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Custody and School Issues

Picking out new school clothes and school supplies, meeting new teachers, and adjusting schedules can make getting the kids back to school stressful for any family, but for divorced parents, this time can be even more stressful as custody issues can often impact schedules, purchasing decisions and even school choice.

There are ways to make this stressful time easier for you and your children by minimizing the opportunity for conflict between you and your former spouse and keeping the back to school experience as smooth as possible for you, your children and the school.

BE A PLANNER

Back to school also means back to activities. Band practice, school plays and football games will begin to fill your child's schedule. It is important for you to be a planner in these situations.

Go ahead and sit down with the school system's year-long calendar and identify days that are school holidays or early dismissal days. Make sure you and your child's other parent are clear on which parent will pick up your child and drop off your child at school and who will be with your child on each holiday break or early dismissal day.

Being aware of upcoming events and holidays and planning for any potential conflicts with your visitation schedule will alleviate a source of conflict and confusion.

BE UP FRONT WITH COSTS

Back to school season comes at a price. School uniforms, new notebooks and school fees can add up quickly. It is important that you communicate with your child's other parents about the expected costs that are associated with your child's education. Keep track of this costs and document them with receipts so that there is no confusion about who paid for what and how much each required item costs. Communication and documentation are key to decreasing conflict over back to school related expenditures.

If you would like to discuss custody issues with us, please give Agricola Law a call at 334-757-7997

Getting Through The Holidays With Grace During Your Divorce

This time of year can be a magical one, especially for families with children. Visits to Santa, holiday-themed parties, family get-togethers, and school vacation – life certainly gets hectic. And even if you don’t have kids, the holidays can still put a lot on your plate.

When you’re going through a divorce, or recently became divorced, the seasonal hustle and bustle can seem completely overwhelming.

It’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and that many people are going through the same experience. During our time practicing law here in Opelika, we’ve had the opportunity to put together a few tips that might help make the holidays easier during your divorce.

  • Priority one should be the kids. You and your ex-spouse should have the same goal for your children – that they enjoy the holidays, spend time with family and friends, and decompress during the school break. Make the most of the time you spend together over the holidays, and do your best to work together and cooperate with your ex.
  • Create new traditions. Things change after a separation or divorce, whether or not you have children. It’s important to blend in new traditions with your old ones as you enter a new phase in life. This can be as small as adding a new film to your holiday movie rotation, or doing charity work with your kids – as long as you have something special to share in the years ahead.
  • Avoid spending the holidays alone. Many mental health experts warn not to isolate during the holidays, especially when it’s the first one post-divorce. Try to make plans with people you care about, whether they’re friends or family. You could host a get-together, volunteer at a church or shelter, join a support group, or find another way to give back. Any of these will help you avoid being alone, and others will appreciate your presence.
  • Focus on your favorite things about the holidays. Try to take a break from the stress of your divorce. Don’t let your split stop you from enjoying any part of the holidays, especially if you have kids – they may feel guilty about having a good time. Just about everyone can find something to like about this time of year, and it doesn’t have to be a lavish gift. Maybe holiday cookies, music, looking at decorations – find what you enjoy and celebrate.
  • Consider taking a social media break. Studies show when we’re already feeling depressed, comparing ourselves to others on Facebook or Instagram can actually make us feel worse. Think about deleting the app for a while and giving yourself a break from the stream of staged family photos. You’ll be surprised how freeing it can feel.

Contact an Alabama family law attorney today

Here at Agricola Law, we’d like to take the opportunity to wish you a happy holiday. We’re pleased to continue serving your East Alabama and Chattahoochee Valley family law needs throughout 2019. To schedule a meeting with an experienced attorney, contact us today.

DO I NEED TO HIRE A DIVORCE ATTORNEY?

This is a question many people ask themselves when a divorce is brought up. If you are in the middle of a messy divorce, of course, you should call an experienced local divorce attorney. Barbi Agricola provides legal aid for divorces and custody battles to residents in Alabama and Georgia and would love to help navigate you through a difficult divorce. Barbi takes each case personally and fights each case as if were her own. With a passion for justice and compassion for her clients, Barbi understands what your needs are legally, as well as emotionally, during this difficult time. If you need a divorce or child custody lawyer, consider choosing Agricola Law.

We will get into reasons you may need to hire a divorce lawyer in a moment. But first, let's take a look at why you might not need a divorce attorney.

WHEN DO I NOT NEED A DIVORCE LAWYER?

Truthfully, not every divorcing couple requires a divorce lawyer. Some divorces are mutual and even amicable. Even when kids are involved, parents often can agree that it is best for the child to see his or her parents equal amounts and they can peacefully divorce and share custody without ever setting foot in a court. At the very least, a divorce lawyer can act as a mediator and inform you of your legal rights and draw up paperwork, but they must act as a neutral third party in this situation. This is fine for a couple who can agree on "who gets what" and just needs some legal help to get the process moving. When children are involved, this is the best way to go about a divorce if possible. Quick divorces are easier for children to move on from, rather than long, drawn-out, messy divorces.

But what happens when this isn't the case? What happens when your spouse is trying to take your kids away from you? What happens when they refuse to pay child support or alimony? What happens when things get ugly?

Call Barbi Agricola For Legal Aid During A Divorce Or Custody Battle

FIND THE RIGHT DIVORCE LAWYER EARLY

When things start getting messy, it is important to find a local divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Be sure to let your divorce attorney know what you want. If you want her to negotiate a peaceful settlement, let her know. If you need her to go to court and fight for your full custody of your children with all her might, tell her. Barbi Agricola, your trusted divorce attorney in Georgia and Alabama, can do both. Her approach will depend on your specific situation, as well as how your spouse's lawyer is behaving.

Five Reasons To Hire A Divorce Lawyer

  1. If your spouse has been abusive verbally, sexually, emotionally, or physically towards you or your children, hiring a divorce attorney is essential. If you fear your spouse might harm you or your children during the divorce, get a temporary restraining order and seek any help you need to find a safe space to live.
  2. If your spouse has been manipulating or lying to the courts or mediator, hiring your own divorce lawyer can help uncover the truth.
  3. If there is a battle for custody over your children, hiring a divorce and custody lawyer can help you get the results you desire. This is especially important if you think your spouse might vindictively accuse you of being an unfit parent.
  4. If your spouse hires an attorney, you need to hire one ASAP.
  5. If you will require financial support, a battle divorce lawyer can help work out alimony, child support, and compensation for wasted marital assets if your spouse has been spending shared funds behind your back.

WHAT TO DO AFTER A DIVORCE

Just because the divorce is finalized and you are, hopefully, happy with the results, doesn't mean you're done with your divorce lawyer. Sometimes exes do not hold up their end of the agreement, and other times legal paperwork still needs to be taken care of, For example, keep an eye on the following scenarios that might affect you post-divorce.

  • If you have a will and testament that states everything will go to your ex-spouse, a divorce does not nullify that should something happen to you. Be sure to speak with your estate lawyer to adjust your beneficiaries.
  • Additionally, if you were awarded certain assets during the divorce such as a full ownership of a car or house, and your ex-spouse is not moving forward with paperwork to finalize this, additional legal aid may be necessary.
  • Make sure you are no longer responsible for any previously shared debts if that is what the divorce settlement says.
  • If the divorce settlement stated certain monthly child or spousal support payments that you find yourself unable to afford after the divorce, seek a divorce attorney to help rework payments.
  • Ensure that your visitation rights to your children are upheld, and of course, seek legal services if your ex is trying to deny you your rights.

Choose Agricola Law As Your Divorce Attorney

Barbi Agricola is ready to help guide you through the divorce process while fighting to maintain your rights. Give us a call today to speak with our Opelika divorce attorney.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE IN A CAR ACCIDENT

Being involved in a car accident is never fun. Though we try our best to avoid them, sometimes the unexpected happens. As your trusted Opelika car accident lawyer, also serving the surrounding areas, we'd like to offer some advice on what to do in the moments and days immediately following a car accident.

Be Prepared Before It Happens

The best defense is a good offense. If you do not have your updated car insurance and registration in an easy-to-access space in your car, you need to assemble those documents as soon as possible. Of course, you should also always have your driver's license and your medical insurance information available at all times as well. You will need these documents to exchange information or seek treatment following an accident. Other items to keep on hand include an emergency kit that can be kept in your car. This kit should have items like a flashlight, emergency triangles or flares, first aid supplies, and even a pen and paper writing down information should your smartphone be lost in the crash. Speaking of smartphones, it is also a good idea to know who you will call after an accident. This can include your local car accident lawyer, a contact number for your insurance agent, non-emergency police number, and any other phone numbers that might be important.

Now that we have discussed everything that you should already have available, let's talk about what to do immediately after an incident.

Contact Barbi Agricola For Legal Aid After A Car Accident

ASSESS INJURIES AND GET TO A SAFE PLACE

Make sure to check your surroundings before exiting your car, as other drivers might be too busy looking at the crash to see you standing next to your car. If you or any other participants are injured, call 911 immediately. If you or another person is unsure if they are injured, call 911 anyways. If possible, snap a quick picture of the accident scene and then move the cars to the side of the road. If the cars are undriveable or if there are injuries, leave the cars where they are and call 911. Try to move any people to the sidewalk or shoulder.

DOCUMENT THE SITUATION AND COLLECT INFORMATION

For legal reasons, you should never admit guilt after an accident, even if you believe it was your fault. Of course, do not leave the scene of the accident, as this could be considered a hit-and-run. It is always okay to call the police and ask to file a police report, especially if there is major damage. Tell the police exactly what happened. Only tell them the facts you are sure about. For example, do not say, "I think I ran a stop sign but I'm not sure." You could say, "I entered the intersection and our cars hit each other." Before the police officer leaves, ask for the police report number which you can later use to view the police report. It is also a good idea to get their names and badge numbers just in case you have trouble finding the police report.

Take pictures of all cars involved from all angles. This will be important later for filing insurance claims. After you have pictures, exchange information with any other drivers. You will need to get their name, address, phone number, and insurance information. If there are other passengers involved or witnesses who stayed on the scene, ask for their names and phone numbers as well. If a driver is combative and unwilling to give you information, stay calm and call the police.

SPEAK WITH YOUR INSURANCE AGENT

Call your insurance company as soon as possible. Let them know you were involved in an accident. Again, do not admit that the accident was your fault. Additionally, many drivers have Med-Pay as part of their insurance agreements - this is a section of car insurance coverage that covers medical bills after a car accident. These benefits extend to anyone who was in your vehicle at the time of the accident. Keep in mind, your insurance company should not increase your rates for submitting injury claims with Med-Pay. If they try to do this, contact your Opelika and Auburn personal injury lawyer immediately. Med-Pay is especially important if you have a high health insurance deductible.

BE CAREFUL BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR SIGNATURE ON ANYTHING

Do not sign anything from anyone - including the police, your insurance company, or the other party's insurance company - saying you are not injured. Read all documents before you put your signature on them. Sometimes injuries are immediately noticeable. However, due to the nature of car accidents, many injuries cannot be seen. It can take anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks after a collision to feel the effects.

Other than talking to the police, do not provide any official statements about the accident until you have a trusted Georgia or Alabama car accident attorney by your side. If you are feeling unsure about talking to the police, you can also speak with your car accident lawyer before filing an official report. Keep all documents relating to the accident - this will help you get the compensation you deserve following a collision.

SHOULD I FILE A CAR ACCIDENT CLAIM?

Many people ask, "Should I file a claim after an accident?" We have all heard horror stories of claims causing your insurance premium to go up. Let's say an accident is your fault. Perhaps you rear-end someone at a stop sign. Even a fender bender at 15 miles per hour can result in repairs costing several thousand dollars. Often times, it will cost you less in the long run to pay high premiums for a few years rather than offer to pay for the damages with cash. When the tables are turned and someone else is clearly at fault, then their insurance should pay for all damages. If their insurance isn't stepping up, or if the driver is uninsured, you should contact your Alabama and Georgia car accident attorney to see if you should file a claim with your insurance company and to help negotiate all claims.

What To Remember After A Car Accident

That was a lot of information! Let's go over the main points one more time.

  • Assess injuries, move to a safe place, and call the police if necessary
  • Take photos of the vehicles and collect contact and insurance information
  • Never admit guilt, do not apologize even if the accident was your fault
  • Do not sign any documents saying you are not injured
  • Do not make any official statements without speaking with your car accident lawyer
  • Inform your insurance agent of the crash and let them know you will be using your Med-Pay coverage if you have any injuries
  • If you are injured, call your personal injury lawyer

Barbi Agricola Is Your Trusted Georgia And Alabama Car Accident Attorney

Barbi Agricola is proud to provide legal services to over two dozen counties in eastern Alabama and western Georgia. Our service areas include, but are not limited to, Lee, Chambers, Macon, Russell, and Montgomery County in Alabama, and Muscogee, Harris, and Troup County in Georgia. Check our service areas to see if Agricola Law can serve as your car accident lawyer.

If you have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, you will need a respected and experienced personal injury lawyer to help you receive full compensation. Agricola Law can negotiate with insurance companies and even take your case to court if needed to try to get your compensation for medical bills, lost wages, disability, and more. Contact Agricola Law today.

CLIENTS UNDERSTAND ASPECTS OF THE LAW
Always striving to help our valued clients understand aspects of the law that may affect their lifestyles, business or financial futures, we are proud to provide easy-to-understand blog posts, written by both us and our staff. By keeping abreast of the changes in local and state statutes, and providing usable information to our valued clients, we strive to keep our reputation as Alabama's friendliest law firm, solidly intact. For in-depth legal advice and guidance regarding any of our areas of legal expertise, we invite you to contact our offices directly for a confidential consultation.