Michael Cana and M

BIRMINGHAM FAMILY LAW
AND DIVORCE ATTORNEY

As a husband and father of three young boys, Scott Harwell, the owner of Harwell Law Firm LLC, understands the importance of family.  As an experienced Birmingham Divorce and Family Law attorney,  Harwell Law Firm LLC has represented over a thousand clients in divorce law, child custody, child support and other family law matters. If you have a question about Family Law, please call us today at (205) 980-1445 or via e-mail at ContactUs@HarwellLaw.com.  If you choose to hire us as your Family Law attorney, you will be hiring a Christian Family Law and Divorce Attorney with over 18 years of experience.

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FOUR OFFICE LOCATIONS
IN BIRMINGHAM

Unlike most Family Law firms that market on the internet that they are a Birmingham Divorce Attorney, a Hoover  Divorce Lawyer or a Shelby County  Divorce Attorney for search engine purposes, Harwell Law Firm LLC actually has four office locations in the Birmingham metro area with two offices located in Shelby County and two offices located in Jefferson County. We have an office in downtown Birmingham at The Wells Fargo Tower, an office off of Highway 280 near Chelsea, a Hoover office near the Riverchase Galleria and a Homewood office at Southbridge.

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FAMILY LAW AREAS
OF PRACTICE

  • DIVORCE
  • CHILD CUSTODY
  • CHILD SUPPORT
  • ALIMONY / SPOUSAL  SUPPORT
  • PROPERTY DIVISION
  • ADOPTIONS
  • CHILD CUSTODY MODIFICATIONS
  • CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATIONS
  • ALIMONY MODIFICATIONS
  • ENFORCEMENT OF DIVORCE DECREE
  • LEGAL SEPARATIONS
  • ANNULMENTS
  • PATERNITY
  • PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
  • DEPENDENCY PETITIONS
  • DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
  • MEDIATION
  • APPEALS
WHAT IS FAMILY LAW AND DO I NEED A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY?

Family Law is a “Catch all” term for legal issues primarily involving the family unit and can fall under a myriad of categories which include Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Adoption, Child Visitation, Divorce Mediation, Alimony & Spousal Support, Adoption, Property Settlements, Marital Agreements, Legal Separations, Divorce Modifications, Post Divorce Child Custody Modification, Post Divorce Alimony Modification, Petition for Rule Nisi & Contempt Motions, Protection from Abuse (PFA) & Domestic Violence, Asset Preservation, Juvenile Court & Juvenile Criminal Defense,  Retirement Accounts & Pensions,  and Annulments. (links to subpages) The information below is a brief summary and if you need more detailed information related to any of the above categories of Family Law, you can click on the links above, from the drop down menu at the top of the screen or under our Family Law Areas of Practice. Otherwise, please continue reading for more general information.

Our Approach to Every Alabama Divorce, Family Law and Child Custody Case

  • We understand that Family Law, Divorce and Child Custody cases are stressful – Alabama Family Lawyers and Birmingham Divorce Attorneys should not make it worse.
  • While going through a Family Law case such as a divorce or child custody case, you need an experienced Alabama divorce and child custody that understands and cares about you and your family, will provide you with wise legal counsel, and if necessary, will aggressively defend your rights to a fair property division and on issues regarding your children
  • Harwell Law Firm LLC appreciates how important your family is to you and will fight, when necessary, to insure that every client, family and child that hires our firm receives honest and objective advice and the best possible representation in their case.
  • If you hire Harwell Law Firm LLC as your Alabama Family Law or divorce attorney, we work for you and you are our boss.
  • Our job as your Family Law attorney is to listen to you, gather and review relevant financial documents, assess matters such as child custody, child support and child visitation, and advise you of a course of action after we have a complete understanding of the facts of your case.
  • At all stages of your Alabama Family Law case, our primary role as your family law or divorce attorney is to provide wise legal counsel, explain and guide you through the divorce process and to aggressively advocate your case through tough negotiations and at trial if necessary.
  • After gathering facts, Harwell Law Firm LLC will advise you accordingly and formulate a plan in preparing your case, negotiating a possible settlement and representing you in hearings and at trial.
  • Whether negotiating a settlement or advocating your interests in the Courtroom, we will do everything within the law to protect your rights and the rights of your family.
  • Harwell Law Firm LLC is known by clients and other local attorneys as being honest, straight forward and forthright in assessing the facts of a case and how these facts apply to the law.
  • The decisions you make on your Family Law case can have long lasting effects on your children and future finances and we will always recommend a course of action which is in your best interests.
  • Although we give advice throughout the entire process, you make all final decisions on your case and you can choose to not follow our advice.
  • Even though your decision may differ from our recommendations, once you have decided on a course of action, it is then our job to follow your chosen course of action and to use our knowledge and experience of divorce law to help you achieve your desired results.

Birmingham Family Law Attorney that Provides Solutions, Not Problems

  • Although many potential clients may initially believe they want the “meanest divorce attorney” in town,  Harwell Law Firm LLC strongly believes this approach in a family law setting is like throwing the proverbial “gas on a fire.”
  • Exceptions exist to every general rule and in cases of child abuse, drug addiction, severe mental health issues, alcoholism and false allegations of sexual abuse, it is absolutely necessary to “come out swinging” and to aggressively advocate and litigate a Family Law or Child Custody case.
  • Except in rare cases, all too often, divorce attorneys can be the cause of a problem, rather than a solution, and exacerbate an already tense and potentially explosive family.
  • Rather than providing wise legal counsel, a Family Law attorney and child custody lawyer can be the cause of many problems by filing unnecessary motions, litigating issues which should be resolved, advising clients to use their children for leveraging financial settlements and fueling negative emotions.
  • A “scorched earth campaign” is an especially harmful approach when children are involved.
  • Although an equitable property division and other monetary issues such as alimony are an important aspect of an Alabama divorce case, they pale in comparison to your children and the lasting effects that an acrimonious divorce and child custody battle can have on the child’s life as well as yours.
  • When overzealous Alabama Family Law attorneys employ “Rambo litigation” tactics, this leads to excessive and unnecessary legal fees and expenses in which only the family law attorneys win and both clients can end of spending their life savings on Family attorneys.

Alabama Family Law Attorney’s Approach to Negotiations and Litigation

  • Some Family Law attorneys, for some inexplicable reason, treat every case as if it is will go to trial.
  • Although this tactic may necessary in a very small percentage of cases such as high asset cases and contentious child custody matters, most individuals cannot afford to spend $30,000 or more in legal fees, expert witness fees and other litigation costs.
  • Our approach as a Family Law attorney is to immediately begin discussing settlement of your case from the very outset of your case after we have a full understanding of the facts and have verified all pertinent and necessary information.
  • Negotiations can be done via the exchange of offers and counter-offers with the opposing family law attorney or by utilizing a settlement conference in which the lawyers, you and the other side meet at one of our offices or the opposing attorney’s office and try to resolve your case.
  • By utilizing a “negotiation first” approach, it can actually expedite the resolution of your case and save you time and money expended on legal fees by avoiding numerous edits to the divorce settlement agreement and a back and forth e-mail battle between the Family Law attorneys.
  • If a settlement conference fails, the next course of action we usually recommend is to attempt a Family Law mediation.
  • In Shelby County, our judges are actually requiring that all cases be set on a Court Order Mediation Docket prior to setting a case for trial.
  • In a Family Law mediation, you and the other party, as well as the attorneys, utilize the services of a Mediator who acts as a neutral third party to assist you and your spouse on reaching a settlement. If a settlement is reached on all issues, the Agreement is then submitted to the Court and the Judge signs a Final Order.

Experienced Birmingham Family Law Trial Attorney

  • If all efforts to resolve your case are unsuccessful and you and the opposing party cannot reach an agreement, we then will then prepare your case for trial.
  • This can involve taking depositions, subpoenaing documents, deposing fact witnesses, hiring experts, preparing trial exhibits and preparing you and other your witnesses to testify at trial;
  • We can also hire the following experts, if necessary and at your expense, to assist us in preparing your case for trial:
  1. CPA’s and Accountants who can assist and advise you on tax matters;
  2. Forensic accountants to locate and discover assets your spouse may have attempted to hide or shield from you;
  3. business valuation experts to assess a fair value of a business owned by you or your spouse;
  4. Christian divorce counselors, Psychologists, Psychiatrists and other mental health professional if you are struggling emotionally and need help;
  5. real estate agents to sale any real property;
  6. real estate appraisers to value any real property;
  7. financial planners to assist you moving forward;
  8. private investigators;
  9. Retirement Counselors;
  10. Business Managers;
  11. Physicians and Medical Experts; and
  12. Other experts that can give you expert advice and assist our firm in preparing your case for trial.

Areas of Birmingham Family Law

DIVORCE

The most common aspect of Family Law is Divorce. In a divorce, the family unit is broken up and the primary issues which most parties are confronted with in a divorce are child custody, child visitation, child support, division of marital assets, division of marital debts and payment of alimony and spousal support. If you have any questions about divorce, please call an experienced Birmingham divorce attorney today to discuss your case.

CHILD CUSTODY, CHILD SUPPORT AND CHILD VISITATION

When a divorce occurs and children are involved, the parties will either need to agree on a child custody plan and visitation plan or a judge will make a decision based on what is in the best interests of the child or children.  In most cases, child support will also be established by agreement of the parties or by a judge and the Alabama Child Support guidelines utilize a gross income formula to establish a child support in most cases. If you have any questions, please call an experienced Birmingham child custody attorney or child support lawyer today to discuss your rights.

PROPERTY DIVISION AND DIVISION OF MARITAL DEBTS

If the parties going through a divorce do not have any minor children, they will most likely have property and debts which will need to be divided. Under Alabama Family Law, the judge is required to make an equitable distribution of the marital assets and debt. If you have any questions on what would be an equitable property settlement in a divorce, please call an experienced Birmingham divorce attorney today.

 ALIMONY  & SPOUSAL SUPPORT

In cases in which one spouse makes a much greater income than the other spouse, the Court can award spousal support which is based on the needs of the receiving spouse and the financial ability of the other spouse to pay alimony. If you want to know if you would likely receive or pay alimony in a divorce, please call an experienced Birmingham alimony attorney today.

POST DIVORCE CHILD CUSTODY MODIFICATION

Child custody can be modified when there has been a material change of circumstances and the parent that is requesting a change in custody must prove that a change of the custody will materially promote the child’s welfare and be in the best interests of the child.  The party seeking the change in child custody must also provide evidence that the benefits to be gained from a change in custody are greater than any disruptive effect that is presumed to occur by a child custody modification. For more information on modifying child custody, call an experienced Birmingham child custody modification attorney today.

POST DIVORCE ALIMONY AND SPOUSAL SUPPORT MODIFICATION

Periodic alimony and spousal support may be modified when there has been a material change in the financial or economic needs of the spouse receiving alimony payments or the ability of the paying spouse to continue to be able to make future alimony payments.  The burden of proving the existence of a material change in circumstances is upon the party that wishes to increase, decrease or eliminate future periodic alimony payments.  In addition, spousal support payments will also cease when either party dies or if the party receiving alimony remarries or cohabitates.   If you have a questions about modifying alimony or spousal support, call an experienced Birmingham alimony attorney today.

POST DIVORCE BACK CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY ENFORCEMENT

If a party is not complying with a divorce decree and fails to make child support payment, alimony payments or otherwise fails to comply with a provision on the divorce decree, the other party can file a Petition for Rule Nisi and request the Court to hold the non-compliant party in contempt and can further request the trial judge to reduce the amount of money owed to a judgment.  If you have a question on the issue on non-payment of child support or your ex-spouse is not paying alimony, please call an experienced Birmingham child support attorney or alimony attorney today.

DEPENDENCY CASES / NON-PARENT CUSTODY PETITIONS

If a parent is unable or unwilling to care for their children and a child is dependent, any person (usually a grandparent, aunt or uncle) can file a Dependency Petition with the Court and request that custody of a child be awarded to them.  If you know of a child in a bad situation, please call a child custody lawyer today so we can explain your options.

 LEGAL SEPARATION

Alabama domestic relations law and Alabama family law allows for a husband or a wife to file for a legal separation rather than a divorce.  This is a good option for spouses that do not wish to obtain a divorce due to religious reasons or they are working on reconciling their marriage through marital counseling. Should either party decide to file for divorce in the future, they would be able to do so. If you are considering this as an option, please call a Birmingham Legal Separation attorney today.

ANNULMENTS

An annulment of a marriage occurs when a party, instead of asking the Court to grant a divorce, requests the Court to annul their marriage. If the judge grants an annulment, then the parties would have never been considered legally married.  If you have a question on this issue, please call an annulment attorney today.

ALABAMA CHILD RELOCATION ACT

Under Alabama family law, if a previous custody order has been entered in a case, a parent that plans on relocating to new location which will be 60 miles or more away from the other parent must provide the other parent with written notice of the move and must also comply with other provisions of the Act. For additional requirements, please click this link or call Birmingham child custody lawyer today.

PATERNITY

If you have had a child with another person who is not your spouse, paternity of the child should be legally established. When this occurs, a Petition for Paternity is filed and if paternity is established, the parties can either agree on or the Court will decide issues such as child custody, child support and visitation rights.  If you need to file a paternity case, please call a Birmingham paternity lawyer today to discuss your parental rights.

ADOPTION

Another aspect of family law is the adoption of a child. Unlike divorce law, adoption is one of the very few situations in family law in which clients ultimately leave the courthouse truly happy.  If you are interested in adopting a child, please call a Birmingham Adoption Attorney to discuss your case.

PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS / POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

Alabama Prenuptial agreements and Postnuptial Agreements are contracts which parties enter in to with one another either prior to or after marriage for the purpose of preserving and protecting their assets. If you have any questions about a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, please click on the link or call an Alabama Prenuptial Agreement attorney today.

 

DIVORCE MEDIATION

Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution procedure in which married persons can resolve some or all divorce issues without having a trial. The mediator, usually a retired judge or an experienced divorce attorney, acts as a third party neutral that helps the parties negotiate a divorce settlement agreement. If you have any questions about the divorce mediation process, please click on this link or call an experienced divorce mediation attorney.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE / PROTECTION FROM ABUSE

In cases in which your spouse or former spouse has committed domestic violence, been physically abusive or has threatened you harm, you can file a Petition for Protection from Abuse (PFA) and request the Court to enter an Order which can, under certain circumstances, restrain your spouse from having any contact with you or from committing other acts of abuse. If you have been abused or your spouse has accused you of abuse, you should contact an experienced Domestic Violence attorney today.

APPEALS OF DOMESTIC RELATIONS ORDERS

If you are not satisfied with a decision of a trial judge, you have the option to appeal your case to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and the Alabama Supreme Court but you have a limited amount of time to file an appeal. If you have a question about possibly filing an appeal, please contact an experienced appellate lawyer today.

 

The Shelby County Family Law Firm and Birmingham Divorce Attorneys at the offices of Harwell Law Firm, LLC provides Legal Counsel from a Christian Attorney Perspective in Alabama Domestic Relations law, Alabama Family Law, Alabama Divorce Law, Alabama Adoption Law, Alabama Child Custody,  Alabama child support, Alabama Paternity, and Shelby County Alabama Divorce Modifications.  Harwell Law Firm LLC represents clients in Shelby County, Jefferson County, counties surrounding Birmingham and municipalities of Shelby County and Jefferson County, including, but not limited to: Birmingham, Chelsea,  Hoover, Inverness, Greystone, Vincent, Columbiana, Alabaster, Pelham, Helena, Jemison, Montevallo, Calera, Harpersville, Wilsonville, Sterrett, Leeds, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Homewood, Bessemer, Hueytown, Gardendale, Irondale, Fultondale, Graysville, Fairfield, Clay, Center Point, Brookside, Adamsville, Brighton, Argo, Pell City, Oneonta, Springville, Anniston, Jasper, Huntsville, St. Clair County, Bibb County, Blount County, Talladega County, Tuscaloosa County, Walker County, Cullman County, Madison County and more.