Frequently Asked Questions2020-09-09T18:23:30+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the adoption process take?2020-09-03T22:28:23+00:00

The length of the adoption process depends upon the complications involved in each particular adoption and the Probate Court’s calendar. A simple adoption in which the biological parents have consented usually takes about 60 days.

Can an adoption only be done if the biological parents consent?2020-09-03T22:28:29+00:00

No, under Alabama law a consent to the adoption can be implied if the biological parent or parents have had no significant contact with the adoptee for more than 6 months.

What if I do not know the whereabouts of the biological parents?2020-09-03T22:15:14+00:00

Following “reasonable efforts” to locate the biological parents, which might include an internet search, letters to last known addresses or contacting the biological parents’ relatives, notice can be given through a legal publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

Is a home study always necessary?2020-09-03T22:16:27+00:00

If the adoptee is unrelated to the person wishing to adopt, a home study is always necessary. If the adoptee is related and has lived with the person wishing to adopt for over one year, a home study is usually not required.

How much does an adoption cost?2020-09-03T22:16:55+00:00

Adoption costs depend on the complexity of the adoption. Please contact me so that we can discuss the unique facts of your case.

How long does a divorce take to complete?2020-09-03T22:28:44+00:00

An uncontested divorce takes thirty (30) days to complete following the filing of the paperwork with the court. The length of a contested divorce usually depends on the court’s calendar but may take years.

How is child support calculated?2020-09-03T22:21:26+00:00

Child support is based on the gross monthly income of both parents. Added to the parents’ incomes are the costs of the child’s medical insurance and daycare if daycare is necessary for a parent to work. The State of Alabama then uses Child Support Guidelines to calculate the exact amount to be paid by one parent to the other each month.

Is there an age when a child can decide which parent he wants to live with?2020-09-03T22:23:47+00:00

No. A judge can take the child’s wishes into consideration when she makes a custody decision but there is no age at which the child gets to decide.

What is standard visitation?2020-09-03T22:24:32+00:00

Standard visitation can vary from county to county in Alabama. Usually standard visitation means every other weekend, several weeks in the summer and visitation time during holidays and school breaks for the non-custodial parent.

What is the difference between sole custody, joint custody and shared custody?2020-09-03T22:25:10+00:00

Sole custody means that one parent is the sole custodian and makes all decisions regarding the minor child. The non-custodial parent has visitation rights only. Joint custody means that the parents make joint decisions for the minor child although the child lives with one parent and visits with the other parent. Joint custody status allows the non-custodial parent access to the child’s medical and school records. Shared custody means that the child spends an equal amount of time living with both parents. Both parents have equal rights and responsibilities in regards to the child.

How long does it take to probate an estate?2020-09-03T22:25:52+00:00

Under Alabama law, most estates must remain open for a period of 6 months from the date Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration are issued by the court to the petitioner. This allows notice of the estate to be published and creditors of the deceased to file claims against the estate. This also allows the estate’s administrator to gather the assets of the estate for distribution to the heirs.

Do I need a will?2020-09-03T22:26:29+00:00

Yes. Everybody who owns property needs a will even though the will may never need to be probated. Having a will allows the person named as executor in the will to operate without obtaining a bond, to make decisions regarding assets of the estate without court approval and to distribute the assets to the decedent’s heirs based on the decedent’s wishes and not a state law scheme.

What is a conservatorship?2020-09-03T22:26:56+00:00

An adult conservatorship is a method by which a person can manage another person’s financial affairs in the event of incompetence or disability. The person’s incompetence to handle his financial affairs must be proven to the Probate Court. A Power of Attorney acts in much the same way but must be established when the person giving the Power of Attorney is competent.

What is the average cost of a will?2020-09-03T22:27:45+00:00
Simple reciprocating wills (each spouse leaves all property to the other spouse and then to the children) usually start around $300.00 and rise in price with complexity. Powers of Attorney and living wills are also important to obtain.
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