4 Reasons You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your Divorce

4 Reasons You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your Divorce

4 Reasons You Should Hire a Lawyer for Your Divorce

Are you considering reasons you should hire a lawyer for your divorce? While there are many reasons to hire an attorney for your divorce, here are four main reasons to hire an attorney to handle your divorce.

1. Attorneys are professionals

Practicing attorneys are professionals that have graduated from both an undergraduate university and law school. After passing the state’s bar exam, attorneys may practice in courts within their state and represent others during the pendency of their legal matters.

It is imperative to choose a lawyer that specializes in divorce and family law. Knowledge of the law and skills acquired from prior cases allow our attorneys to best represent you in your time of need and help to better ensure a fair outcome based on the facts we are presented, within the constraints of the law. 


2. You have obligations to both your family and your job

Because your divorce case is extremely important, assembling the best legal team possible to handle your case will make your life easier, the process less stressful, and increase your likelihood of personal success.

When getting divorced, your life does not stop. Parties still have to wake up and work daily, provide for their families, and continue to pay their bills. Therefore, having an attorney to advocate for you will allow you to spend less time stressing over your divorce and more time enjoying your family, friends, and life outside of the courtroom. 


3. Divorces involve complex litigation and procedure

Divorces and family law are their own specialized area of practice. Your divorce case is governed by both the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure and the Alabama Rules of Evidence. There are many important dates, deadlines, and rules that must be followed in your divorce. Having a responsible attorney will help you prepare the best legal case possible.

There is not only one way to try and prepare for a divorce case. Divorce can go many different ways and strategic, difficult decisions must be made when needed. Hiring a lawyer will promote your best interest and encourage an end to your marriage that best enhances your desired life post-divorce.


4. Your divorce outcome is lifelong and important

Although the process may be difficult at times, the fact is, you will eventually get divorced by the Court. Therefore, it is important to help craft the outcome that you desire with representation either through your divorce trial or an agreement struck along the way.

The judgment of divorce you will receive at the end of your case is final and will become instrumental in dealing with your ex-spouse, splitting your assets and debts, and/or navigating life as parents to child(ren) post-divorce. Addressing the end of your marriage is a serious matter, and will be best handled by an attorney who is qualified to protect your livelihood and shield you from potential adverse consequences.


These are the four most important reasons you should hire a lawyer for your divorce. At Herlihy Family Law, we are honored when members of the Mobile and Baldwin County communities entrust us to handle their divorce. We have an excellent team of experienced attorneys and staff that are prepared to help during your time of need.


Author: Walter Gewin

Attorney Walter Gewin is a native of Mobile, Alabama. After graduation from law school, Walter clerked for Circuit Court Judge John Lockett before pursuing a career in the private practice of law. Initially, practicing a wide variety of law; Walter’s practice has become more focused on family law, including juvenile, probate, and domestic relations matters. Walter also currently serves as a certified Guardian Ad Litem in Dependency, Delinquency, and Domestic Relations matters.

Can you move out of your house during a divorce?

Can you move out of your house during a divorce?

Can you move out of your house during a divorce?

Moving out is one of the most common questions we receive, but the answer is not as simple as you might think.  Many people think that moving out in the middle of a divorce constitutes “abandonment,” but this is a misconception.  The legal definition of abandonment, pursuant to Alabama law, is voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year next preceding the filing of the complaint.  This means that simply moving out does not constitute “abandonment” as a fault ground for divorce under the law.  You do not forfeit any assets or any legal right in the marital home because you move out.

This being said, the courts in our area all enter status quo orders when a divorce is filed which basically provides that the parties shall continue to pay their bills and expenses in the same ways and from the same sources as they did prior to filing for a divorce.  This means that many people cannot move out because they cannot financially afford to while also maintaining the status quo regarding the payment of bills.

If children are involved, things get more complicated.  If custody of the children is an issue in your case, your spouse probably will not agree to you moving out and taking the children with you.  If you want to be awarded custody of your children, it is not advisable that you move out and leave the children with your spouse because that creates the appearance that you are essentially agreeing for them to have custody of the children.  Courts can potentially hear requests for temporary custody while a divorce is pending, but they often will not award the same absent an emergency or safety issue.  Often, when both parents want custody of the children, they end up having to live together until their divorce is concluded unless they can reach an agreement about temporary custody and visitation.

The Basics of Family Law

The Basics of Family Law

Family Law is an area of law that deals with family matters and domestic relations such as divorce, child support, child custody, adoption, termination of parental rights, petitions for protection from abuse, alimony, pre, and post-nuptial agreements, and more.

It can also include other forms of family affairs such as:

  • Annulment
  • Conservatorships
  • Delinquency
  • Dependency
  • Grandparent Rights
  • Guardianships
  • Health Care Directives
  • Juvenile
  • Mediation
  • Name Changes
  • Paternity
  • Parent Relocation
  • Power of Attorney
  • Probate
  • Pre-nuptials
  • Protection from Abuse (PFA)
  • Spousal Support
  • Visitation
  • Wills

Helpful Terms to Know Around Family Law

There is a lot of legal jargon so we’ve broken down some of the terms you’re most likely to come across.

Legal custody is when a parent is responsible for making decisions about the child’s health, education, and overall welfare. Joint and sole custody are options for legal custody as well.

Physical custody is known by many for who the child lives with.  Physical custody means that one parent has been granted the primary responsibility for the child’s day-to-day care. Those responsibilities include providing the child with food, shelter, and safety. In this instance, the child resides at one parent’s home the majority of the time.

Legal Separation A Legal Separation and a divorce are almost identical in the fact that the procedures are the same. Child custody and support can be awarded, and assets and debts will be divided in both; however, at the end of the Legal Separation process, you remain married to your spouse.

Divorce settlements generally focus on three things: marital property division, alimony and support, and child custody and support.

Collaborative Law is a method of alternative dispute resolution wherein the parties commit to resolving their dispute out of court. Because parties to a divorce often need to have a continuing relationship due to co-parenting of children, Collaborative Law is ideally suited to divorce and other family law matters.

Uncontested Divorce refers to a divorce where the parties do not go to court, and the divorce is submitted solely on the parties’ written agreement.

Guardian ad litem In Alabama, a GAL is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the “best interests” of the child or children involved. A GAL’s duty is not necessarily to advocate for what the child wants, which can sometimes be opposed to what is in the child’s best interests. The Guardian Ad Litem will often be asked to present a recommendation to the Court for consideration after the case. While the Court will consider the GAL’s recommendation, the Court is not bound by what the GAL recommends.

Mediation Mediation is a method of alternative dispute resolution where a third-party neutral, typically a lawyer, facilitates a settlement agreement in your case.

Tips from A Family Lawyer

We have years of experience as family lawyers. With that, we’ve been able to create helpful video resources for people looking for more information on how to navigate divorce. Here are a few of our most popular videos that answer questions you may have.

DIY Divorce

People are often tempted to DIY or Google their way through a separation, but it’s worth consulting with a lawyer to see how they might be able to assist you. It may be more straightforward and affordable than you think.

We have found that the DIY divorce websites our clients use are not always in compliance with local laws. Furthermore, the judges and clerks at the Mobile Domestic Relations Court are themselves legally obligated not to give you legal advice, so there is no one to turn to for specific questions about your case, unless you hire a lawyer.

We can provide that much-needed legal advice and next steps. We’re here to help you get a fresh start and provide support during a traumatic period whether or not you and your partner decide to split ways. If you’re even contemplating a divorce, call us, and we can share the next steps and guide you through what that process might look like for you.

Reasons to Hire A Family Lawyer

A lawyer is an added layer of protection during contentious situations. You can communicate critical decisions and requests through your lawyer and remove yourself from the heated part of the argument. This is especially helpful if the situation is high conflict and very escalated. A lawyer can work with you to create a parenting plan that meets your family’s unique needs and isn’t a boilerplate web form. They have years of experience on what has worked well for other clients and what hasn’t worked so well so you can avoid crucial mistakes. When it comes to arranging summer break, vacations, and holiday time, this insight can prove invaluable.

You can let the lawyers handle some of the more challenging aspects of the separation and keep the focus on the interactions you and your partner do need to have. Your lawyer will be your best line of defense and protection if there is abuse or if you are being bullied or coerced into agreeing to something not in your best interests.

What Our Clients Say

“(Herlihy Family Law) was the strongest and most competent legal team I could ask for. As a father fighting for custody, I was intimidated going into this battle. From the very first phone call with Alison, I am positive I made the right decision. The entire team at Herlihy Family law helped me through my child custody case. They were always thorough, honest, hard-working, quick to communicate with me through every step and take action when needed. All information was presented to me in a factual and realistic manner without any fluff. My voice was always heard and valued. I am so thankful that I chose them and because of this team, I was awarded everything we were fighting for. I completely recommend Herlihy Family Law for anyones case.” – Dwayne McLain

Five Star Review on Google

Five Star Review on Google

We just received another Five Star Client review on Google from a recent divorce client:

Alison is what’s known as a “SME” (Subject Matter Expert) in military terms. If you are Honest, Respectful and follow her sage guidance, you will prevail in court. She is worth EVERY penny. Do your part, and she will definitely do hers. You could not ask for a better attitude.

Alison Baxter Herlihy P.C. Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Alison Baxter Herlihy P.C. Celebrates 10th Anniversary

February 28, 2021 marks the 10th Anniversary of Alison Baxter Herlihy P.C.  These past 10 years have flown by!  We have grown so much over the years.  Back in 2011, Alison rented a one room office at 401 Church Street, but now we have our own building at 1751 Dauphin Street and are a three-person office.  Heather Dennis is our legal assistant/office manager – Heather keeps everything running here efficiently and is our first line of excellent customer service for our clients.  Walter Gewin joined the firm as an Associate Attorney in September 2020 and is already an invaluable team member who helps us serve even more Family Law clients.

I want to personally express how grateful I am to my family, friends and colleagues for their support over the years and to all of my clients for trusting to me to handle some of the most important and sensitive legal matters there are – their families and their children.  Family Law gives you a unique opportunity and responsibility to help people resolve complex changes in their personal lives, and I try to appreciate that every day.  Thank you from all of us at Alison Baxter Herlihy, P.C!  We hope the next 10 years bring continued growth and opportunities to impact our community and serve our clients.

New 5 Star Client Review on Google

We just received this new 5 star client review on Google:

I went through a long and difficult contested divorce with no minor children. Alison and her team were so good at advising me throughout the process. They were patient and understanding with any issue I had. If I had questions or concerns, Alison was able to answer and put me at ease. She has a gift for being the right balance of firm and compassionate. In preparing for trial, she was knowledgeable, skilled and thorough. I would recommend her and her team to anyone for any area of family law.