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Montgomery Family Law Blog

Understanding child support and the roles of the ACDD and ACPC

So, you were under obligation to pay support for your children as part of your divorce settlement. Wondering how that will work exactly? You would think it would be as simple as handing over cash or writing a check to your ex, but child support does not work that way in the state of Alabama. Here, the Alabama Central Disbursement Division and the Alabama Central Payment Center play big roles in collecting and distributing support funds.

There is a big difference between the ACPC and the ACDD. The ACPC collects support funds automatically withdrawn from paychecks or payments mailed directly from parents ordered to pay support. The ACDD is actually responsible for dispersing the funds to support receiving parents. Local clerks of court and the Department of Human Resources used to do this. However, federal and state law now requires that the distributing of funds occur in one central location.

Courts more open to shared custody than in past

Alabama mothers who get a divorce are still more likely to be awarded more time with their children than fathers are, but courts generally assume parents will share legal custody. Legal custody allows the parent to make decisions about a child's medical care, religion, education and other important issues.

Some parents share physical custody, but the child does not spend equal time at each parent's home. This may be too difficult for manage for working parents and a child who is in school. However, a Wisconsin study found that the incidence of parents in the state who had shared equal physical custody rose from 5 percent in 1980 to 27 percent in 2018.

Know the facts regarding loan assumption

Alabama residents may be interested in assuming the loan on the mortgage they share with their spouse after the divorce process. This means that one of the borrowers is removed from the loan. The one who assumes the loan will not need to refinance. Before a person decides to do this, it is good to know all of the facts.

There are many benefits that come from assuming a home loan. One benefit is maintaining favorable rates. If the interest rates on the original loan are quite low, a person could save a lot of money by not needing to refinance. Most individuals pay less than $1,000 in fees in order to assume a loan. When this number is looked at in comparison to how much a person would have to spend to refinance and be stuck with high rates, this may be the more frugal option.

Practical preparations for the divorce process

People in Alabama who decide to divorce may be motivated to move on for deeply personal and emotional reasons. However, separation can also be challenging due to the practical issues involved. Divorce can involve an extensive amount of paperwork and research, so being prepared in advance can help one emerge from a difficult situation with reduced pressure. Therefore, spouses who are considering a divorce may want to begin with an inventory of their personal documents.

One of the most important parts of the divorce process is the distribution of assets between a couple. Therefore, it's crucial to collect bank statements, investment account records, retirement information, real estate deeds, mortgages, credit card bills and insurance policies. This can help establish a clear record of marital property to be divided as part of the asset division process. An ex may also want to locate their estate planning documents and any prepaid funeral arrangements that will need to be altered following the divorce.

Negotiating what happens to a business in divorce

Most happy spouses do not want to think about the possibility of divorce. However, it can be important for business owners in Alabama to protect their company assets in case this happens. Creating a plan is not a way to try to deny a spouse a fair share of marital assets. Rather, it can prevent contentious issues that could negatively affect a business.

One way to do this is with a prenuptial agreement. This contract may establish the business as entirely separate property, or it may assign a percentage of the company's value to the spouse. While the former solution allows the business owner to avoid the lengthy process of business valuation, it may be unfair to the other spouse.

Is the other parent harming your relationship with your child?

Divorce is a complex process, and sometimes, parents find it difficult to get along, even when the process is final. Hard feelings can carry over long after a court decides the terms of custody or visitation order, and it is possible this can affect your relationship with your child. If you believe the other parent is intentionally working to harm your relationship with your kid and affect your parenting plan, you can fight back.

Parenting time interference happens when one parent disrupts and negatively impacts the other parent's rightful visitation and custody time. This is a frustrating situation, and you may feel helpless, overwhelmed and unsure of how to fight back. People who are experiencing post-divorce custody issues find it beneficial to seek legal guidance in order to resolve the matter as quickly as possible.

Children benefit when divorcing parents bury the hatchet

Couples going through a divorce in Alabama may wish to spare their children the pain of high conflict in divorce. To do so, these couples should be willing to prioritize their children's well-being over their egos. Going through a divorce in a civil manner may have long-term effects for the children caught in the middle. Parents should act maturely in resolving disputes with their ex-spouses.

The key to relating amicably to an ex-spouse after divorce involves examining the past marriage and the factors that led to its breakdown. Each spouse needs to identify the root cause of past disputes and learn new ways to communicate with the other. By studying past behavior, divorcing couples can learn to anticipate potential disputes and stop them before they occur.

Expensive mistakes during a divorce

Emotions can be very high during a divorce in Alabama, but expressing them loudly either in person or online can be expensive. If one spouse claims that they cannot afford a proposed settlement but is then seen bragging about a vacation or great deal, they may lose their leverage in negotiations. Other types of over sharing emotionally can complicate divorce proceedings, including bragging about a new relationship or trashing an ex-spouse to others.

There are several other ways spouses can make divorce more expensive than it needs to be. A big mistake many people make is to not getting all their paperwork right. Missing account numbers, social security statements, and proof of major assets can affect both the nature of the settlement and the type of benefits a person can receive later in life. This can be a major problem during retirement.

Dependent ex-spouses may benefit from a new financial team

It's not unusual for a dependent spouse in Alabama to opt to keep the same set of financial professionals when a marriage comes to an end. The reasons for doing so may be for the sake of convenience or because of a desire to avoid the hassle of having one more thing on a post-marriage to-do list. However, it's generally advised that dependent spouses assemble a financial team more in tune with their needs and goals. This can be especially beneficial if it was the other person who maintained the relationships with various financial professionals.

Key financial pros typically include financial advisers and accountants. A financial adviser can come on board during the divorce process to help clients determine whether they can afford to keep the marital home. They can also offer input on a dependent spouse's financial outlook post-divorce and confirm that assets from financial accounts have been received or transferred.

What do dads need to know for child custody proceedings?

Fatherhood in Alabama looks much different today than it did even 10 years ago. Dads now take on a large portion of child-rearing duties and are often more actively involved in their kids' lives than ever before. So, do these changing norms have any effect on traditional child custody issues? 

As a dad, you are probably worried about how often you will see your kids after divorce. Even as norms in the home change, family law can be slow to catch up. If you are interested in gaining primary custody of your children, you need to be prepared to prove just how involved of a father you are. 

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