happy, healthy and productive. The lawyers at Kirk.Drennan, P.C. endeavor to make our client’s and their family’s transition as smooth as possible by giving the tools necessary to succeed.