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)


“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.




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:


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.



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



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.




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.

Alabama Adoption Law Summary

Adoption Law Summary


A Summary of Adoption Law


Consent: If the child is not yet born the birth mother must go before the judge to give her consent. All other pre-birth consents can be submitted before a Notary Public. The net effect of this means the birth father does not have to go before the judge to give his consent to the adoption. He can also deny that he is the father yet the same time give his consent to the adoption. This is called a denial and consent. Here he is saying, I’m not the father but, I will consent to the adoption anyway. It can be an easy way to deal with a reluctant father. Post birth consent must be in writing and signed and notarized.


Fees and Cost:. All fees and expenses must be approved by the court prior to payment or be placed in escrow. The court shall approve all reasonable fees and expenses unless they are determined to be unreasonable based upon specific findings of fact. A birth parent must sign an affidavit that he or she has received NO money or other thing of value for giving up a child for adoption.


Withdrawal of Consent:. Withdrawal of consent follows a somewhat stepped procedure, meaning that the further from the birth of the child the withdrawal is received by the court the harder it is to overturn the adoption process.


First Step:. The consent to adoption can be withdrawn within five days of signing or of the birth which ever comes last. Withdrawal must either be delivered to the court or postmarked within the five day period.


Second Step:. The consent may be withdrawn within 14 days after signing or the birth of the child which ever comes last and if the court finds the withdrawal is reasonable under the circumstances and it is in the child’s best interest.


Third Step:. The consent may be withdrawn at any time until the final decree upon a showing that it was obtained through fraud, duress, mistake or undue influence.

Fourth Step:. After one year from the date of the final decree, a consent or relinquishment may not be challenged on any ground except when the adoptee was kidnapped.


Adoption Procedure and Timeline


The petition for adoption should be filed within 30 days after the child is placed. It should be signed and verified by each adoptive parent. After placement with the adoptive parents and filing the court enters an interlocutory order giving the adoptive parents custody. Custody includes the right and obligation to provide care, maintenance, support and medical treatment.


The hearing must occur within 90 days of filing if a preplacement investigation has occurred, if not, then within 120 days.


Final Decree


A final decree after it is entered, cannot be collaterally attacked, except in the case of fraud or kidnapping after entry of the final decree and all possible appeals.

How to Adopt

How to Adopt


Open Adoption Versus Closed Adoption


I am a birth father and an adoptive father. Perhaps this gives me a unique position on how adoptions work. In my personal and professional life I have been on just about every side of an adoption. As a birth parent I know the joys and tribulations of raising a child from the natural process. I also know the anxiety which comes from an adoption. I personally participated in failed adoptions as an adoptive parent and also participated in the run-up to the adoption process by participating in medical treatments to conceive. Everything was difficult and painful. So, believe me, I know what being in a position of wanting to be a parent and being unable to fulfill that role can mean to finding a sense of completion.


As a birth father I know what it means to have the joy of being a parent and being there when your child is born. For that reason I know what special people birth parents are and understand what the difficult decision means to them.


Any adoption can be made an open adoption. An open adoption is one where the birth parents have some knowledge of where the the child has been placed. Generally an adoption is a closed affair – meaning that birth parents have no knowledge of where the child has been placed. It is up to the birth parents to require that an adoption is an open adoption. A closed adoption means that the birth parents do not know where the child will be placed.


When a couple seeking a child goes to an adoption agency they usually pay a fe to place their name on an adoption list for the purposes of locating a child.These adoptions are usually closed adoptions This means that strict rules of confidentiality are followed. All statutory rules that relate to the typical adoption follow this model. Everything is handled confidentially and neither the birth parents nor the adoptive parents know of each other’s location, existence or particulars. In my experience birth parents typically want to know where their child is going.


Let’s face it, adoption is a confusing and difficult process and contains many pitfalls along the way. Ultimately, it is my belief that the law has a balanced approach to forming a family in this rather unique way. It balances the interests of the birth parents for support and the desire of the adoptive parents to provide support. It also protects the birth mother by giving her the ability to renounce or consent in the legal ways provided under the law. None of the legal protections are done away with in an open adoption. The net effect is that the law protects all parties to the adoption process. None of these protections are compromised by the open adoption process. The real benefit is that all parties to an adoption have some sense of compassion and humanness toward each other for the best interest of the child. It is a beautiful thing to experience adults functioning in this way. It does make the process easier and in some sense more natural.


Many people initially are apprehensive of the prospect of an open adoption, but what does an open adoption mean?


In my experience the open adoption meets the expectations of the birth mother in a way that closed adoptions do not. Meeting these expectations may go a long way in helping the birth mother make the decision to go forward with an adoption. In an open adoption the birth mother may place the child where she wants and with whom. The court will still direct a home study and the parties can exchange whatever information they find necessary to be comfortable with the process. The court will still direct and control the adoption according to the adoption statutes.


How does it work?


When a birth mother contacts me regarding an adoption I make an attempt to find suitable adoptive parents. I normally keep the list in my office of couples who want to adopt. I do not charge a fee for keeping those names on file. Some lawyers do. The more people that are interested in adopting a child the easier it is for the birth mother to make a decision. In an open adoption the birth mother has the opportunity to select the adoptive parents from those that may have provided me with their names and other information. I believe that the ultimate choice for placement should be the birth mother’s and that she should be able to know where her child or children ar going to be.



I have had several open adoptions take place where the adoptive mother is actually in the birth room with the birth mother. In those instances the birth mother wanted the adoptive mother to bond with the child at the earliest possible moment. Meanwhile the adoptive father was in the waiting room with the birth father. Again this appears to be a very natural way for adults to deal with a difficult process. This is probably the biggest gain that comes from an open adoption. It is the sense that everyone is functioning for the best interest of the child. It also increases the prospect that adoption will be completed.

But make no mistake about an open adoption. Adoptive parents want a child to be part of their family. They do not wish to have the birth parents engage in raising the child they seek to adopt. How open the adoption process is up to the adults involved. I make it explicitly clear in the process of an open adoption. That being said, birth parents usually desire to receive occasional photos of the child but they do not engage in ongoing correspondence or continue contact with the adoptive parents after the adoption process is complete. But having a child and providing those pictures can be a small trade-off for actually having the child as your own. In effect, being adopted will only prove you can buy what a nickel buys, that is if you have a nickel. In other words, being adopted does not mean you have to feel adopted or less loved. For my part, there is no difference for the love of a child in the adoptive parents heart or that of a natural parent. I am both. You still feel you love your child no matter what side of the adoption process you are on.

Birth parents love their children enough to sacrifice their heart and themselves for that love. Adoptive parents love their children enough to sacrifice their heart and themselves for that love. That is why I do what I do. It is one of the most meaningful things that I do as a lawyer.


So what kind of support can the adoptive parents be called upon to provide? The adoptive parents can provide maintenance and support to the birth mother in any amount that the court approves. But the limits of the support must be approved by the court. These payments must be reasonable in their nature. The court will review the payments prior to anyone making them. It will be reduced to writing and must be reasonably related to the care and welfare of the birth mother. It can include rent, food, and education. I can discuss the safeguards that the law provides.


The point is no one can change the law. The court is at the crossroads of adoption. It remains there to safeguard the rights of all.


If you believe you would consider an open adoption either as a birth mother or as an adoptive couple do not hesitate to contact me.

Jury Selection

Criminal Law – Jury Selection


“Trying a case is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” – Henry Lagman


In every case the parties to a trial of the case have the right to select a fair and impartial group of citizens dear the controversy brought to court. This occurs in civil cases and criminal cases. The seriousness of being involved in an important matter is not mean that you or your attorney should not understand the process. I believe that jury selection is a tool that is overlooked and sometimes misunderstood. Likewise there are many approaches to jury selection in the conventional trial in criminal court each side is entitled to an even number of jury strikes or excuses. The number of strikes or excuses is based on how many much people must be eliminated to finally have 12 people who are willing to serve on a jury. The defendant therefore is entitled to the same number of strikes is the prosecution. But what does that gets you? Do you and your lawyer understand the biased and prejudices of those who are sworn to hear the case fairly? Let’s face it, we all have prejudices but what about the ones you don’t know about?


What do you make of an attorney that can excuse 56 of 58 jurors on a jury panel the calls of “prejudice” with one question?


In Alabama courtroom in a criminal trial I succeeded in eliminating 56 and 58 jurors. This was done in a packed courtroom with the jury box of attorneys who are watching the jury selection as they waited on the judge to take up their separate motions. They were mostly asleep as jury selection for an attorney can be almost routine. The judge thought jury selection would take place as it always did he could swear them in and dismissed them for lunch. As the judge presided in the Lars watch the proceedings with halfhearted interest I had my turn at the jury. The DA had asked five or six questions and waved the proceedings over. I asked one question, identified the entire panel is being prejudiced and then made a motion to strike the ENTIRE panel except for two jurors. The judge was stunned! Yet, he was compelled to agree with me. He stated “Esther Lagman we can try case with only two jurors!” Nevertheless, Mr. Lagman insisted that the jury be dismissed. On the record, and forced to agree the judge ordered the panel to go home.


The next month I was required to strike another jury in the same case before the same judge. This time out 36 jurors after a day of examination I excuse nine for prejudice. This left only 27 jurors to arrive at a jury of 12 I’ve been used by next regular excuses to arrive at a jury of 12. I had even the score so much that in the middle of the trial after I had made a motion to suppress evidence Dist. Atty. leaned over to me at a break and said, if your client will pay the court costs we will dismiss the case.” And so it was dismissed a victory for the defendant!


The importance of jury selection cannot be overrated. The defendant is not have to accept the jury which the state gives him and is drawn at random. You should give this equal fault when you seek to be excused from jury duty the next time you’re called it is the duty of every citizen to step forward one called if you don’t step forward, then who will step forward for you when you are before the judge and your future hangs in the balance?

If a lawyer thinking about hiring does not have trial experience can you really expect a good outcome? In selecting your jury to entrust your case does that jury have the ability to do that? Moreover that he had the courage and tenacious is to challenge the judge and the “excepted thinking” of how to try the case?


Only you can make those determinations – – – –


Not every case should be tried, but as I like to say, “trying a case is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.” The reason that I like to say it, is that for me it is true.