Nov 25

Q & A with Pamela Scott Esq.

Q1. Tell us about yourself and your practice.

I am an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Alabama. My practice does primarily divorce law, child custody, child support, and adoptions. I do have referral arrangements with other attorneys in the area of personal injury, car accidents, worker’s compensation, and Social Security; this service is provided at no extra charge.

My main office is located outside Dothan, Alabama, at 6501 US Hwy 431, Headland, Alabama 36345. I also have an auxiliary office in Geneva, Alabama. I also travel to Montgomery once a month to meet clients. My phone number is (334) 677-1529, and my website is https://pamscottlaw.com.

Q2. What are the documentation one has to have at hand in divorce proceedings?

The parties need to have photo ID. If there are children of the marriage, they will need to have proof of income, child care costs, and health insurance costs; these three things are used to calculate child support under the Alabama Child Support Guidelines. If there are any prior court orders regarding these parties (such as a restraining order, child support order, third party custody. etc.), then they need to bring copies of the order.

Q3 .What should a party do prior to separating from their spouse or parent of their children?

They cannon legally separate unless by court order. Of course parties are free to reside in separate households under an informal agreement. Parties should take an assessment of their property and debts, and try to come to a resolution as to who gets what before they separate.

Q4. What factors determine the level of spousal support?

Alimony is based historically on the common-law right of a wife to be supported by her husband even after a divorce unless she forfeits it by her misconduct. Today, either a husband or wife may be entitled to alimony. The award of alimony and its amount are completely discretionary with the court, which considers such factors as the length of the marriage and the age, earning capacity, health, conduct, education, and income of each of the parties. There is no set mathematical formula in setting the amount.

Q5. How is child custody determined?

Child custody can be determined by (1) the parties by agreement or (2) by the court. If the court makes the determination, then it would decide child custody based on the best interest of the child, considering such factors as character and conduct of each parent, fault of the parties, age and sex of the child, past care and custody of the child, economic conditions of the parents, preferences of the child, and any prior custody orders regarding this child.

 

Q6. What is a fault based and no-fault based divorce?

Fault based grounds for divorce include adultery, desertion, imprisonment in the penitentiary, drug or alcohol addiction, mental incapacity, cruelty, or preexisting pregnancy of the wife. A no-fault divorce is one which alleges incompatibility as the grounds for divorce. Even though a fault based grounds may exist, the petitioning party may choose to proceed with the divorce on the grounds of incompatibility, especially if the divorce is uncontested.

Q7. What is a contested and what is an uncontested divorce?

A contested divorce is one where the parties are in dispute as to divorce issues, usually those issues regard the division of property, division of debts, child custody, etc. If the parties cannot resolve these issues between themselves, then they must take it to court for the judge to decide the issues. An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have worked out their issues in advance, and there are no disputed issues for the judge to decide. In an uncontested divorce, the parties construct their own settlement agreement defining their rights and duties and other issues of the divorce.

Contested divorces can be very expensive and time consuming. There is no guarantee that either of the parties will be satisfied with the judge’s final order. Uncontested divorces are much lower cost and can be resolved in a matter of weeks. Since the parties are the ones that construct their own settlement agreement, they are usually much happier with the outcome as well.

Q8. Will you accompany a party to court yourself or send a representative?

Under Alabama law, only an attorney can represent a party in court. I would therefore always accompany my client, and would never send a representative.

Q9. Must fault be proven to obtain a divorce?

No. A divorce may be obtained simply by the incompatibility of the parties. Only one of the parties need prove incompatibility in order for his petition for divorce to be successful.

Q10. Can a spouse successfully prevent a court from granting a divorce?

Theoretically yes, although in actual practice this almost never happens.

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