116 South Main Street Suite 105, Enterprise Alabama 36331 (334) 475-2438


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(334) 475-2438

Domestic Relations


Divorce

Going through a divorce takes a toll on the mind, body and spirit; it will physically and mentally drain you. You will get through it, and it will be much less devastating if you have someone that not only knows the law, but who has been there themselves. You should not go at it alone. Divorces are more complicated than most people believe. A divorce can have an impact on your financial life, your health, your ability to relocate, your retirement, and almost all other areas of your life. Good advice and counsel are essential, particularly when you may not be at your very best mentally and physically.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to decide that they want to pursue a divorce and take actions to make that happen before they go and talk to a lawyer. To put it simply, divorces, like relationships come in all shapes and sizes. No two are exactly alike, and the outcome depends on the specific people and facts involved in the situation. If you are considering a divorce, or if your spouse has asked you for a divorce, contact Carmen Howell to schedule an appointment. Ms. Howell is a divorce attorney that practices in most of the surrounding counties, including but not limited to Coffee, Pike, Dale, Geneva, Houston, Henry, Covington, and Crenshaw counties. Ms. Howell can advise you on how to proceed with your divorce—an uncontested divorce or how to handle a contested divorce. Please call (334) 475-2438 to schedule your free consultation.

Custody

Child custody decisions are possibly one of the most difficult decisions that a court makes in Alabama divorces and paternity cases. The court must decide what is in the best interest of the child or children, and an effective presentation of evidence at trial is crucial in custody determinations. Carmen Howell is an experienced lawyer handling custody cases in divorces, child support cases, and paternity actions in all south Alabama counties including Coffee, Pike, Dale, Geneva, Covington, Crenshaw, Houston and Henry.

An Alabama court considers many factors when it decides which parent should have custody. These factors include:

  • The sex and age of the children
  • The characteristics and needs of the children, including their emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs.
  • The home environments of each parent.
  • The specific characteristics of the parent seeking custody, including their age, character, stability, and mental and physical health.
  • Each parent’s ability and interest in providing for the needs of the children, including social, moral, material, and educational needs.
  • The relationships between each child and the relationships between the children and the parents.
  • The effect on the child of changing or continuing the existing custodial situation.
  • The child’s preference if the child is mature enough to give an opinion.
  • Reports or recommendations from expert witnesses or independent investigators hired by either of the parents or those appointed by the court.
  • Any other factor or relevant evidence which may be presented by the parties that has a bearing on a determination of the best interest of the child.

All of these factors are taken into account. Each case is different, so some factors may be more important to a judge than others. Custody decisions are made by trial court judge without a jury. Therefore, judges have a tremendous amount of discretion in determining the appropriate custody arrangement. In any case where custody is an issue, it is extremely important that you have an experienced attorney to assist you with presenting all of the evidence relating to the factors listed above in an effective way. Carmen Howell has experience handling numerous custody cases involving divorces, child support, and paternity cases. Please call (334) 475-2438 to schedule your free consultation.

Child Support

In Alabama, child support is calculated by using a mathematical formula based on your gross income and the other parent’s gross income. Gross income means before taxes and includes all sources of income such as: [make two columns please so it isn’t too long

  • salaries
  • wages
  • commissions
  • bonuses
  • dividends
  • severance pay
  • pensions
  • interest
  • trust income
  • annuities
  • capital gains
  • Social Security benefits
  • workers’ compensation benefits
  • unemployment-insurance benefits
  • disability- insurance benefits
  • gifts
  • prizes
  • preexisting periodic alimony.

Gross income does not include child support received for the support of a parent’s other children or public support programs such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), SSI, or food stamps.

Although child support calculated according to the Alabama child support guidelines is presumed to be correct, unless a court decides that there is a reason to deviate from the guidelines. The Alabama Supreme Court recently increased a judge’s ability deviate from child support guidelines based on many factors:

  • Shared physical custody or visitation rights which provide for periods of physical custody or care of children by the parent paying child support which are in excess of the customary time periods typically ordered by the court
  • Extraordinary costs of transportation for purposes of visitation borne substantially by one parent
  • Expenses of college education incurred prior to a child’s reaching the age of majority
  • Assets of, or unearned income received by or on behalf of the child or children
  • Any other fact or circumstance that the court finds contributes to the best interest of the children receiving support.

Whether you are the parent seeking child support or the parent faced with paying it, you need an experienced attorney that can guide you through the process. Carmen Howell handles child support matters in divorces, post-divorce modifications of child support, and paternity actions between unmarried parents in all south Alabama counties including but not limited to Coffee, Pike, Dale, Geneva, Houston, Henry, and Covington. Please call (334) 475-2438 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation today.

Alimony

One reality of any Alabama divorce is the fact that each party must adjust to living on one income instead of two. Alabama law provides for awards of financial support in the form of alimony under certain circumstances. A court may award alimony in order to allow an ex-spouse to maintain their standard of living after the divorce, or for rehabilitative purposes while one ex-spouse re-enters the work force after a divorce.

Unlike child support, there is no mathematical formula for calculating alimony. A trial court judge will make a determination of whether to award alimony and which type of alimony (periodic or in gross) based on several factors which include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • The age and the health of each spouse
  • The ability of each spouse to be self-supporting
  • The cause of the breakdown of the marriage
  • The income of both parties
  • Standard of living during the marriage

The decision to award alimony and the determination of the appropriate amount of alimony is a complicated process that takes into consideration the factors above. Ms. Howell is an experienced Alabama divorce attorney that can review your situation and provide guidance as to potential outcomes in your specific case. Ms. Howell can also assist you if you were awarded alimony and your ex-spouse has ceased paying, or, under certain circumstances, if you were ordered to pay alimony and can no longer afford it.

Ms. Howell handles divorces and post-divorce cases involving alimony in all south Alabama counties including Coffee, Pike, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Covington and Crenshaw counties. Please call (334) 475-2438 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation today.

Paternity

Paternity or child support cases involve unmarried parents who have had a child. Whether the father is on the birth certificate or not, a paternity action is required to formally address and determine who is the child’s father and also to decide issues of custody, child support, and visitation or parenting time.

It is important that a father take necessary action with the putative father registry to prevent future legal consequences such as his child being adopted without his knowledge or consent. A father may also file a paternity action asking for the court to determine his paternity and make a decision regarding custody, support and parenting time or visitation with his child. A mother may also initiate a paternity action to seek support for her child. Carmen Howell has experience handling paternity and child support cases in all south Alabama counties. Please call (334) 475-2438 to schedule an appointment for a consultation today.