Family law issues have the ability to become emotional—so emotional that it can be difficult for those in the middle of the issue to see it clearly. For this reason, having an experienced Winston County family law attorney from Hankey Law Firm is essential. We will expertly guide you through any family law situation, whether divorce, child custody, adoption, alimony, paternity, or modifications of alimony or child support.
When you have a strong, knowledgeable attorney who has your best interests at heart, you are likely to have a much better outcome than those who attempt to handle their family law issue on their own. You need an advocate who will not hesitate to fight for you, your rights, and your future. That advocate is attorney Shelbie Hankey and her legal team at Hankey Law Firm.
Overview of the Hankey Law Firm and Our Values
Attorney Shelbie Hankey has been an attorney since 2004, starting her own law firm in 2007. Shelbie has the necessary experience and skills to help you through virtually any family law issue in the best way possible. At Hankey Law Firm our team works together for the best outcome for each client. We believe strongly that communication between attorney and client is essential. One of the primary reasons people become disenchanted with their attorneys relates to communication. They feel like their phone calls and emails go unanswered more often than not, and they become frustrated because they don’t know what’s happening in their case.
When you call Hankey Law Firm, you will almost always talk to an attorney or one of the two paralegals at the firm. Our goal is to thoroughly answer any question you may have, always ensuring that you know what will come next. We implement a client portal where documents can be uploaded to our clients. This is just another way we go above and beyond to ensure we are all on the same page, and that you feel heard. Along with stellar communication, we are simply one of the best family law firms in Winston County, because we never miss a deadline, and always prepare our cases as though they will go to trial. This ensures we are 100 percent prepared, no matter what unexpected things happen.
About Winston County, Alabama
Winston County, with a population of about 24,000, was known as Hancock County (after John Hancock, signer of the Declaration of Independence) until 1858 when the name was changed to honor the fifteenth Governor of Alabama, John A. Winston. The county seat of Winston County is Double Springs.
Today, Winston County capitalizes on being known as the “Free State of Winston” during the American Civil War because the area had few slaves and saw no benefit in secession. Winston County has four sites that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Winston County Courthouse, the Houston Jail, Feldman’s Department Store, and Archeological Site 1WI50.
What Does Family Law Encompass?
Family law issues generally include divorce, alimony, child custody, child support, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, paternity issues, modifications of alimony and child support, and adoption. Some attorneys also work with domestic violence issues as well. With almost two decades of legal experience, attorney Shelbie Hankey represents mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children in a wide variety of family court matters.
The decisions made by a family court judge may drastically alter your life as well as the lives of your children for many years. When you are in the middle of a divorce, it can be hard to think ahead and realize that your financial future as well as the relationship you will have with your children truly hinge on the outcomes of your divorce issues. Having a strong advocate who believes in you and will fight for you is essential.
What Services Does Hankey Law Firm Offer?
While most family lawyers handle divorces and child custody issues, some handle other family issues as well. The Hankey Law Firm offers the following family law services:
- Divorce can literally send you reeling, especially when it’s unexpected. Even among couples who have discussed divorce, many people feel like they have failed at their marriage, and it can be difficult to face all the decisions that need to be made. While the perception is that men are the ones that more often end marriages, according to the American Sociological Association, almost 70 percent of all divorces are initiated by women. Regardless of who initiates the divorce, having a strong Winston County family law attorney from Hankey Law Firm can definitely make the process go more smoothly with fewer complications. Speaking to an attorney before you file for divorce can also be a good idea so you can be sure you have everything you will need, including financial documentation. Often, when one spouse is largely in control of the finances, the other has no idea of what the marital assets and debts consist of, leaving them unaware of what they are entitled to receive.
- Alimony is generally a touchy subject, at least for the spouse who is ordered to pay alimony. Yet alimony can be absolutely necessary in many cases. In some marriages, especially those of long duration, one spouse gave up educational and career opportunities in order to further the career of the other spouse. One spouse may have agreed to stay home and take care of the home and children, giving up their own career opportunities. In such cases, this spouse is entitled to receive alimony from the higher-earning spouse. Periodic alimony sets a specific time limit on an alimony award and is generally reserved for marriages of longer duration, or for older spouses with fewer earning opportunities. Rehabilitative alimony usually lasts a maximum of five years, giving the lower-earning spouse the time to obtain training, education, or additional skills to increase their earning potential.
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be a smart way to ensure that assets you come into the marriage with remain yours in the event of a divorce. When there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, there are few questions regarding asset division when a divorce occurs.
- Division of assets in the state of Alabama falls under the rules of equitable division. While a handful of states remain community property states, meaning all marital assets are divided exactly down the middle, equitable distribution provides for a fair distribution of assets, although not necessarily a 50/50 split. Often, the higher-earning spouse is awarded two-thirds of the marital assets, with the lower-earning spouse awarded one-third. The exact circumstances of the marriage and the marital assets will be taken into consideration when a judge divides the marital assets.
- Child custody issues hinge on physical custody and legal custody. One parent is usually awarded primary physical custody with the other receiving visitation. Legal custody refers to the decisions made about the child’s education, religious upbringing, and health. One parent could be awarded sole legal custody, but it is more common that legal custody is shared. Physical custody can also be shared, although a true 50/50 split is rare unless the parents live close to one another and are able to get along well as far as making decisions for the children.
- Child support is figured using a specific formula that considers the gross incomes of both parents, adding the two incomes together, then dividing that number by the percentage of the gross income earned by each parent. Child support is usually paid to the parent with primary physical custody, under the presumption that this parent already pays his or her share.
- Paternity issues can differ greatly from one situation to the next. Sorting through often-conflicting evidence to establish a paternity order against the appropriate man can benefit greatly from a Winston County family law attorney from Hankey Law Firm. There are certain presumptions regarding paternity in Alabama. If a man and woman are married and a child is born during that marriage, the man is presumed to be the child’s father. If a man and woman are married but the marriage ends, the man is presumed to be the father of a child born within 300 days of the marriage’s end date. There are other paternity presumptions as well. DNA testing is generally done to establish paternity when it is in question.
- Adoption is a process that requires legal assistance. Whether you choose to engage in a private adoption or you adopt a child through the foster care system, there will be many legal issues that must be considered.
- Modifications of alimony or child support are sometimes necessary when the circumstances of one parent or one ex-spouse have changed considerably. If a child requires additional funds for a health or educational issue, the parent receiving child support can ask for a modification of child support. If a spouse receiving alimony remarries or begins cohabitating with another adult, the paying spouse can ask that alimony be stopped. There are many other situations in which a modification of alimony or child support may be warranted. A Winston County family law attorney can help you file a motion for modification, ensuring you have the documentation to back up your request.
What Questions Should You Ask a Winston County Family Law Attorney During a Consultation?
When you meet with a Winston County family law attorney, you will want to ask questions that determine whether the attorney has significant experience in your particular issue. You want to know that your attorney has helped clients in similar situations. Other questions you should ask include:
- How long have you been practicing family law?
- What strategy would you use for my case?
- How do you stay in communication with your clients?
- What do you expect from me during my case?
- How will having a family law attorney help me?
Hiring a Winston County Family Law Attorney from Hankey Law Firm
If you want a Winston County family law attorney that has integrity, is highly respected in the legal industry, and has the experience and knowledge necessary for your issue, you need attorney Shelbie Hankey and the Hankey Law Firm. We have been advocating for our clients for almost two decades, meeting every client that walks through our doors with respect and professionalism. We want to get to know you and your situation in order to determine the best way to help you achieve a favorable outcome. Contact Hankey Law Firm today for a comprehensive evaluation of your family law issue.