meredith carpen​ter law, llc

meredith woods carpenter

family law attorney and mediator

 NEWS AND UPDATES

THE LATEST HAPPENINGS WITH OUR FIRM AND IN FAMILY LAW AND MEDIATION IN ALABAMA


Article - When Your Ex Calls: Five Rules of Engagement for Positive Interaction

November 2, 2020

Are you newly divorced, or have you been struggling with communicating with your ex for years?  Learning to make the change from partner or spouse to co-parent or ex is one of the most difficult transitions that people face at the end of a relationship or marriage.  I have experienced this on both a personal and professional level.  Keeping the anger, hurt, and other emotions out of it, and learning to treat this new stage as a "business" relationship is one of the most fundamental, yet difficult, things to learn.  click here for  five rules of engagement for positive interaction with your ex.  Please give us a call today so we can help you make this transitional time a little easier. 

Happy Fall!

November 1, 2020

I hope everyone has had a wonderful October!  Our office took a little break from blogging, but we are back and excited to get information out to you!  hopefully school is back in swing and life has gained a bit more normalcy for your family.   Much like the changing of the leaves, COVID sure has brought about a lot of change and asked us all to adapt in many ways that we really have no interest in doing.  Most Courts are now back in the swing of trials and in person hearings.  Let this fall season be a time of change for you!  The Holidays are quickly approaching and there may be emergency issues that you need heard quickly.    Please give us a call today for any family law or mediation needs. Our office is here to help answer any questions you may have about your options and next steps. 

Family Mediation as defined by the Alabama Center for Disute Resolution

September 4, 2020

What is Family Mediation?

    Family mediation is a process where an impartial third person, the mediator, helps people negotiate with one another to resolve issues relating to parenting, divorce, or issues that arise after a divorce.  The mediator can:  1) Help parties discuss parenting time and responsibilities; 2) facilitate discussion of assets and liabilities, including property and businesses, and spousal support, if any; 3) Allow each party the opportunity to communicate his or her concerns to the other party; 4) Encourage the parties to explore alternative ways to resolve problems; 5) Help parties negotiate an agreement satisfying to both; 6) Encourage parents to use problem-solving skills in the future to address issues and deal with conflict. 

    Please go to https://www.alabamaadr.org/web/publicinfo/FamilyMediation/index.php for more information and give us a call to schedule your mediation today!

Who can file a Protection from Abuse Petition in Alabama?

September 3, 2020

Alabama Code § 30-5-5 states:

"(a) The following persons have standing to file a sworn petition for a protection order under this chapter as a plaintiff:

(1) A person who is at least 18 years old or is otherwise emancipated and is the victim of abuse, as defined in Section 30-5-2 , or has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming the victim of any act of abuse.

(2) A parent, legal guardian, next friend, or the State Department of Human Resources may petition for relief on behalf of the following:

 a. A minor child.

 b. Any person prevented by physical or mental incapacity from seeking a protection order.

(b) Standardized petitions for actions pursuant to this chapter shall be made available through the circuit clerks' offices around the state.  The circuit clerk shall not be required to provide assistance to persons in completing the forms or in presenting their case to the court.

(c) A sworn petition shall allege the incidents of abuse, the specific facts and circumstances that form the basis upon which relief is sought, and that the plaintiff genuinely fears subsequent acts of abuse by the defendant.  With respect to a minor child who is living at home, the parent, legal guardian, or next friend seeking the protective order on behalf of the child shall:

(1) Have been an eyewitness to, or have direct evidence or affidavits from eyewitnesses of, the specific facts and circumstances that form the basis upon which relief is sought, if the party against whom the protection order is sought is also a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of the minor child;  or

(2) Have a reasonable cause to believe that the minor child is a victim of abuse to form the basis upon which relief is sought, if the party against whom the protection order is sought is a person other than a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian of a minor child.

(d) The court shall not enter mutual orders.  The court shall issue separate orders that specifically and independently state the prohibited behavior and relief granted in order to protect the victim and the victim's immediate family and to clearly provide law enforcement with sufficient  directives.

(e) Any plaintiff who files a petition under this chapter may do so through an attorney or may represent himself or herself pro se throughout the legal process outlined in this chapter, including, but not limited to, the filing of pleadings, motions, and any other legal documents with any court, and the appearance in ex parte and formal court proceedings on his or her behalf.

(f)(1) The following information shall not be contained on any court document made available to the public and the defendant by the circuit clerk's office:  The plaintiff's home address and, if applicable, business address;  a plaintiff's home telephone number and, if applicable, business telephone number;  the home or business address or telephone number of any member of the plaintiff's family or household;  or an address that would reveal the confidential location of a shelter for victims of domestic violence as defined in Section 30-6-1 .

(2) If disclosure of the plaintiff's address, the address of any member of the plaintiff's family or household, or an address that would reveal the confidential location of a shelter for victims of domestic violence is necessary to determine jurisdiction or to consider a venue issue, it shall be made orally and in camera.

(3) If the plaintiff has not disclosed an address or telephone number under this section, the plaintiff shall satisfy one of the following requirements:

a. Designate and provide to the court an alternative address.

b. Elect to substitute the business address and telephone number of his or her attorney of record in place of the address of the plaintiff on any court document.

(g) No court costs and fees shall be assessed for the filing and service of a petition for a protection order, for the issuance or registration of a protection order, or for the issuance of a witness subpoena under this chapter.  Costs and fees may be assessed against the defendant at the discretion of the court."


***** IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE THE VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CALL US TODAY!  IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER PLEASE CALL 911!!!  *****  

Grounds for Child Custody Modification in Alabama

September 2, 2020

Are you considering filing for a modification of your child custody agreement?  The standard that the court has set that you must meet in order to modify child custody is called the McLendon standard.  This standard is derived from an alabama case named ex parte mclendon, which outlines that 1) There has been a material or substantial change in circumstances affecting child custody; 2) Changing the custody order is in your child’s best interests; and 3) The benefits of altering the custody order outweigh the inherent disruption that results from the change.

Some of the most common reasons that you (or your child's other parent) may look to modify your custodial arrangement are:  you moved further away from the parent, you are of reasonable  belief that your child's other parent has abused or neglected them in some way, your child’s needs and/or preferences have changed, your child is in immediate danger due to domestic violence, drug use, or alcoholism in the other parent’s home,, you or the other parent has a new job that results in a different schedule, or your child's other parent repeatedly does not follow the current parenting plan.


if you are looking to modify your custodial arrangement, give us a call today.  this burden is a complicated burden to beat.  

What is the law in Alabama on Requirements for child passenger restraints?  See Below.....

September 1, 2020

Alabama Code Section 32-5-222 ----  Requirements for child passenger restraints.

(a) Every person transporting a child in a motor vehicle operated on the roadways, streets, or highways of this state, shall provide for the protection of the child by properly using an aftermarket or integrated child passenger restraint system meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards and the requirements of subsection (b). This section shall not be interpreted to release in part or in whole the responsibility of an automobile manufacturer to insure the safety of children to a level at least equivalent to existing federal safety standards for adults. In no event shall failure to wear a child passenger restraint system be considered as contributory negligence. The term "motor vehicle" as used in this section shall include a passenger car, pickup truck, van (seating capacity of 10 or less), minivan, or sports utility vehicle.

(b) The size appropriate restraint system required for a child in subsection (a) must meet the requirements of Section 32-5B-4 and shall include all of the following:

(1) Infant only seats and convertible seats used in the rear facing position for infants until at least one year of age or 20 pounds.

(2) Convertible seats in the forward position or forward facing seats until the child is at least five years of age or 40 pounds.

(3) Booster seats until the child is six years of age.

(4) Seat belts until 15 years of age.

(c) No provision of this section shall be construed as creating any duty, standard of care, right, or liability between parent and child that is not recognized under the laws of the State of Alabama as they presently exist, or may, at any time in the future, be constituted by statute or decision.

(d) Any person violating the provisions of this section may be fined twenty-five dollars ($25) for each offense. The charges may be dismissed by the trial judge hearing the case and no court costs shall be assessed upon proof of acquisition of an appropriate child passenger restraint.

(e) Fifteen dollars ($15) of a fine imposed under subsection (d) shall be used to distribute vouchers for size appropriate child passenger restraint systems to families of limited income in the state. The fifteen dollars ($15) shall be deposited in the State Treasury to be distributed by the state Comptroller to the Department of Public Health, which shall administer the program free of charge.

(f) The provisions of this section notwithstanding, nothing contained herein shall be deemed a violation of any law which would otherwise nullify or change in any way the provisions or coverage of any insurance contract.

(g) For the purpose of identifying habitually negligent drivers and habitual or frequent violators, the Department of Public Safety shall assess the following points:

(1) Violation of child safety restraint requirements, first offense ......................1 point.

(2) Violation of child safety restraint requirements, second or subsequent offense .............2 points.

(h) Every person transporting a child shall be responsible for assuring that each child is properly restrained pursuant to this section. The provisions shall not apply to taxis and all motor vehicles with a seating capacity of 11 or more passengers.

(i) Each state, county, and municipal police department shall maintain statistical information on traffic stops of minorities pursuant to this section, and shall report that information monthly to the Department of Public Safety and the Office of the Attorney General.

(Acts 1982, No. 82-421, p. 663; Acts 1989, No. 89-781, p. 1562, §1; Act 2006-623, p. 1704, §1; Act 2014-300, p. 1092, §1.)

article - 3 Things to Do When Your Ex Won’t Follow the Quarantine Rules

AUGUST 28, 2020

Co-parenting, quarantine, and covid rules and regulations is exhausting!  It seems like everyone today has a different opinion and outlook as to what measures need to be taken in order to ensure safety.  Often, co-parents have different guidelines in each of their households.  This makes it even more challenging to maintain safety when a child has to go between two households of differencing practices.  Click here to read about 3 things that you can do when your ex won't follow the Rules!

This is 40!

AUGUST 27, 2020

Turning 40 always seemed  like it was an enigma, and this event that was out somewhere in the future.  I had this picture in my head of what turning 40 would look like and how I would feel.  After 2 cancer diagnoses in a one year period, renal failure, the death of my mother, a marriage, a new baby, a blended family, and now a worldwide pandemic in the span of 3 years, I can say I am happy to welcome a new decade of life.  Reflecting back, I realize that the bad times shaped me far more than the millions of moments of good.  These hard times have turned me into who I am today, and how I approach life and this career I have been blessed with for over 10 years Now.  I am so honored to be here to help children and families in need for more than 10 years now, and want to say thank you to all those whose path I have crossed.  Thank you for allowing me to be here, support you, advise you, and counsel you during your troubling times.  I look forward to so many new memories in the next decade! 

WATCH: Complex Child Custody Issues During COVID-19

AUGUST 26, 2020

Navigating a divorce and/or custody case during COVID-19 adds more stress to an already stressful time.  Are you wondering what some of the issues you may face are if you are currently involved in court or planning to file?  Watch here to learn what some of the changes might be.  please give us a call today to help you navigate your case.

article - How To Stabilize Your Finances As A Single Parent During COVID-19

AUGUST 25, 2020

being a single parent is difficult, especially during these uncertain times.  globally so many individuals have found themselves in a place where they have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and the problems that it has caused.  single parents have found themselves in situations where they have to juggle trying to keep their job at the same time they are trying to take care of their children in the home.  click here to learn ways to help stabilize your financial situation as a single parent during this stressful situation.  please give us a call or fill out the contact form if you are unsure of options that are available to you.  our attorney will be happy to help you.

article - How do I Prepare my Estate Plan for a Divorce in Alabama?

AUGUST 24, 2020

   click here for Tips to prepare your estate for a divorce.  let us help you take care of what you need to do today!!

Jefferson County Bessemer Clerk's Office Closed due to COVID-19

AUGUST 23, 2020

The Bessemer Clerk's Office will be closed for deep cleaning Aug. 24-25 and will reopen on Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. To read the full order, visit our communication center: click here for details

Alabama Divorce Laws - Alabama Code Section 30-2-1

AUGUST 22, 2020

The state of Alabama has Statutory requirements for divorce that define the procedures a person must go through, and getting out of a marriage is far more complicated than getting into one.  before someone has standing to file for divorce they must reside in the state for at least six (6) months.  once a person is able to file for divorce there is  a 30-day waiting period before it can be final. The most widely cited cause for divorce in alabama is an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage.  However, other grounds for divorce in alabama include Adultery, cruelty or violence, drug and/or alcohol addiction after marriage, insanity, pregnant at time of marriage without husband's knowledge, and imprisonment for at least 2 yrs (if sentence is 7 yrs. or longer), crime against nature with mankind or beast before or after marriage, incompatible temperaments, voluntary abandonment from bed or board for at least 1 year, wife lived apart for 2 years without husband's support while she's residing in the state, and at the time of marriage one of the parties was incapacitated from entering into the married state.  Alabama offers a “no fault” divorce, meaning you do not have to prove or even allege any specific wrongdoing in order to get divorced.  The petitioner only has to show to the court that “there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family.”  if you and your (hopefully sooner rather than later ex) spouse have any children together, Alabama child custody laws will probably apply to your case.  additionally, state laws pertaining to child support will likely be involved.  even in the best of circumstances, a divorce is mentally, emotionally, financially, and/or legally challenging.  our attorney is here to help you understand the process and promises to work tirelessly to achieve the best possible outcome. You can get started today by completing our contact form!  we look forward to assisting you and answering all of your questions. 

article - These Apps Make Co-parenting (& Life in General) So Much Easier

AUGUST 21, 2020

Has co-parenting become a struggle?  is communication not something that you and your ex are successful at?  Click here to find some great apps to help you out!   

article - 7 Essential Back-to-School Tips for Divorced Parents

AUGUST 20, 2020

 CLICK HERE for helpful suggestions on a successful back to school experience for YOUR children after YOUR divorce.  parents can improve their children's already stressful back to school by putting their adult issues aside and working together.  please contact us as soon as possible if back to school has created problems for your custodial arrangement.  let's work together and get you a solution!  

article - Did your marriage hit the rocks during the pandemic? What divorcing homeowners need to know...

AUGUST 19, 2020

 click this link to read about ways to deal with property issues during a covid divorce.

article - how to protect your children when your marriage is ending:  Lessons from a veteran of divorce court

AUGUST 18, 2020

click this link to read about ways to protect your children when your marriage is ending.  Have questions?  We are here to help!

most current covid procedures and requirements per county

AUGUST 17, 2020

click here to find the most updated covid requirements and procedures per county.

FAMILY LAW MEDIATION CLE

AUGUST 15, 2020

YESTERDAY MEREDITH HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAY A FEW WORDS TO THE FAMILY LAW MEDIATION CLE AND HAD HER ADORABLE LEGAL ASSISTANT WITH HER.  THIS DEFINITELY EPITOMIZES #WORKINGMOM.

THANK YOU FOR STOPPING BY!

AUGUST 14, 2020

welcome to our new website!  THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHECK US O​UT!  PLEASE submit your contact information AND LET US KNOW HOW WE CAN BE OF ASSISTANCE.

ARTICLE - DIVORCE MYTHS:  COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DIVORCE!

AUGUST 8, 2020

click this link  to read ABOUT COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DIVORCE!  WE ARE HERE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS.  

BREAST CANCER RESEARCH TAG COMMERCIAL FILMING

AUGUST 6, 2020

meredith had the incredible honor of being asked by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation of Alabama to appear in this year’s commercial for the Breast Cancer Research Tag. as a breast cancer survivor this was something that she was very excited to be a part of.  Be on the lookout for it this Fall! #Survivor

article - Made Co-Parenting Mistakes After Your Divorce? Step Up To Make It Right!

AUGUST 4, 2020

click here to read about ways to improve your co-parenting relationship.  children need their parents to work together even though their marriage didn't work.