RESOURCES

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a DWI/DUI?

A DWI or DUI charge may be a misdemeanor if it is based on a suspect driving, or operating or in being in physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, a narcotic drug, or a combination of any of the foregoing.  Even use of prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs can result in a DWI/DUI offense if the medication or drug impairs the driver’s ability to operate the motor vehicle.

 

What is the difference between a divorce and a legal separation?

The short answer to this question is that a divorce includes a final, permanent division of the assets and liabilities of your marriage and a legal separation does not include a final, permanent division of the assets and liabilities. In a legal separation as well as a divorce there can be an order issued by the Court which will include child support, alimony, and the use of certain property and assets as well as the allocation between the parties of certain financial obligations to creditors. However, there is no dissolution of the marriage, therefore, during a legal separation, the parties are not allowed by law to “date” or permanently dispose of property that remains at issue within the marriage.

 

How is child support determined?

 Alabama law requires the courts to calculate child support according to the Alabama Child Support Guidelines adopted by the Alabama Supreme Court. The Court combines the income of the divorcing parents, determines form the Guidelines the applicable amount of child support for the number of children of the marriage based upon that income, adjusts this amount for work-related child care expenses and health insurance premiums, and then assigns a portion of that support amount to the non-custodial parent based on his or her percentage share of the combined income.

The most important factors to be considered by the court in making a child support determination are the needs of the child and the ability to the parent to earn wages and pay his or her portion of the support. A parent’s obligation to pay child support may be based on his or her proven ability to earn a certain amount of money, not what the parent is choosing to earn. Child support is paid until the child reaches the age of majority (19 years old), but can be extended beyond that in circumstances where the child in mentally or physically disabled.

How Can I Recover from Wrongful Death?

Alabama law defines a “wrongful death” as one that is caused by the “wrongful act, omission, or negligence” of another. Section 6-5-410 of the Code of Alabama specifies that the estate of a deceased person may bring a wrongful death suit against a party that causes such a death in any case in which the deceased person could have brought a personal injury claim, had he and she had lived.

 

Can I Recover for Personal Injury?

Alabama, like all other states, has a law called a “statute of limitations,” which sets a time limit for filing different kinds of lawsuits. For personal injury cases, the time limit in Alabama is two years, meaning you must file a lawsuit against any potential defendant within two years of the date of your accident. (See Ala. Code. Sec. 6-2-38.) If a minor is the injured party, this time limit does not begin to run until he or she turns 19.

What if you do not file your claim within the two-year period? In most cases, your claim will be time-barred, meaning you will be unable to recover anything from those who are responsible for your injuries. So, it’s crucial to understand and abide by the statute of limitations.  

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