Inside Advice: Helping Families Deal with Military Deployment

We believe in strong families.  Families can be incredibly resilient, stretching to accommodate all kinds of unnatural events (like war) or they can be fragile, shattering at the least disturbance.

There are lots of experts who can offer advice in the abstract, but sometimes the best advice comes from real life – from inside the families that are coping with it.

The article tells the story of a National Guardsman, who while deployed in Iraq, created a story to teach his daughters how to help the family thrive despite his extended absence. 

The Fairy Child is the book that Dad wrote.  In it, a fairy world of challenges overlays the events of real life, and lessons are learned chapter by chapter.  Amazon lets you read many pages online to see if it’s for you. 

Do you know families that are impacted by deployment of Mom or Dad?  This book might make an ideal gift.

Original Story on (with link to Amazon for the book)

Posted in Military Families |

Birmingham Teacher Creates a Club About Money

We just came across this great article, showcasing a local high-school teacher who has started an investment club to teach kids what schools too often don’t teach:  financial literacy.

Poor money management skills can stress families beyond the breaking point.  Poor financial decisions and divorce go hand in hand.

There is no better laboratory in which to learn how to handle money, than the family.  This teacher is providing a very much needed service to his students, many of whom won’t receive it at home.

(In case you are mentally drawing socio-economic conclusions about the school, let’s just remind ourselves that the rich and middle-class don’t teach their kids money skills either).

We applaud teacher Joe May for his resourcefulness and initiative.  Those students who will join his club will have new worlds opened to their view. Follow the link below for full details.

Original article in

Posted in Family and Money |

Devices Can Interfere with Family Relationships

This article from Alabama Public Radio, about distracted parents is very well-written and worth reading.  Those amazing smartphones and tablets that connect us with the world, can be disconnecting us from our own family members.

Is it really a new thing, that children can’t get their parents’ attention?  No, but when a parent’s eyes keep drifting back to the little screen, it’s hard to sustain a conversation – rare enough already, for a teenager.  Those little screens are something new.

As the writer Jaques Ellul simply points out:  “technology is aggressive.”  It requires real effort to turn it off.  Once it has a toehold, it will push to expand.

Your 24/7 connection to the internet can subtly disconnect your other relationships.

“Whether you are a parent or not, carving out time to turn off your devices — to disconnect from the wired world and engage with the real people who are all around you — is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and the people your love,” states author Catherine Steiner-Adair, a Harvard Psychologist (quoted in the original article, above).

We support healthy families and family relationships.  Take a minute to consider the pros and cons of being “connected” in the home.

Posted in Children and divorce |

“Parental Alienation” in Divorce and Custody

The governor and many Alabama mayors are declaring April 20-26 as Parental Alienation Prevention Week.  “Parental Alienation” is a term describing when one parent tries to disturb or destroy a child’s connection with the other parent.  This toxic and preventable problem is often seen in divorce and child custody contexts.

You can learn more from the Alabama Family Rights Association and from

A good family law attorney will help you, if you recognize this problem in your own life or situation.  He or she will help you establish boundaries and strategies that will lead to better outcomes, in both the short- and long-terms, for you and your relationship with your ex-spouse and your children.  Those relationships will be long-term.

Original post on contains day a by day listing of events.

Posted in Children and divorce |

A Real Apology Can Heal, Even in a Divorce

This wonderful article in the Huffington Post is worth pondering, because it calls our attention back to something we have become too sophisticated to remember.  A real apology, when offered sincerely, is a wonderful thing.  (Sadly, because of that fact, many try to counterfeit it.)

The author, Betsy Ross, tells of a man who, in a divorce mediation, offered up a spontaneous and detailed apology, and how it changed the momentum of the proceeding.  Both parties found increased ability to make the needed joint decisions and to move the mediation to conclusion.

Of course, nobody can nudge another person into apologizing or taking responsibility for past mistake or future pain.  You can’t steer someone into that frame of mind.  It happens, or it doesn’t.  Such an apology isn’t looking for any outcomes, and won’t be expecting reciprocation.  A real apology isn’t trying to be seen as noble.  It’s just a clearing of the chest, an unburdening of the heart. 

Divorce mediation is the kind of setting in which a participant may feel open to offering or accepting an apology, as the process progresses.  An apology doesn’t undo the past, but it somehow reduces the past’s death-grip on the future. Mediation is not a cure-all, but it is a great alternative to the usual battle.

Posted in Mediation |

Alabama Considering Mandatory Classes During Divorce

Alabama House Bill 374, sponsored by Rep. Bill Poole of Northport, Ala., would require couples with young children to take a four-hour class focusing on the impact of divorce on children, according to this article in USA Today.  The bill was approved by the House Judiciary Committee with no dissenting votes.

The classes are meant to provide both parents with time to consider the needs of the children, and to become acquainted with typical problems, available resources, and the importance of cooperation in protecting the rights of children in a divorce setting.  It is possible that the classes could be offered in live settings, or online.

Before it could become effective, the bill will have to pass the senate and be signed into law by the Governor.

According to the article, 48 states are already requiring, or plan to require, such classes. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that these classes have led to a reduction on parental conflict, disputes and litigation, of over 50%.

Posted in Children and divorce |

Apparently, Economics are for Divorces

The economy seems to be a very fickle thing. It has risen and fallen countless times over the past 10 years, taking banks and housing markets with it. One of the relatively-unheard-of things that follows the economy’s ups and downs, though, is divorce.

As the economy declines, so does the divorce rate, and vice versa. With the economy doing better now than it has in a long time, many attorneys are seeing the divorce rate start to climb.

Back in 2009, the number of divorces hit a 40-year-low, and since then, they have climbed year-over-year to reach 2.4 million in 2012.

Despite what many may initially think, it makes a lot of sense that the divorce rate would follow the economy. When times are bad, disposable incomes shrink or disappear, family businesses struggle, and people are much less inclined to take gambles with their future. When times are good, however, people are more optimistic about the future, employment is easier to come by, and individuals start to realize that their lives could be made better through divorce.

This entire chain of events is rather circular as well, as an increase in divorces can lead to an increase in housing demand, appliance and furniture sales, and the formation of new households, further boosting the economy.

Some experts are saying that this increase in divorces is temporary, due to those individuals who would have already gotten divorced in past years, were they able. Others disagree, and are saying that as people’s future prospects improve, they are less dependent on others, and more likely to leave unfulfilling relationships.

It remains to be seen what will happen in the future, but as the economy continues to fluctuate, it is likely that the divorce rate won’t be too far behind.

Posted in Divorce |

Pets in Divorce: Pet Custody?

Need we point out that people love their pets?  Pets can become a contentious topic in a divorce, as can any property.

A recent opinion piece in the Greenwich Post is a light-hearted spin on the subject, and is worth reading, but seriously:  it can be wrenching to part with a pet.  Both parties in a divorce may fiercely love the pet dog.

The article claims that “In Alabama, a judge recently awarded a dog named Preston to a spouse because it was in the “best interests” of the dog, which is a term usually used in child custody cases.” 

Two New York women, married, are battling over a dog named Joey, in their same-sex divorce.

Family life is changing.  People are having fewer, or in some cases, no children, and pets can become a big part of the family constellation.  A dog, cat or other pet can be a very important part of the family.

Don’t forget to consider the pet in your divorce planning.

Posted in Divorce |

Tax Credit Bill Could Help Families Adopt is reporting that a bill called “Alabama Adoption Tax Credit” could provide a $1,000 tax credit for Alabama families who adopt a child in-state.  (Follow the link to watch the video.)

Do we need more Alabama families to adopt children?  The answer is an overwhelming yes.  500 children are awaiting adoption in Alabama, with another 5,000 in foster care. 

There are fees and other expenses associated with the adoption process.  A tax credit could help the couple who are trying to adopt a child.

May we suggest that you involve an experienced lawyer in your adoption planning?  There can be many complexities that you can avoid, with foresight.  See our Adoption page for more details.

We are in the practice of Family Law, and adoption is one wonderful way to create or extend a family.  Let us help you smooth the process.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Custody request filed by Usher’s ex-wife dismissed by Judge

ATLANTA – At about 4:45 p.m., an emotional custody hearing wrapped up in Fulton County Superior Court in which the judge dismissed an emergency request for change of custody.

Tameka Foster Raymond, Usher’s ex-wife, requested the hearing a day after the former couple’s 5-year-old son got caught in a pool drain at his Atlanta home on Monday. Atlanta police reported that Usher Raymond V fell to the bottom of the pool and became stuck in the drain. A housekeeper attempted to free him but didn’t succeed; then a contractor doing work at their home pulled the boy from the pool. When emergency medical workers arrived, the boy was “conscious, alert and breathing”.

Around 2 p.m., just before the hearing was scheduled to start, Usher and Foster Raymond arrived in the courtroom. The hearing had not started till 2:25 p.m. because lawyers first gathered in Judge John Goger’s chambers and after they returned to the courtroom, Tameka and her attorneys left the courtroom for 10 minutes.

Angela Kinley, Foster Raymond’s lawyer said that the hearing is not because her 5-year-old son got caught in a pool drain in his dad’s pool, it is because Usher Raymond IV doesn’t spend enough time with their kids and allows family and caregivers to take care of their sons. Her one son is 4-year-old and the other is 5-year-old.

In 2007, Usher and Tameka Raymond married and divorced after 2 years. They went through a lengthy child custody war. Last year, Usher was given full custody of the children after his divorce.

Foster Raymond had already requested the court for a change to the custody arrangement because she claims Usher spends most of his time traveling for work. According to Kinley, “What we really want to stress is she’s not assigning blame to anyone for this situation. This situation did not perpetuate the filing of the action. There is a petition that was filed previously. This just solidified some of the concerns she had previously.”. Kinley also said that Usher didn’t call his ex-wife to alert her of the accident until about forty five minutes after it happened.

After the hearing, outside the courtroom, Raymond told reporters, “They’re just assessing him. There is a lot we don’t know. I mean you can’t — it’s only been a few days so we’re very thankful that he’s obviously alive but we still have to observe him and make sure that everything is OK”.

Author Bio:

The Tooley Law Firm is a provider of aggressive criminal defense in matters of DUI, domestic violence, and other felonies, misdemeanors, and traffic violations. Since 1987, Thomas C. Tooley has been providing criminal defense representation and protecting the rights of the accused.

Posted in Uncategorized |