Welcome to the Alabama Family Law Blog!


If you are searching for informative and helpful information regarding divorce and family law issues in Alabama, you've come to the right place. Mobile and Baldwin County attorney Jim Jeffries provides monthly posting and updates, including informative articles and helpful reviews on current divorce-related news events. Our firm has more than two decades experience in our practice areas and is dedicated to providing excellent service and skilled representation for each of our clients. We also seek to further the education of each of our clients regarding divorce matters, so check back regularly for more information on Alabama Family Law! 

Jim Jeffries

Jim Jeffries

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:17

Divorce is bad for your health

According to a new study from Duke and the University Of Chicago that looked at the long-term health consequences of people who are married, divorced, widowed, remarried, and single.

Researchers found that people who had a disruption of marriage, like divorce or death, were in worse health than those who remained married.

Here is a link to the story.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:17

Division of Retirement Assets in Divorce

A prospective client recently asked me whether or not she could receive a portion of her spouse’s retirement account in her upcoming divorce. I explained to her that in Alabama, if the parties have been married for 10 years preceding the filing of the divorce complaint, the court has the discretion to award them up to half of the value of the spouse’s retirement accounts that accumulated during the marriage.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:16

Divorce and Taxes

The law firm of Ullman and Allen recently posted their Top Ten List of tax issues in divorce. The failure to consider the tax ramifications of a divorce settlement is one of the biggest mistakes made by parties and even their lawyers. #10 on their list is “Get professional advice.” I echo that and suggest that often that means getting your divorce lawyer together with your CPA to analyze potential tax consequences of a proposed divorce settlement. Thanks to Grant over at the Kansas Family and Divorce Law Blog for pointing me to the list.

One of my goals in helping families that are in the process of going through a divorce is to help them reduce the pain and the expense that is often associated with the process. I have written an article that outlines nine ways you can reduce the pain and expenses of your divorce case. I hope you find it helpful. And, if you know someone going through a divorce, feel free to pass it along.

Selecting the lawyer that will represent you is one of the most important decisions that you will make in your divorce case. You should try to find a lawyer who is skilled, competent, and who regularly handles family law and divorce cases. Seek someone who is responsive and willing to communicate with you throughout the divorce process. Ask for recommendations from your friends and family members, but in the end, trust your own judgment.

Schedule a consultation appointment with the lawyer. This will give you an opportunity to evaluate how you are treated by the staff and will give you some time to interact with and interview the lawyer. After spending thirty minutes to one hour with the lawyer, you should have a good feel for whether he or she is the right lawyer for you. One factor that is often overlooked is whether a lawyer’s personality compliments yours. You divorce lawyer is someone with whom you will be sharing many intimate details of your life as well confidential financial information. He or she must be someone with whom you are comfortable and whom you trust.

I’ve included the questions to ask the lawyer in my upcoming book on Alabama Divorce. I will post an update here on the blog when the book is printed.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:15

A better divorce?

I’ve been reading a lot about the process called collaborative divorce.

Collaborative divorce is an alternative way for divorcing spouses to resolve their disputes without going to court. Although it is a relatively new approach, having only originated in the early 1990’s, it is quickly spreading throughout the country. The latest estimates are that there are approximately 200 different groups of lawyers that have joined together in associations to promotre and practice collaborative divorce. It seems like this might be an idea whose time has come.

For those of you that have had personal experiences in the collaborative divorce model, I welcome your feedback by direct e-mail or in the comments section. I am currently involved in a project to begin a collaborative divorce practice group in Alabama. As information on that effort develops, I will post about it here.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:13

Financial Planning for Divorcing Spouses

The Daily Breeze recently published an article on the finanical planning that divorcing spouses should consider. The article suggests that in addition to having good divorce attorneys involved, that divorcing spouses should also consider involving a “divorce savvy” finanical planner. One of the soundest pieces of advice that the artilce suggests is also something I always tell my divorce clients: get a copy of there credit report. You can usually get a free copy once a year from a service like www.freecreditreport.com.

The author also recommends removing your ex’s name from all joint bank accounts and considering whether you should refinance any joint debt that cannot easily be divided between the two of you.

Here is a link to the full article.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:12

Should You Keep the House in Your Divorce?

This is a question that comes up quite a bit in my work with couples going through a divorce in Alabama. It can often be a very emotional decision. Well, I recently came across a blog by Kansas divorce lawyer Shea Stevens. Shea is posting some great material. One of her recent articles was on this very issue – Should I Keep the House?

Take a look at the article, because although she addresses it to couples going through a divorce in Kansas, the same questions would apply in an Alabama divorce. The main point, like much of the divorce process in general is to make the decision with your head and not just your heart. Making an emotional decision to keep the house when you will not be able to afford it in the long run could lead to devastating finanical effects.

So, as Shea notes, before making any agreements with respect to your martial home, here are some things to think about:

  1. Can you afford to make the current monthly payment?
  2. Do you have the ability to refinance the home solely in your name?
  3. How much maintenance do you expect your home will need now, in the next year, 5 years? Can you afford this maintenance?
  4. What is your home really worth? How much equity do you have in the home? If you sold the home, would you come up short and have to pay off the mortgage, or would you make money? What is the home’s value in today’s market?
  5. If you are keeping the home, were you given enough assets on your side on the balance sheet to level out the division of property?
  6. Will your children have to switch schools if you move?
  7. Do friends and family live close by?
  8. Can you rent a home of the size suitable for your family for less or will you be paying approximately the same amount in rent as your mortgage payment?
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 07:12

How to Move on After Divorce

Tips to Rebuild Your Life and Your Goals after Divorce contains some good advice. The information there is not really specific to Alabama divorce law. In fact, the article doesn’t really deal with divorce laws at all. Rather, the focus of the article is on how to move on with your life after divorce. And, on that note it is helpful.

Here is a summary of the tips there:

  1. Work through your grief
  2. Recognize your survival mechanisms
  3. Assess your talents
  4. Start living consciously
  5. Write your own story
  6. Develop a project for the future
  7. Plan for obstacles
  8. Deal with the fears
  9. Take incredible care of yourself along the way

Check out the link above to read the details for each step. If you are recently divorced or going through a divorce now, it is worth a read. The last tip is really what the entire article is about: taking care of yourself. When I am helping a client go through an Alabama divorce, I try to urge them to take care of themselves mentally, phyiscally, emotionally and spiritually. Often divorce attorneys are so focused on protecting our clients in their legal case, that it is easy to overlook these equally important issues of their health. So, not only is this a good article for someone going through divorce, it was a good reminder to me, as a divorce lawyer, to not lose site of this important aspect of my client’s life.

Tuesday, 05 May 2009 19:00

Alabama Divorce Statistics

Alabama ranks high in divorce rates.

According to the U.S. Department of Public Health, Alabama’s divorce rate was 39% higher than the national rate in 2007.

A recent article in the Time Daily, reports that many churches in Alabama are responding by implementing Divorce care programs for their communities. Encouragingly, the article relates that many communities are also responding by implementing programs to strengthen marriage. In my experience as a practicing divorce attorney in Alabama, that is where the focus should be.

I encourage you to read the article.

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