Legal Thursdays – Child Support Advice

Here is the link to the No Sleep in Helena blog page for this article: http://helena-alabama.blogspot.com/2012/03/thursday-in-helena_15.html

I have received several questions regarding child support recently so I will address those this week.   My office handles all types of domestic law cases so give me a call if you need help or have question.

Question:  I am considering a divorce but my husband says he won’t pay me any child support.  Is this true?

Answer:   This is a pretty big issue that I see often in my practice and is something that many people do not understand.  A divorce is between you and your spouse.  Child support has nothing at all to do with the problems between you and your spouse.  Let me say that once more for those of you steaming mad at your ex or soon to be ex: child support has nothing to do with whatever is going on between you and your spouse.  Child support is about taking care of your children.  The law very clearly states that a non-custodial parent must take care of its obligations to support its children through the payment of child support.   A judge cannot let the non-custodial party not pay child support unless there is really, really, really good reason.   So, the short answer is no that is not true.  If you would like to know about how much you will receive just contact my office and I will be happy to calculate the number for you or you can look at the information at http://www.alacourt.gov/ChildSupportInfo.aspx for links to the guidelines.

Question:  My former spouse has not paid child support in over a year.  What do I do?

Answer:  The answer depends on which Court awarded child support.  Since you said former “spouse” I will assume it was the Circuit Court that rendered a judgment of divorce.  The Court that issued your divorce retains jurisdiction over the matters in the order, particularly child support.  My first recommendation is to hire an attorney immediately to represent you in the enforcement of the Order because you will need to file a Motion for Rule Nisi.  This is lawyer speak for asking the Court to hold the other side in contempt of court for failing to obey the order.  The court can hold a contemptuous (read, deadbeat) party in either civil or criminal contempt and force it to pay what it owes (called purging), award you attorney’s fees, and even throw them in the slammer (hooscow, pokey, clink) for up to five days per violation.  Yes, that’s five days in jail for each month he or she has not paid.  You would be surprised how money suddenly becomes available when they are looking at two months as a guest of the County.

Send your legal questions to Brian Davidson at cbdavidson@davidsonlawoffice.com

 

Legal Thursday – Alabama Traffic Citations Advice

You can see the actual guest legal blog post and keep up with all the happenings in Helena, Alabama at No Sleep in Helena:

http://helena-alabama.blogspot.com/2012/02/weekend-in-helena_24.html

You can also subscribe to my RSS Feed and never miss a free, weekly legal advice blog post from the Davidson Law Firm.

Question:  I got a traffic ticket the other day.  What should I do?

Answer:  First, make sure you mark the date for your court appearance on your calendar so that you do not miss your court appearance.  A failure to appear can lead to the issuance of a warrant for your arrest and additional fines and court costs.  The citation will tell you the date, time and location of your court appearance.  Citations issued by State Troopers and Sheriff’s Deputies are heard in the District Court of the County of issuance.  Citations issued by police officers are heard in the Municipal Court of the city of issuance.  Do not miss your court appearance for any reason!

Almost all courts; including Helena, Pelham, Alabaster, and Hoover, allow first time traffic offenders the option to attend a defensive driving school class. The court upon completion of the class will dismiss the citation.  This means that you will not incur points on your license and your insurance provider will not raise your premiums.  Simply go to your court date and request defensive driving school or follow the Judge’s directions usually given at the beginning of the session.  The class is usually 2-4 hours long depending on the jurisdiction.

If it is not your first offense you can always elect to pay the traffic citation either by mail or in person.  This is an admission of guilt and will result in points added to your license and likely higher insurance premiums.  However, you will save the payment of court costs and the time involved with going to court.  This is your best option if you are going to plead guilty at court.

If it is not your first offense and you want to dispute your citation you may have a trial where you may offer evidence and witness testimony.  You should contact a local attorney familiar with that court to represent you for any court proceeding especially trials.

Send your legal questions to Brian Davidson at cbdavidson@davidsonlawoffice.com