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Areas of Practice PDF Print E-mail

We can help you in the following areas...

* Residential and Commercial Real Estate Closings
*Title Insurance
*1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges
*Business Formation and Representation
*Personal Injury
*Corporate Litigation
*Real Estate Litigation
*Commercial and Residential Real Estate Development
*Contracts and Leases

(Click the underlined topic above to go to that topic)




Residential and Commercial Real Estate Closings

All of our real estate closings are closed by and through Attorneys Title, Inc., and are insured by and through Mississippi Valley Title Insurance Company (Old Republic). We still do our own title searches and abstracting, and we have been an approved title agent and writing title insurance for Mississippi Valley Title since 1989.

   In the last three years, we have had the pleasure of closing more than 600 commercial and residential real estate transactions, including FNMA, VA, FHA, Reverse Mortgages, SBA loans, and IRS Section 1031 exchanges. We are an approved closing agent and have recently closed loans for most every primary and secondary market lender, including, but not limited to, Chase Manhattan, Wells Fargo, Standard Federal, New America Financial, Countrywide, ABN AMRO Mortgage Group, First Federal, AmSouth, Colonial, Regions, and SouthTrust.

   We are your professional real estate closing alternative. With a licensed attorney on staff full time, we are able to close real estate transactions, write title insurance, and prepare mortgages, loan notes, contracts, and any other legal documents necessary to complete the transaction.

   Our closing manager is Ms. Gail W. Cash. She has more than five years experience with real estate closing, title insurance, and other general real estate matters. Please feel free to contact her anytime with your real estate closing and title insurance needs.


 An Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange involves the sale of real estate held for investment and deferring the payment of any capital gains tax incurred as a result of the sale of said real estate by purchasing replacement like-kind (investment) real estate. Please be advised any capital gains taxes that may be owed will simply be deferred and not eliminated.

The parcels must be of the same classification, but do not have to be of the exact same type. For example, the property sold can be a rental house held for investment, and the property purchased can be a condominium or land which will be held for investment. You may purchase more than one property, but not more than three. The only requirement is the property sold and purchased must be classified by you as investment property, and the total value of the property purchased must be of equal or greater value than the property sold. This means sale price for sale price, and not what you netted from the sale. You will responsible for consulting or verifying with your accountant or other tax professional whether the transaction you are contemplating qualifies or is in your best interest.

To initiate the exchange, you and the escrow holder must execute a Section 1031 Tax Deferred Exchange Escrow Agreement regarding the escrow of the proceeds received from the sale of the primary property (the property you are selling). You must also execute an assignment which assigns to the escrow holder all of your interest in and to the contract to sell the primary property. Both documents must be executed prior to or at closing of the primary property.

Please note that no earnest money or other funds related to the sale can be paid to or received by you in any way, either directly or constructively, which relate to the sale of the primary property. Once the escrow agreement has been executed by all parties, you will have no further rights to the earnest money or the escrowed funds in any way, except as provided by the terms of the escrow agreement. The net sale proceeds must be paid to and held by the escrow holder by the seller(s) or the closing agency, if applicable, and thereafter, the escrow agent will escrow the funds until the time of closing of the property you are purchasing as the replacement property.

Subsequent to the closing of the sale of the primary property, you must identify the property you intend to purchase as the replacement property. Please be advised you must notify the escrow holder in writing of the identity of the property you are purchasing, and such written identification must be delivered to the escrow holder no later than 45 DAYS from the date of closing of the primary property you are selling. Upon completion of the contract(s) to purchase the property you intend to purchase as the replacement property which was properly identified, you must then execute another assignment which assigns to the escrow holder all interest in the contract(s).

You must complete the purchase and formally close on the property you are purchasing as the replacement property within 180 DAYS from the date you closed on the property you are selling, and not from the date of the identification letter. Prior to or at the closing of the property you are purchasing as the replacement property, you must give written notice to the seller(s) of the property and the closing agency, if applicable, that all or a portion of the purchase proceeds will be remitted to the seller(s) or the closing agency by the escrow agent or other qualified intermediary at the time of closing. The notice must be delivered to the seller(s) prior to or at the closing of the property you are purchasing, and the seller(s) must acknowledge in writing their receipt of said notice. The escrow holder will deliver to the seller(s) or the closing agency the balance of the escrowed funds or the amount necessary to complete the purchase.

Your understanding and comprehension of the transaction is essential. Please note that this general information is to be used exclusively for and limited to informational purposes only; therefore, you should consult and verify with your accountant or other tax professional whether the transaction you are contemplating qualifies or is in your best interest.

 Divorce Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long do I have to live in Alabama before I can file for divorce?

      Alabama law requires that you reside in the State for at least 6 months before you can file for divorce.

2. What if my spouse does not live in Alabama?

      You can still file in Alabama, as long as you have lived here for at least 6 months. If your spouse lives in another state, the process may take longer and may be more   complicated.

3. What kind of complications?

      Your spouse will have to be served with the Complaint for Divorce, whether he or she lives in Alabama or not. Service upon a party who lives out of state may require hiring a special process server to take the Complaint to your spouse, or, under certain circumstances, by sending the Complaint via certified mail to your spouse's home. If you do not know your spouse's address, you may be able to effect service by publishing notice of the divorce in a newspaper approved by the Court.

4.  How long will it take to get divorced?

      At a minimum, Alabama law has a 30 day waiting period before a divorce can be granted. In reality, even if you and your spouse agree on everything, it may take more than 30 days to finalize your divorce and for the judge to sign your divorce decree. If you and your spouse do not agree on the terms of your divorce, be prepared for the process to take up to (and in some cases more than) a year to complete. Extremely complex cases may take several years to resolve.

5. What costs are involved in filing for divorce?

      The fee to file a Complaint for Divorce varies by county in Alabama. In the metropolitan Birmingham area, the filing fee for Jefferson County is currently $154.00, and the filing fee for Shelby County is currently $160.00. If you hire a special process server or attempt to serve your spouse by certified mail, there will be additional up front costs. Also, if you retain counsel, there will be lawyer's fees.

6.  How will my lawyer bill me for my divorce?

      Lawyers handle divorce cases a couple of different ways. Primarily, lawyers handle divorce cases either on a set flat fee or on an hourly rate, depending on the complexity of the case and the issues involved.

7.  How much will a lawyer cost me?

      Your attorney's fee could be anywhere from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the issues involved and complexity of your case. Make sure your lawyer explains the fee arrangement at the beginning of your representation so there are no surprises.

8. Can the Court make my spouse pay for my lawyer?

      Alabama law allows a Court, in its discretion, to award an attorney fee in a divorce case, but there is no guarantee that the Court will make an award.
9. Can I represent myself?

      Yes, but if there are children involved or assets and debts in dispute, you should seriously consider consulting with a lawyer about your divorce.

10. Can one lawyer represent both my spouse and me?

      No. A lawyer can only represent one party to a divorce. In an "uncontested" divorce, one lawyer may prepare all the paperwork necessary to finalize the divorce, but that lawyer only represents the plaintiff (the party filing the Complaint for Divorce). The other party (defendant) will have to sign an acknowledgement that the lawyer represents only the plaintiff and that he or she understands the right to have an attorney represent his or her interests in the divorce.
11. How much child support will I have to pay?

       In Alabama, as in other states, the courts have adopted Basic Child Support Guidelines. Your child support will be based upon these guidelines. The guidelines will use the Gross Monthly income of both parents along with monthly Health insurance costs of the child and monthly Day Care costs of the child in determining the monthly child support obligation. The Guidelines may be deviated from but, subject to the Court's approval.

12.   Do I have to allow visitation if my ex-souse fails to pay child support?

      Yes, in Alabama Child Support and Visitation are two separate issues. Your failure to allow Court Ordered Visitation could subject you to a Contempt of Court proceeding being filed against you by your ex-spouse.

13. Do I have to pay Child Support if my ex-spouse does not allow me visitation with my child/children?

      Yes, in Alabama, your obligation and responsibility to pay Court Ordered Child Support is not affected by the wrong doing of your ex-spouse. Your relief is to petition the Court for enforcement of your visitation rights through a Contempt of Court proceeding.



Foreclosure of a mortgage in the State of Alabama is governed by Section 35-10-11, Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended, and most foreclosures are non-judicial. The authority to foreclose and the power of sale are generally granted to the lender in the mortgage. If the mortgage contains the requisite language and absent a title defect or other potential defense, the foreclosure and sale of mortgaged property do not require a judge’s order or other judicial proceeding.

To commence foreclosure, the lender is required to notify the borrower of the borrower’s default and of the lender’s election to foreclose. The lender must then advertise the foreclosure of the mortgage and the date of the sale of the property for three consecutive weeks (21 days) in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the property is located. On the day of the foreclosure sale, the lender will auction the property to the highest bidder for cash. The sale is usually conducted at the front of the courthouse unless the foreclosure advertisement directs a different place.  Upon completion of the sale, the purchaser will be given a deed to the property signed by the foreclosing lender, and the deed will contain an exception for the borrower's right of redemption.

Pursuant to Section 6-5-248, et seq., Code of Alabama, 1975, as amended, the borrower, or any creditor or anyone else claiming by or through the borrower, has the right to redeem and get back the ownership of the foreclosed realty from the purchaser for a period of one (1) year from the date of the foreclosure sale.  The right to redeem is absolute, and to redeem the property, the borrower or redeemer must remit certain sums and pay certain expenses, including, but not limited to, the amount paid at the foreclosure sale, interest, foreclosure expenses, and reimbursement for the cost of any repairs or maintenance necessary to properly preserve and maintain said realty. Upon such payment, the redeemer would be entitled to take back possession and ownership of the property, and the purchaser must surrender the property to the borrower or redeemer.

There are numerous complex issues involved with purchasing foreclosed property in the State of Alabama, including, but not limited to, the possibility the purchaser may not be fully reimbursed for all monies expended by the purchaser related to the foreclosed property.  Also, most title companies will not insure the purchaser for the right of redemption and the recovery of all of the money expended by the purchaser.

Any potential purchaser of foreclosed property should consult with a competent real estate attorney prior to purchasing foreclosed property or signing any contract to purchase foreclosed property.

*No representation is made that the quality of legal service to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.*