All posts by Legal One

Defending Against Ashley Madison Claims

Defending Against Ashley Madison Claims

By Henry E. Lagman

What a man would to be true, that he more readily believes.

—— Francis Bacon (1561-1620)

 

Ashley Madison claims of adultery are probably one of the most insidious claims to arise from the Internet age. People will believe them if they want. They are the equivalent to having your name written on the bathroom wall. This article addresses some of the reasons why they should not be believed on face value and why we should pause before having confidence in them.   One should attempt to avoid “An Uncontrolled Landing on the Sun” by believing them or prepare to obtain a divorce because of them.  As always consult an attorney skilled and tenacious in your defense if accused and if victimized by them one cautious in the preparation of your marital dissolution.

There are already reports of suicides, divorces, careers being destroyed. Other misfortunes will arise out of this breach of privacy. These legal and moral issues will have far ranging affects on government and personal lives.  A permanent change in living arrangements based purely on rumor and innuendo could be wildly damaging to the affected couples, children and financial fortunes of all concerned. Caution should be exercised in acting on them.

Why the Ashley Madison Publications should not be believed on face value:

1. The Problem of Republication. Most published lists of names upon the “Ashley Madison” site are republished from other sites. There are multiple publications. There are some publications that contain viruses, trojans and other electronic traps and devices. If these lists can contain those “additions” then it reasonable to assume that additions to lists and names could be supplied. As journalism they therefore rate as nothing more than rumor and unverified speculation. They are the repetitions of previous publications and not first hand information. Most creditable news organizations have not reported the lists, but merely the consequences of publication. They know the law regarding libel and slander and are not easily trapped into their own quagmire of litigation.

2. The List Can’t be Verified. The published lists of names and information are not subject to easy verification. In order for information on the internet to be admissible in court it must be authenticated. That means can we trust the information as proof? Does it mean what it purports to mean? Is it trust worthy? We have the tendency in the internet age to belief everything published. We see it in print and we take the information as true. Most of what is published on the internet is commentary- not primary proof. Many a journalist has lost his career due to unfounded claims and subjected themselves and their organizations to liability for libel. Repetition by sound is slander and the publication of the same over the airwaves will also have legal consequences similar to libel but arise from a different legal standing. True journalist are cautious about republication.

3. Light Weight Journalism. Reposting of the “Ashley Madison List” should be dealt with by actions against publisher and their internet domains by legal action. First a letter of withdrawal and then suits for injunctive relief should be entertained.  A challenge should be mounted against the publisher to “legally authenticate” the information published or withdraw it. Those “journalists” that can not authenticate the information would be liable for damages. Authentication is a legal concept which poses the question, “Who prepared the information?” “How do we know that the information is true and what weight should we give it?” Most courts will probably prohibit the publish information as legal evidence without legal  proof. This means can the information be collaborated? Are there credit card statements, admissions against interests, and other proof of an affair?

4. Identity theft We know that identity theft is a wide spread problem in our society. Actual proof that an individual made a post should be considered. If one’s identity could be stolen, posting on a site could also be accomplished. Again, a first reading of the list should be done with that in mind. Collaboration is the key. What other evidence exists to verify the postings? Is there an email trail or electronic evidence?  Can third parties to a marriage, (the general public) obtain that information? No.

5. Limited Admissibility Most courts strictly will probably deny the admission of the list and its allegations; other courts may admit the “list” but give it little weight; still others might only view it through the legal lens as evidence of incompatibility. Lastly, most courts may see these allegations as a distraction to the real issues involved in a divorce. In Alabama there are nine (9) grounds for divorce. Other states may have different grounds, but if they follow common law concepts, they probably track the same nine. By far the biggest ground for divorce is still evidence of incompatibility. Incompatibility as grounds for divorce can be as wide ranging as financial irresponsibility, verbal in fighting, to snoring or leaving the toilet seat up or down. Those that seek to make the most of the Ashley Madison publication and republication should remember the limits of the claims.

6. Chain of Evidence Problems The initial data breach of Ashley Madison and the publication by persons unknown bring huge legal problems to the admission of the Ashley Madison list. Those legal issues still remain to be sorted out, and are beyond the scope of this posting.  But “Chain of the evidence” refers to the handling of evidence and is a real concept of admissibility. Has the evidence been tampered with? Is it in the original form from its creation? Who created the evidence, Ashley Madison or some intervening party? Unless one can present the proper predicate or foundation for the admission of evidence it will be denied admission. Lack of the Chain of Evidence is one defense to its admission and would support its suppression in court. Those issues related to “Lack of the Chain of Evidence” support a finding of un-trust worthiness. This means the list would not be admitted in any legal forum. So caution about believing the truth of the Ashley Madison posting would be a wise decision. Again, if one is predisposed to belief the allegations are true one will believe them.

7. Collaborating Evidence Finding collaborating evidence of infidelity is probably more important than the appearance of a name on the list. That may be more difficult than may be appear at first blush. This is not to say that those accused should destroy the evidence. Spoliation of the evidence (the destruction of evidence) may give rise to additional claims outside of a divorce court. In Alabama, spoilation of evidence, is a separate tort claim. It is similar to a civil assault. It a cause of action or “right to sue” based upon the destruction of evidence. In Alabama before a claim for spoliation can arise a legal action must be pending or alternatively the party against who the action  may be filed must be placed on notice to preserve the evidence. Destruction of evidence in those circumstances can result in damages.  Other states may have similar or different approaches to destruction of evidence, but by and large the claim exists in all states. The fact remains that an appearance of a name on the “Ashley Madison List” in and of itself is still just a claim not legal proof.

8. The Devaluing of Adultery as a Ground for Divorce Adultery as a ground for divorce is not as potent as it once was. Though still a crime in Alabama criminal prosecution for adultery is rare in most states. Most courts still weigh the dissolution of the marriage against the best interest of the children, the financial resources of the parties and the earning potential of the separate parties. In an era where women have sought their “rights and independence”, economic dependence upon the resources of only one spouse in the form of alimony may not be what one would expect. Likewise alimony as been extended to men.   I would advise a more reason approach to the dissolution of your marriage. In effect one may need to “Be careful for what you may ask for- you may get it.” This is not to say the I condone extra marital affairs, but relying only on published or rumored reports of infidelity would be sketchy at best. Other issues such as custody, parenting ability, earning capacity and ability appear to be more important than merely pointing a finger and saying, “There he or she is an adulterer.” Affairs of the heart may not be penalized as harshly as actual acts.  You must have an overt act.  That is to say you must have proof an act has occurred.

9. Open Your Pocket Book Be prepared to spend a great deal of money for computer forensics. The costs and competency of so called “computer forensic specialists” vary widely. Their results can also be questioned by other computer forensic specialists in the courts, so again, you pay your money and take your choice.

 

10. Go to Counseling Lastly, if you have an otherwise good marriage, do  you what to jeopardize the success you have had? No marriage is easy. Divorce is permanent and is more akin to an expensive “An Uncontrolled Landing on the Sun”. Divorce should be the last resort. This divorce lawyer would advise caution before you file to dissolve your marriage. Seek counseling instead. So be careful to reacting to the Ashley Madison scandal when you find someone you know on the list.

Landing on the sun only results in the crew becoming ashes.

 

 

FAQ: Is visitation up to the child?

Is visitation up to the child?

Often I am asked “Is visitation up the child?” This question often comes up when the custodial parent states or the Non-custodial parent is told, “But the child doesn’t want to go on visitation.”

The short answer is:  NO.  Call me to discuss your particular situation because there are substantial nuances to every family problem.

The most recent case in which this was discussed was Morgan v. Morgan, a 2014 case.  The primary consideration in setting visitation rights is the best interest of the child. Not what the child wants.  What follows is the “Black Letter” law from the Alabama Courts.

What follows is what the Court wrote-

This court has held that “‘[t]he natural and proper relationship of a parent and child should be nurtured, encouraged and protected by the court after the breakdown of a marriage. No unreasonable impediment should be raised…. “‘… The responsibility for the cultivation of that relationship should rightfully be upon the father, and the mother, not upon the child. To so place it is to probably destroy it, not protect it.’ “Moore v. Moore, 57 Ala.App. 735, 331 So.2d 742, 744 (Ala. Civ. App. 1976); see also Parker v. Parker, 269 Ala. 299, 303, 112 So.2d 467, 471 (1959) (reversing a judgment placing visitation at the discretion of the child and stating that ‘a decision as to what is best for the child’ should be made by the trial court rather than the child).” H.H.J. v. K.T.J., 114 So.3d 36, 44 (Ala. Civ. App. 2012).

In Parker v. Parker, 269 Ala. 299, 303, 112 So.2d 467, 471 (1959), our supreme court reversed the trial court’s judgment when it had failed in its duty to determine the best interest of the child. “It seems apparent that the change in the decree is grounded essentially on the desires of the child, a boy eleven years old. Moreover, the decree, in giving the child the sole right to determine, for at least half of each month, which parent should have his custody is geared to his variable desires in the future. There seems to be little need to catalogue the reasons why such a provision is inappropriate. It is sufficient to say that it places on this young child the exclusive responsibility of determining, from time to time, which parent should have custody. Thus, a decision as to what is best for the child is made by the child himself and not by the court.” Parker v. Parker, 269 Ala. at 303, 112 So.2d at 471.

Also instructive to this court are our decisions routinely reversing judgments when the control of visitation has been vested entirely in one person or one couple. See, e.g., Bearden v. Murphy, 120 So.3d 1096, 1098 (Ala. Civ. App. 2013) (“[L]eaving visitation to the sole discretion of the custodial parent … require[s] reversal.”); and Bryant v. Bryant, 739 So.2d at 56-57 (reversing a visitation provision that allowed the mother to determine the father’s visitation).

Although we are not unsympathetic to the youngest son’s feelings, we hold that the trial court erred in vesting total discretion regarding a noncustodial parent’s visitation in one person, and, in this case, that person is a child who cannot be expected to comprehend the legal, social, financial, or emotional implications of maintaining or of severing his relationship with his father. See Moore v. Moore, 57 Ala.App. 735, 737, 331 So.2d 742, 744 (Civ. 1976) (reversing an award allowing a father visitation at the discretion of the children on the basis that the award was “manifestly unjust” under the facts). Therefore, we reverse the trial court’s judgment insofar as it relates to visitation, and we remand the case with instructions for the trial court to enter a visitation order that fashions a visitation schedule that facilitates a relationship between the husband and the youngest son and that serves the best interests of the youngest son. See DuBois v. DuBois, 714 So.2d 308, 309 (Ala. Civ. App. 1998) (“The primary consideration in setting visitation rights is the best interest of the child.”).

Morgan v. Morgan, 2120101, 2120390

 

 

Being a Witness|Preparing for Trial

Client Training to be a Good Witness and How to Prepare for Trial

I believe that client training is important.  You need to be trained to testify in court.  Professional witnesses, (Police officers, Expert witnesses, and others receive this training, now you can too.) Knowing how to prepare for court and getting ready to testify is probably one of the most critical parts of taking any case to court. Yes, you can go into your lawyer’s office in sit through hours of preparation while he bills you at his hourly rate. Your expenses go up and most often your tension to does too. Continue reading Being a Witness|Preparing for Trial

Alabama Out of State Visitation

Alabama Out-Of-State Visitation

Out of state visitation can be a problem. In Alabama when a noncustodial parent lives outside the state the domestic court judge can provide for out-of-state visitation with the minor children. What does this mean? This usually varies from court to court and judge to judge. Further, this can vary within each County and in some cases with the judges in that County.

Most judges however provide what is called “Standard Out-Of-State Visitation” as a guide to the parties. Continue reading Alabama Out of State Visitation

About Makin’ it Legal ——The Legal Blog

Makin’ it Legal

 

Makin’ it Legal is the name of my Blog. From time to time I will make a post in my blog to discuss things that may interest you. They will cover a wide range of topics not only of a legal nature but things that are nonlegal.

I will attempt to educate my clients as to the nature of the legal system and how they can win their legal matter. I hope to have it be stimulating. Please respond with questions so that we can maintain a dialogue.

I’ve always believed that you can be the best lawyer in the world, but if your client is not on the same page, they can take the stand all is lost. Many of my clients have heard me say that I want them “inside the bubble.” By that, what I mean, is that they should understand what the case is about; what we are attempting to accomplish and how we are going to do it. From time to time this blog may seem incomplete and focused on only one area. But please do come back or suggest topics that you would like me to address.

Another goal is to serve as a training area for my clients. Only time will tell if it is effective.

Henry Lagman

Why Write Parables

Why Write Parables

(Copyright 2012)
(ALL RIGHTS RESERVED)

 

“When you get to that part of your life and you think you have something to say to yourself, and you won’t stop talking long enough to listen- you take up writing.”
– Henry Lagman

 

These parables are stories which were prepared as a part of my participation in the November 2012  National Write Your Novel Month. The threshold was 50,000 words for the month. My word count was 76,723. I did not write a novel, but sought to amuse myself by these stories. Eventually I did start a novel called Judge Knott. It is as of yet not posted. People have asked me if the stories are true.

 

THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT!

 

I have a fertile imagination, and varied life experience. Throughout it all I have remained a student human nature. I enjoyed the “because” and “what if.”  If these stories are true, they are only true because of the very nature of parable. They are true because they have meaning only in the mind of the reader and the broader lesson they teach.

 

I’ve written this website and the stories posted.  I like to think of these stories as parables –as they can have meaning for life and your specific legal problem. If you are a client, you will understand how I think. If you are not, sadly you don’t know how I think.  From this page you will find the stories – just click the link.  At one time they were hidden from the general public. They are now open. If you desire to send me a message, you may enter your message in the place provided. It will automatically appear in my email. I’ll post new stories is a may be written for your enjoyment insight. The National Write Your Novel Month is over but I continue to write for my own enjoyment.

Enjoy exploring this website.

 

From the questions I have received the answers are as follows:

 

Yes.
No.
Not hardly

 

I write between 2,500 to 7,000 words every day between four o’clock in the morning and eight when I go to work. So please don’t call me then I am occupied; the family needs their sleep.  I roll out of bed in the morning, get my decaf, “Os” and rock on my computer until the sun comes up.

 

The stories have not been extensively edited. The goal of the National Write Your Novel Month was to inspire writers to write, not edit. So I’ve had to write and write quickly. I posted my stories online for others to enjoy and to challenge myself publicly to complete the test set before me. Each story has a number and date written. If you come across a “grammar” gremlin or a typo please bear in mind that editing is not part of the contest rules. I’m not a self-professed grammar guru. It does drive me insane – if that is a consolation. If I improve my writing it because I’ve gotten better by doing. The editing is to be done after the fact. I will attempt to posted version number so you can see if the story read has remained intact. Who knows, in the rewrite the butler may actually do it.

 

If you have questions you want to ask, ask away.  I  will attempt to answer them, just drop me a line. Like the page on your facebook if you care. That does make me feel noticed.

 

If you have questions about story ideas, how I do what I do, I will attempt to answer them. I enjoy dialogue with people. If something doesn’t make sense to you, it probably didn’t make sense to me – but I wrote it anyway. Sometimes I don’t think I have hit the mark, but at others I think I have. I may not know if you don’t tell me, but of course nothing is required of you or from me.  I do want to clarify what I do and make it a rewarding experience with those of you who paused here and were interested enough in reading what I wrote. Please don’t hesitate to ask or tell me something is wrong.  I will keep your comments to myself and act on those to the best of my ability. I have my own limitations as a writer but I am mindful that I’m doing this for fun and not for profit. That being said – I retain the copyright on my work product. Therefore you can read the stories online, or on your phone, but they cannot be printed out.

 

These stories were usually written in pairs. By this I mean that I wrote a story to illustrate a point and wrote a another story to illustrate the counterpoint. Often I wrote the story to illustrate the aphorism quoted in the story heading.  In others I wrote a story in opposition to the aphorism. The goal was to explore what makes us human and imperfect- yet amazing. I don’t expect people to agree with me but I do expect you to have an opinion.  I may not agree with yours but please drop me a line to express it.

 

My goal was 30 stories in 30 days. Not all have been posted. I met my writing goal in spades.

 

I have continued writing after the month is over. I will stay with this as long as the muse is with me; my wife turns off electricity or doesn’t put me out.

 

Enjoy and comeback soon.

 

Edited:

July 24, 2013

September 1, 2014

 

Wills in Alabama

Making a Will

 

General Questions about Wills

Estates in Alabama

 

What Is a Will?

A will is a document provides the manner in which a person’s property will be distributed when he dies. A person who dies after writing will is said to have died testate. If someone dies without writing a will they have died intestate.

 

Who may make a will?

 

In Alabama the maker of a will must be:be at least 18 years old;

of sound mind; and free from improper influences by other people.

 

How do I make a will?

 

A will must meet certain requirements set by the state to be considered valid.

 

In Alabama the following requirements must be met:

The will must be written.

The will must be signed by the maker. The will must be witnessed by two people in the manner required by law.

 

May I dispose of my property in any way out is our by making a will?

 

Almost but not quite. There are some limitations set by law to avoid placing hardships on the people who survived the deceased. For example a married person cannot completely exclude the other spouse from sharing in the estate. A larger can best explain all the limitations.

 

How do I know if I need to write a will?

 

Any amount of property which you own constitutes your state. Generally the size of your site and your family circumstances will determine whether you need a will. And the state does not have to be any particular size to justify a will. If you have young children, or property which you would like to assure can be given to certain people, then you should consider writing a will.

 

When do I need to consider a will?

 

It will should be written while the maker is in good health and free from any emotional distress. A prudent person does not wait for a catastrophe or other compelling reason to make a decision.

 

Who may draft a will?

 

There is no requirement that a person consults a lawyer for drafting their own will. However, the proper drafting of a will can be a delicate operation, and it is best to consult someone who has experience. A lawyer can make sure that your will is legal and your property will be given to the people you intended. A lawyer can also help construct a will salute your family saves money in administrating the estate and reduces their taxes.

 

Is a will expensive?

 

A lawyer will usually charge for will according to the time spent in preparing the will. If you have a small state and a simple plan for distributing your property then your will should cost less than one for a large complex estate with several people receiving property.

 

May will be changed once it’s written?

 

A person may change his will as often as he desires. However the changes must meet the same requirements listed above for the original will. No change should be made without first consulting the person who drafted the will.

 

How long is my will “good”?

 

A properly written and executed will is “good” until this is changed or a vote. Writing a second will usually written revokes your first will. However if there’s a change in your state or your family makeup you may consider changing your existing well writing a new will. For example to sell your house you may need to change your will to reflect the change in your estate.

 

What should I do with my will once it is written?

 

Once you have written your will you should keep it in a safe place such as a safety deposit box at a bank. You should also let your family know where the will is so that they can find it when you die.

Driver’s License Suspension

Driver’s License Suspension

 

Being arrested and charged with a DUI does not allow you much time. In fact, time is not on your side. You need to act quickly and seek out competent counsel who can assist you with all the legal ramifications associated with this serious criminal charge.

 

A Summary of why Driver’s License Suspension can be happen when you receive a DUI

 

You only have a limited amount of time to contest being charged with a DUI. You must act within 10 days of being charged. Unless you act quickly your license will be automatically suspended for 90 days- even for a first time DUI. This suspension is separate from the criminal charges of a DUI and can have far greater repercussions than even the DUI. This is something of which that most people are unaware.

 

I know how important the ability to drive is in our modern society. Not having a driver’s license often means that you can’t get to work or run the risk of compounding the present DUI charge with additional charges of Driving While Suspended. I handle every facet of you DUI Charges, including the administrative hearing which accompanies every DUI case. Contact me immediately so you can make sure that your rights and freedom are protected. You can be allowed to drive. You must act quickly.

 

It is important to have an Attorney you knows DUI Defense.

 

I have been a member of the National College of DUI Defense. This is the leading professional college regarding representing those charged with DUI. I have had extensive training and experience in defending those charged with DUI. It is important to have an attorney who knows the DUI laws and has extensive trial practice in dealing with these charges.

 

The suspension of your driver’s license will occur automatically. Even if you are not convicted of a Driving Under the Influence unless you take immediate action to request a pre-suspension hearing by an administrative hearing this suspension will take place. You only have 10 days from the date of the arrest to make this demand upon the State of Alabama. Contact me immediately so I can make sure that your license is not suspended and your ability to drive is not impaired.

 

At the time of your arrest you were issued an AST-60. This was in addition to the the ticket you received from the officer. This form is an 8 1/2″ by 11″ yellow sheet of paper and is designed by the state to serve as your driver’s license for a period of 45 days from the date of your arrest. Unless you request an administrative hearing within 10 days of your arrest your license will be suspended and if you drive without a license after the 45 day period granted you by the AST-60 you run the risk of being charged again with a separate offense of driving while suspended. This will only complicate your situation with further fines and costs.

 

You have to act immediately to keep the suspension from occurring. This can happen even if you are ultimately found not guilty of the driving under the influence charge. You must act now to contest the suspension of your driver’s license or else lose the ability to drive.

 

Alabama law does not grant a “temporary” driver’s license. In other words if you are stopped by law enforcement for any reason and do not have a valid license you will be issued another citation not only for the traffic stop (if there is a violation) but also for the charge of driving while license suspended. This can result in mandatory jail time. This suspension will be added to the suspension time already incurred. This extension of time can be be accumulated in such a manner as to put you in a spiral from which you may have a difficult time recovering.

 

I am very familiar with defending Driving Under the Influence charges I have obtain numerous acquitals. Making this demand for an administrative hearing immediately is extremely important as the State of Alabama holds that driving is a privilege and not a right.

 

I can not stress how important making an appointment with me to discuss your case. I have participated in many driver’s license administrative hearings and can determine what is the best defense to take in handling your Driving Under the Influence.

 

Often the best course is to appeal the suspension ruling by the Department of Public Safety  This will involve filing a separate case in the civil court to prohibit the state’s action. You will need to have a resolution of these legal matters in a way most favorable.

 

I have 30 years of experience in handling Driving Under the Influence cases and driver’s license administrative hearings. This allows me to prepare a suitable defense for both the criminal trial of your driving under the influence case and the civil action which might be necessary to protect you legal interests and your driver’s license.

 

Contact Me Today

 

Our office is conveniently located just off of I-65. We are open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with weekends and evenings by appointment only. When charged with a Driving Under the Influence charge you must act immediately. Time does not favor you. Call me to determine how you need to proceed by call me at 205-987-2005 or contact us by using the form on this website.

 

Law Office of Henry E. Lagman
1905 Indian Lake Drive
Suite B
Birmingham, Alabama
Telephone:205-987-2005 Fax: 205-987-2095

 

DUI

Driving Under the Influence or DUI

 

A Driving Under the Influence or DUI is a serious criminal charge. You can be imprisoned for up to a year on the first offense. That is why I have taken specialized training in Driving Under the Influence defense over my extensive legal career. It is important to have someone to represent you who is an experienced criminal defense attorney. One who knows what it takes to win and will work vigorously to resolve the charges. You may be subject to serious possible legal and financial consequences. As an experienced Alabama DUI Attorney I know how to defend the most difficult of Driving under the Influence cases.

 

I have been a member of the National College of Driving Under the Influence defense. This is the most prestigious professional organization associated with the driving under the influence defense in the legal profession. Members of this organization receive highly specialize training from national recognized leaders.This college sponsors teaching and learning opportunities not just from nationally ranked attorneys, but also from technical leaders, professors and thinkers in the field of Driving Under the Influence defense. With only a phone call I can talk on a first name basis with many national Driving Under the Influence experts across the nation. I have handled many difficult Driving Under the Influence cases.

 

For example:

 

In Jefferson County, Alabama a police officer was charged with a Driving Under the Influence by a State Trooper. The jury was out an hour and 15 minutes before coming back with a not guilty verdict.

 

In Lee County, Alabama, a Driving Under the Influence case was dismissed after 56 of 58 jurors were disqualified when I asked them only one question. In the retrial of the case before the same judge I disqualified nine of 40 jurors for “cause”. After one day of trial the case was dismissed by the prosecution with the payment of court costs. I make the prosecution work.  Making them work means they know I mean business.

 

There are others, but these are just two of the most unusual Driving Under the Influence cases I’ve handle in my career. I’m not afraid to go in to battle for my clients and will go throughout the United States to handle my clients interest. I will fight aggressively to defend your rights and your best interest. I know how to handle complex legal and scientific issues in every Driving Under the Influence case.

 

If you are being charged with a Driving Under the Influence, it is not the only thing you have to worry about. You must also be concerned about losing your driver’s license. There are direct consequences for not requesting an administrative hearing when charged with Driving Under the Influence. If you are convicted of a Driving Under the Influence, even the first-time offenders can have their driver’s license suspended for 90 days under the Alabama Driving Under the Influence statute. This 90 day time limit will be extended for longer periods if there have been prior Driving Under the Influences.

 

You need to call me today!

 

My office is conveniently located just off Interstate 65 in North Shelby County. Our office hours are 8:30 AM to 5 PM Monday through Friday, with weekends and evenings by appointment. You don’t have much time before your driver’s license is suspended. Determine your best course of action today by calling me for a free initial consultation at 205–987–2005. You can also contact me through this website.

ADOPTION IN ALABAMA FAQ

ADOPTION IN ALABAMA

 

What is an adoption?

 

How to adopt.

 

Adoption is the legal procedures through which a minor is recognized by law as being the son or daughter of the adopting adult or adults and is having all the rights of inheritance. The adoptee takes the name designated by the petitioner.

 

Who may adopt?

 

Any person who is 19 years of age or older. The adoption code specifically prohibits discrimination in granting adoptions on the basis of marital status or age.

 

You can be adopted?

 

A minor, defined as being a person under the age of 19.

 

What are the steps usually involved in an adoption?

 

The Adoption Process

 

A. Preplacement investigation (may petition the court will go to the Department of Human Resources or license child placing agency.)

B. All necessary consents and/or relinquishments concerning the adoption are obtained.

C. Guardian ad litem is appointed either natural parent of the adoptee is a minor or in case of a contested hearing.

D. Petition the court for authority to pay fees or expenses.

E.. Placement of child with the petitioners.

F. File petition for adoption 30 days after placement.

G. Serve notice or obtain waivers of notice on or from all parties entitled to notice of the adoption.

H. Post placement investigation.

I. Hearings

J. Affidavits of nonpayment

K. Accounting of disbursements

 

What is a preplacement investigation?

 

It is an investigation conducted for the purpose of determining the suitability of each petitioner and the home in which the adoptee will be placed. Investigation will include a criminal background search will focus on any other circumstances relevant to the placement of the adoptee.

 

Is it always necessary to have a preplacement investigation?

Yes, unless the person seeking to adopt is a close relative of the adoptee as listed and 26 – 10 A – 27; 26 – 10 eight – 28 of the code of Alabama.

 

Whose consent to the adoption is required?

 

Adoption consent

 

A. The adoptee if 14 years of age or older and less mentally incapable of giving consent.

B. The adoptee’s mother.

C. The adoptee’s presumed father if he meets the requirements set out in 26 – 10 A – 7C of the code of Alabama.

D. The agency to whom the adoptee has been relinquished which holds permanent custody except that a court may grant an adoption without the agency’s consent when would be in the child’s best interest agencies withholding of consent is unreasonable.

E. The putative father is known; provided that he response within 30 days after receiving notice of the adoption.

 

Can a minor consent to the adoption of his or her child?

 

Yes, however, prior to such consent court must appoint minor parent Guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interest. A minor who is 14 years of age or older can nominate a guardian ad litem to protect his or her interest.

Can a person revoked a consent to adoption executed by him or her due to the fact that at the time the consent was given that the person was a minor?

No, consent to relinquishments executed by parent who is a minor shall not be subject to revocation by reason of such minority.

When, where and what form must consent for relinquishments for adoption be given?

A consent early punishment for adoption may be given at any time. The free birth consent of the mother must be signed or confirm before a probate judge. All other free birth post birth consent for relinquishments must be signed or farm for the probate judge or the floor of the probate court or someone appointed by the agency conducted an investigation or a Notary Public. Consent for relinquishments must be in substantially the same form as provided in the adoption code and must be in writing and signed by the person consenting for relinquishing.

 

When made consent for relinquishments be withdrawn?

A consent for relinquishments may be withdrawn for any reason five days after the birth of the adoptee or five days after signing the consent for release whichever occurs later. The time to withdraw the consent relinquishments can be expanded to 14 Days Court finds that such delay is reasonable under the circumstances in the best interest of the child.

 

Where is a petition for adoption filed?

A petition for adoption may be filed in the probate court of any of the following counties: where the minor resides in the cold for the petitioner resides or is in military service, where the office of the agency or institution having guardianship for custody of the minor child is located.

 

When is a petition for adoption file?

The adoption petition must be filed within 30 days after the minor is placed with the prospective adoption parent(s) for adoption. If the person seeking the adoption the stepparent or relative of the adoptee in the adoptee must reside with petitioner for a year before such petition is filed. If the child is not live with stepparent wealthy for a year, the adoption will perceive in the same manner as all other adoptions unless the court waives the residence requirement.

 

Can I pay the parent of a minor or unborn child for the child?

No! An offer to make such payment as a class a misdemeanor, to receive payment for a person’s consent to an adoption is a class C felony.

 

What expenses I pay?

A person seeking to adopt a child may pay maternity connected medical or hospital and necessary living expenses of the mother preceding birth and during pregnancy and during pregnancy related incapacity as long as such payments are made as an act of charity in such payment is not contingent upon placement of the child for adoption. All fees and expenses, including legal, medical, investigative, or other legitimate professional fees may only be paid with court approval.

 

How confidential is an adoption?

The adoption code is designed to keep an adoption is confidential as possible.

A. Before a final adoption decree was rendered the only people with access to the adoption records are: the petitioner, petitioners attorney; preplacement investigator and any attorney appointed or retained by the minor being adopted. No other person has access to the adoption records unless they obtained a court order after showing good cause to allow them to inspect the records.

B. All adoption hearings are confidential and held in closed court open only to the interested parties and their counsel, except with leave of court.

C. After the final decree of adoption is entered all documents and identifying information pertaining to the adoption are sealed and cannot be obtained by anyone except the adoptee under limited circumstances. (See below).

D. Natural parent (s) may consent in writing under oath disclosure of identifying information to the adoptee when such adoptee reaches the age of 19. The adoptee upon reaching the age of 19 a petition the court for disclosure of identifying information. Such information will not be released to the adoptee the natural parent’s consent unless the court determines it is best after weighing interest of the parties involved.

 

What is the difference between adoption by stepparent or close family member and other adoptions?

There is usually a lot less formality requirements with adoptee is being adopted by stepparent or close family member. Unlike other adoptions, usually no preplacement or post-placement investigation nor counting of costs related to the adoption is required. In order to be exempt from these requirements the adoptee must have lived with petitioner for at least one year.

 

Can grandparents obtain visitation rights to see the adoptee after the adoption?

Ordinarily grandparents have no visitation rights with their grandchildren the natural parents rights had been terminated by adoption. However, at the court’s discretion the court may allow such visitation rights if the child is adopted by a close relative or stepparent provided is in the child’s best interest.