Alabama Adoption Procedures – How To Get Started

Alabama Adoption Procedures - How To Get Started

In this article, we’re taking a look at the Alabama Adoption Procedures. We also discuss how you can get started with your own adoption process.

Embarking on the adoption process is a huge life-changing moment. Both in the lives of the adoptive parents and the child or children being adopted.

In many cases, parents adopting children are doing so because they cannot have children of their own. Children in need of adoption are typically in the care system and experience some form of trauma in their lives.

It’s a scary, exciting, intense, and emotional process on both sides. This is why there are strict guidelines in place to make sure the process is as smooth and as successful as possible for all parties.

Don’t let the process put you off, however. With the help of an adoption attorney, it can be a smooth and rewarding experience. If you’re interested in adopting in the state of Alabama, below is everything you need to know about the procedures in place.

Step 1 – Meet the Alabama Adoption Requirements

There are several basic requirements adoptive parents must meet to be eligible for adopting a child in the state of Alabama. The Alabama Department of Human Resources clearly defines these.

The State Office of Adoption considers individual circumstances. Families can still request an exemption if one or more of these requirements are not met, however.

Meeting the following requirements may strengthen and speed up your application process:

  • Criminal background checks will be carried out on everyone living in your home above the age of 19 years or older
  • Applicants (the adoptive parents) must be at least 19 years of age
  • You must meet their health requirements to demonstrate you’re in good enough health to care for children
  • At least one of the parents must be a U.S. citizen if you’re married and adopting together
  • If you’re married, you must have been married for at least 3 years
  • You must have enough space and adequate housing for the number of children you’re applying to adopt
  • You will have to submit a financial statement to prove you are financially stable enough to support a child

Step 2 – Apply for Adoption Information

When you believe you meet all of the above requirements, the next step is to request a submittal form. This is the first point of contact between you and the State, so it’s important to be sure you’re as ready as you can be.

You can fill out an Adoption Care Inquiry form here. You’ll be sent some information in the mail. Also, someone from the Adoption & Foster Care team at the Alabama Department of Human Resources will contact you.

Step 3 – Attend Trauma Informed Partnering for Permanence and Safety (TIPS)

When your application has been received and processed, you’ll be contacted to attend meetings called Trauma Informed Partnering for Permanence and Safety (TIPS).

TIPS spans a total of 10 meetings totaling 30 hours. The program explains the adoption process in more detail and warms prospective adoptive parents to the process.

It’s your chance to both learn about adoption, as well as some of the children who are available, and what to expect. It also provides an outlet to ask any questions or discuss your fears, concerns, and ideas. Furthermore, you can share whatever you’re feeling with other people on the same journey.

Obviously, if you’re ready to adopt, you know how big of an impact it’s going to have on you and your family. Adoptive parents have found TIPS meetings to be an invaluable part of the process as it prepares everyone involved.

Alabama Adoption Procedures

Step 4 – Wait for Approval

Waiting is always hard. It’s especially difficult when something as important as waiting to be approved to adopt a child or children.

The approval process can vary a good deal, so it’s not possible to give you an idea of how long you’ll have to wait. All we can suggest is that you use this time to prepare yourself for the life-changing event ahead of you.

During this period, you will receive the Waiting Children Newsletter. This newsletter profiles some of the children awaiting adoption. When your application has been processed, the County Department of Human Resources will reach out to you.

Step 5 – Pre-Placement Visits and Background Information

After you’ve been approved to adopt, The State Office of Adoption will provide you with background details of children in need of placement.

You will have the opportunity to review the children’s background information. You can also ask any questions you have before meeting the children.

When you do want to move forward, they arrange pre-placement visits. Pre-placement visits will vary in length, and the number of visits will also depend on how the child behaves before, during, and after the visits.

It’s almost impossible to say how long this part of the process will take. It’s something you must discuss with your social worker, as it’s case-dependent.

Step 6 – Filing the Legal Paperwork

When your social worker and the child is happy with the pre-placement visits, they will place the child into your home. After the child or children have been living in your home full-time for at least 3 months, you can start the legal process of adopting them.

Your social worker will give you the Department’s Consent to Adopt. This is essentially stating that all parties agree that this is in the child’s best interest.

You can then begin the legal process of legally adopting the child. This is a step we advise retaining an attorney’s services experienced in handling child adoption cases in Alabama.

We’re sure you have enough on your mind at this time. The last thing you want to do is stress over the legal terms and deadlines. An adoption attorney can handle everything on your behalf and leave no room for error.

You Don’t Need To Go Through The Alabama Adoption Procedures Alone

Adopting a child is an emotionally-draining process. It would be best if you didn’t have to shoulder the burden of navigating the Alabama adoption procedures alone.

Attorney Warren Freeman is an experienced family law attorney. He has more than 20 years of experience handling adoption cases on behalf of expectant adoptive parents in the state of Alabama.

Whatever step you’re at in the process of adopting a child, call us at (256) 253-3169 or fill out a form on our contact page to find out how we can help.

We’ll get right back to you and arrange a time for a free consultation to discuss your individual circumstances.

The Most Common Criminal Law Charges and How To Avoid Them

The Most Common Criminal Law Charges and How To Avoid Them

According to the latest statistics made available by the FBI, across the U.S., a property crime is committed every 4.1 seconds and a violent crime every 24.6 seconds.

These are shocking statistics. Although, there are a number of things you can do to minimize your own risk of becoming a victim of crime.

Here are the top five most common criminal law charges in the U.S. and tips on how to avoid them:

1. Larceny/Theft

According to CriminalJusticeDegreeHub, by far the most common crime across the U.S. is larceny-theft. There are more than 7 million incidents of larceny reported each year, and this crime makes up around 60% of all reported crimes.

Larceny is theft, although the word “theft” is used for broader crimes. Depending on which state you live in, the word larceny might apply to different types of theft.

To commit an act of larceny, someone has to take property that doesn’t belong to them without the owner’s consent. If you’ve ever had some personal belongings stolen, you were likely a victim of larceny.

It’s important to note that a crime of larceny is different from robbery and burglary. These crimes are also covered separately on this list along with explanations.

How To Protect Yourself Against Larceny list the following points to help protect yourself against larceny:

  • Keep your possessions close to you when you’re out and never leave bags and other belongings unattended
  • Do not place your cell phone, car keys, and other valuables on tables when dining out
  • Keep your personal belongings in a secure drawer while at work
  • When shopping, keep your wallet, purse, etc secured on your body until you are paying for your goods
  • Do not keep your Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) in your wallet or purse
  • Make a list of all your credit card numbers, ID cards, etc along with customer service phone numbers in case you need to cancel your cards if they’re stolen

2. Burglary

The second most common criminal law charge in the U.S. is burglary. Although burglary often involves the theft of items, it’s a crime that can be committed without stealing anything.

To commit a burglary, someone has to enter a dwelling or structure with the intent to commit a crime. It’s possible for that person to be convicted of burglary, even without committing a crime inside the building.

If a person does commit theft while in the building, they can face multiple criminal charges.

How To Protect Yourself Against Burglary

Safewise lists the following as ways to prevent your home/business from being burglarized:

  • Install security systems and cameras
  • Improve the locks on the doors that give access to your building
  • Make your property looked lived in when you’re not there
  • Use motion-activated security lights
  • Always lock windows overnight
  • Join neighborhood watch groups

3. Motor Vehicle Theft

According to Wikipedia, in 2017 there were 237 motor vehicle thefts reported per 100,000 people across the U.S.

Motor vehicle theft also called car theft and grand theft auto is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal a motor vehicle.

Around 800,000 people are victims of motor vehicle theft each year, and this makes this type of crime the third most common.

How To Protect Yourself Against Motor Vehicle Theft

GEICO outlines the following as the best ways to reduce the risk of being a victim of motor vehicle theft:

  • Always keep your vehicle locked, even while driving
  • Never leave your car unattended and running, even if you’re popping out for just a couple of minutes
  • Install an anti-theft immobilizer and/or a tracking device
  • Never leave valuables inside your car where they can be seen
  • Try and park your car somewhere lit or with good visibility overnight if not in a garage

4. Aggravated Assault

The fourth most common criminal law charge is aggravated assault. The FBI defines aggravated assault as “an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.”

This is a very different type of crime from the top three on the list. Being a victim of an assault often has a much more damaging impact on victims over theft and burglary.

Weapons are commonly used, and victims are subjected to bodily harm. There is a physical, mental, and psychological impact involved when being a victim of an aggravated assault.

How To Protect Yourself Against Aggravated Assault

It’s often difficult to predict when you’re at an increased risk of an aggravated assault. Some tips to help protect yourself include:

  • Don’t go out late at night alone
  • Know your surroundings well, be cautious when exploring new areas
  • Listen to your instincts, if you feel uncomfortable or if you’re in danger leave the area
  • Be observant of your surroundings and keep an eye out for risks
  • Don’t be confrontational with people

5. Robbery

Robbery is the fifth most common type of crime. Not to be confused with larceny or theft, robbery is defined by the FBI as “taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.”

It’s estimated there are around 300,000 robberies reported in the U.S. every year. This covers everything from “strong-arm” robberies involving dangerous weapons to more “minor” incidents such as attempted purse snatching.

How To Protect Yourself Against Robbery

To protect yourself from being a victim of robbery recommends the following tips:

  • Be observant of your surrounds and remain alert at all times
  • Don’t make valuables visible if you can help it when out in public
  • Stick to well-lit areas late at night
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash on you
  • Display confident body language
  • Trust your instincts, if you feel like you’re at risk do something to remove yourself from the situation

Have You Been the Victim of a Crime?

If you’ve been a victim of a crime it’s important you are aware of your rights. You may be eligible for compensation or restitution, or you may feel like your case is not being handled correctly.

Criminal defense attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s of legal experience. He’s litigated some of the most challenging lawsuits across several counties in Alabama.

If you want to find out what your rights are and what the best outcome for your case is, call the office of Warren Freeman Attorney at Law today at (256) 253-3169.

Fault Based Grounds of Divorce

Fault Based Grounds of Divorce

In Alabama, couples that have decided to file for divorce have the option to file for either a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce.

A no-fault divorce relates to on irreconcilable differences. While a fault-based divorce is more complicated as it’s based on a spouse’s misconduct in the marriage.

Typically, a spouse will file a fault-based divorce if they feel “wronged”. Wanting to prove they were not the reason for the failure of the marriage.

Successfully proving the other spouse was at fault can also lead to a larger distribution of marital property.

So, it’s incredibly important you seek the advice and representation of an experienced lawyer. One with experience defending clients in fault-based divorce cases in Alabama – as Warren Freeman is.

Here’s a closer look at the fault-based grounds for divorce and what it means for both parties:

Fault-Based Grounds of Divorce in Alabama

Alabama law allows either spouse to file for a fault-based divorce if they see their spouse’s actions as a reason for the divorce.

There are some pros and cons to pursuing a fault-based divorce. In a lot of cases, it’s important to the spouse pursuing the count action to prove they were not at fault for the breakup of the marriage.

However, it is typically more expensive and requires more work to go through the fault-based count proceedings.

The spouse taking action also has to prove their allegations to the court. This often means bringing up some harmful or challenging evidence, which may include witnesses.

Here are acceptable grounds for fault-based divorce:

Physical and incurable incapacity – This can include being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As well as not being in the right state of mind or physical capacity to make the decision to get married.

Habitual drunkenness – Developing a dependency on drugs or alcohol and excessive intoxication while married.

Adultery – Being unfaithful and resulting in the breakdown of the marriage is one of the most common reasons for a fault-based divorce.

Imprisonment – This applies if a spouse has been imprisoned for the previous two years prior to filing for a fault-based divorce. They also need to be serving a sentence that is at least 7 years long.

Institutionalized – Institutionalized for at least 5 years consecutively at the time of applying for the divorce due to mental illness. This is also subject to a mental health evaluation by a mental health professional.

Abandonment or desertion – If a spouse abandoned the other for at least 12 months, in the eyes of this is fault grounds for divorce.

Domestic violence – Any form of domestic violence constitutes grounds for a fault-based divorce.

Pregnancy at the time of marriage – If the wife in the relationship was pregnant at the time of getting married without the other partner knowing, this comes under fault-based grounds.

Crimes against nature – Whether it’s with mankind or beast, crimes against nature while married are acceptable grounds.

When Both Spouses Are at Fault

Defending Against a Fault-Based Divorce

It’s not uncommon for one spouse to file for fault against the other. Only to have the other spouse counter-file with grounds for a fault divorce too.

When this happens, the court will decide which spouse is less at fault. That person will be the one who is granted the divorce.

This is called “Comparative Rectitude”. This doctrine was created to help courts avoid granting neither party a divorce.

Defending Against a Fault-Based Divorce

A spouse can object to a fault-based divorce and refute the claims made against them. This isn’t typically to avoid getting a divorce, as courts don’t push back against it. It’s usually to clear their name, prove they’ve done no wrong, and get a more “fair” division of assets.

Some of the most common defenses include:

Collusion – This usually applies to spouses who originally agreed to fabricate the grounds for divorce. One party will often change their minds during the legal process, and collusion is the defense to lessen the grounds.

Recrimination – This means the spouse filing for divorce is equally to blame or guilty of the same fault. For example, if both spouses are equally abusing drugs, neither one can use substance abuse as grounds for a divorce.

Connivance – This is the main defense against adultery. If the spouse filing for fault divorce enticed, participated, or had any involvement in their partner having an affair, it’s connivance.

Provocation – Provocation is a defense if the accused spouse can prove the other spouse provoked them. Such as encouragement to commit adultery or suffering harassment.

Condonation – This defense means that the spouse filing for divorce knew about the other spouse’s behavior, and forgave them. Only to then file for divorce after the marriage had resumed.

About Warren Freeman

Whether you’re facing a no-fault or a fault-based divorce, hiring an experienced attorney will help you seek a better settlement.

Divorce laws are complex, it’s not an area of law you’re expected to understand. Yet, there is so much on the line when dividing assets and parental rights.

Fault-based divorces are a lot less common and more complex than no-fault divorce cases. Hiring an attorney with experience in this area can make all the difference. Both to the judgment, and the settlement in your case.

Attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s legal experience. He’s litigated some of the most challenging lawsuits across several counties in Alabama.

Waren is one of the premier family law attorneys in Central Alabama. Most importantly, he has considerable experience representing defendants in fault-based divorce cases.

If you want the very best outcome in your case, call the office of Warren Freeman Attorney at Law today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.