5 Star Client Review on Google:

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.

How to Handle the Holidays when you are Getting a Divorce

How to Handle the Holidays when you are Getting a Divorce

The holidays can be a tough time for many people, and going through a divorce during the holidays can make it even tougher. If you adapt a few strategies, you can make this season a new beginning following your divorce rather than an ending.

Plan ahead: The holidays are a busy and chaotic time, so you cannot assume that old traditions will necessarily be the same this year due to your pending divorce. Think about what you are grateful for and how you want to spend this season of thankfulness and giving. You have plenty of people who care about you, so do not be afraid to reach out for Thanksgiving, Christmas or other holidays plans just because your customary plans may not be available to you due to your pending divorce. If you always spend Christmas dinner with your in-laws, that most likely will not be an option this year. Find someone else to enjoy Christmas dinner with, but be aware that the holidays are a very busy time so adopting new traditions takes advanced planning.

Communication is key: A divorce is a huge transition, so you cannot make any assumptions about how you, your soon-to-be former spouse, or your children will be spending the holidays this year. If you are trying to schedule multiple and separate holidays with both sets of grandparents or other extended family, communicate with your co-parent clearly and directly about plans and with plenty of notice, to help avoid confusion.

Put Your Children First: Divorce is very emotional, and it can be easy to get so caught up in the fighting and stress of litigation, that children sometimes feel lost in the shuffle. Absent unusual circumstances, it is good for children to have quality time with both parents, even during or after a divorce, so when you are making your plans, keep your children at the forefront of your mind.

Practice Self-Care: That old saying about putting your oxygen mask on yourself first applies more than ever during the holidays! The holidays can be a very stressful time in general, and then add that to getting divorced, one of the most stressful life events you can experience, and you have a recipe for poor mental and emotional outcomes during this season. Your self-care strategies are more important than ever if you are getting divorce during the holidays, including avoiding excess alcohol, getting enough sleep, eating nourishing foods, and getting some joyful movement and sunlight every day.

Set Healthy Boundaries: When you are going through a divorce, you may not have the bandwith to do all the things your normally do. You may be experiencing financial difficulty due to splitting your finances and separating households, so you may not be able to purchase as many gifts as in the past. You may feel so stressed and overwhelmed that you can’t host a dinner for 20 people or make cookies for the entire class, and that is OK! Don’t be afraid to say no to obligations and honor your own needs.

Walter Gewin – “About Me”

Walter Gewin – “About Me”

I am a family law attorney born and raised in Mobile, Alabama. I attended undergraduate school at the University of the South and the University of Alabama. After graduating from the University of Alabama in 2010 with a degree in business, I enrolled at Samford University at the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, AL.  

While at Cumberland School of Law, I participated in the legal fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and completed a legal externship with the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Before law school, I interned one summer for a District Court Judge in Mobile and during law school interned following two summers for a Plaintiff’s firm in Mobile. After graduating from law school in 2013, I sat for the Alabama State Bar Exam and was admitted in 2013.

After being admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 2013, I worked as a law clerk for a Circuit Court Judge in Mobile for a year and a half assisting with both criminal and civil trials. Following my clerkship, I went out on my own and began practicing family law. I have represented juveniles in delinquency cases, parents in dependency cases, and defendants in both district court and circuit court criminal cases. Additionally, I have acted as an AOC certified Guardian Ad Litem in delinquency, dependency cases, and divorce cases. Also, I have taken on many different kinds of probate matters including guardianships, conservatorships, mental health commitments, name changes, and partial and final settlements.

I specialize in family law matters including child support, child custody cases, dependency, and divorce cases. I thoroughly enjoy working with families and their various needs and can potentially assist with guardianship, conservatorship, name changes, delinquency, drafting of wills, and criminal cases as well.              

Managing Stress in Divorce

Managing Stress in Divorce

Divorce is one of the most stressful and traumatizing life events we can experience.  In fact, some studies show it is second only to the death of a love one in terms of traumatizing life events.  Don’t be fooled by the term “amicable divorce,”either – just because your divorce is a so-called amicable one, does not mean you will not experience complex and challenging feeling of loss, failure, and, yes, stress.  

When you experience a highly-stressful life event, it is more important than ever to practice self-care strategies.  There is an apt saying that self-care is not selfish – you can not pour from an empty vessel.

Here are some of Alison’s favorite self-care strategies:

  • Sleep!  Sleep is so important in terms of self care.  Stress and not getting enough sleep both contribute to irritability, mental and physical health problems, and cognitive impairment.  Get enough sleep by practicing good sleep hygiene – try to sleep and wake around the same time every day; avoid alcohol and screens right before bed, and keep your sleep environment cool and dark.
  • Yoga:  Alison has been an avid yoga practitioner for over 20 years and a yoga teacher for 5 years.  Yoga has been proven time and time again to help combat stress.  Any movement you enjoy helps with stress but yoga in particular decreases your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  If you are involved in divorce litigation, your cortisol levels are probably at an all-time high.  Alison teaches a community yin yoga class at Alabama Contemporary Art Center, which is suited for beginners and all levels.  Class is every Tuesday, 530pm, and is $10 for non-members.
  • Journaling:  Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out when you are experiencing a wave of challenging emotions.  The physical act of writing things down has also been shown to have a tremendous beneficial impact on decreasing stress and increasing your cognitive function.  When you are going through a divorce, you want your cognitive function to be at its best so you can can face the difficult decisions you have ahead.

Do you think you might need a deeper dive into stress management?  Check out Alison’s online course, Managing Stress Through Yoga: https://vinyasa-lawyer.thinkific.com/courses/managing-stress-through-yoga

Modifying your child custody and visitation

Modifying your child custody and visitation

When parents have been to court and both custody and visitation have been previously ordered, it can be hard to know when/if it is appropriate or the time is ripe to return to court concerning a modification of custody and visitation.

            As with any court action, many factors go into determining whether or not the time is right and the action is “worth” pursuing. Those factors include court costs associated with filing a new legal action, costs of legal representation, chances of your success, possibility of having to pay for the other parties’ legal representation, and potential of having custody/visitation modified in favor of the opposing party instead of in your favor.

            A substantial and material change in circumstances is required for a modification in custody/visitation to be warranted. This change of circumstances can vary case to case, but can involve a number of factors and can include a change of circumstances for either yourself or the other party. Some examples of how circumstances could change for the other party include the following: a parent on drugs, a parent’s change in living arrangements, a parent’s association with nefarious individuals, safety concerns regarding the child, the other parent’s mental state, the other parent’s fitness and ability to parent, a child not living with the primary physical custodian, the other parent is unable or unwilling to comply with the previously ordered arrangement, the other parent’s refusal to comply with the previously court-ordered custody/visitation arrangement, etc. Adversely, some examples of how circumstances could change/improve for yourself thereby potentially warranting a modification in custody/visitation could include the following: your completion of drug rehab and remaining sober for a period of time, your improvement of your living arrangements, the child lives with you instead of the other parent as the court had ordered, your move and/or inability to comply with the previously ordered arrangement, etc. These are just a few examples of common conditions that might warrant a modification in custody/visitation, but as with anything, circumstances vary and the potential for success is ultimately up to the judge as these actions are treated just like any other custody case and should be undertaken with the utmost care and with a qualified, knowledgeable attorney you trust. Modifications involve pleadings, court proceedings, motions, and a trial in front of a judge.

Parents are human and thereby the many factors of their living situation and ability to parent are prone to change over the duration of a child’s minority. An attorney can help you analyze your set of facts and determine if there has likely been a substantial and material change in circumstances as required for a modification in custody/visitation to be warranted. It should also be noted that a judge has the ability to award legal fees for your representation or make you responsible for the other parties’ legal fees, depending on the case. Therefore unmerited and unlikely modifications regarding custody and support should be avoided.

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.