Areas of Practice


BANKRUPTCY

SHOULD I FILE BANKRUPTCY?

Why would you file for bankruptcy? The reasons could be anything from overwhelming medical bills, to credit card bills you can’t afford, to a recent divorce that has reduced your available income and increased your monthly bills.  Whatever the reason, LaPlante, Merritt, Faulkner & Clay, LLC's bankruptcy attorneys can help.  Our legal team may determine the timing is not right for you to file bankruptcy and we may be able to formulate a plan to avoid bankruptcy all together.

WHAT ARE MY BANKRUPTCY OPTIONS?

The basic kinds of bankruptcy are known as Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is known as “liquidation” bankruptcy, under which individuals who qualify can have their outstanding debts discharged after the proceeds of their eligible property is distributed to their creditors. Chapter 11 is known as “reorganization” bankruptcy, and is exclusively for businesses facing insolvency. Finally, Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers a court-supervised payment plan for individuals and businesses for up to a maximum of five years.


FAMILY LAW

One of the most difficult tasks a person will face is navigating a divorce in Alabama. It should not be done without an experienced attorney.

Divorces cause enormous stress to your emotions, preventing many from thinking clearly. For most, divorce is something they only deal with once in their life. Our attorneys have years of experience in dealing with divorces on a daily basis, and know how to advise clients in the most challenging domestic cases.

Whether your goal is to negotiate an amicable resolution, or to fight to protect your assets or your child custody rights, we can help. Our firm will be there for you to guide you through the stressful process..

Our services include representation in child custody and visitation disputes, child support issues, modification of existing divorce decrees, juvenile dependency and delinquency cases, and any other aspect of an Alabama divorce case.


WILLS AND PROBATE

We provide a wide variety of services relating to probate law, including estate planning, will drafting, trust instrument drafting, power of attorney, estate administration, advance directives, beneficiary representation, non-probate transfers, and business organization. When people think of estate planning, they typically think of a will. However, there are many available methods of effecting the intent of a client with regards to what happens to his property and minor children after he is gone.

Possibly the most important reason to consider a Last Will & Testament in Alabama is to determine who gains custody of a minor child in the event both parents are deceased.  The death of both parents can be traumatic enough, without a custody battle between surviving relatives.  A carefully drafted Last Will & Testament can resolve these issues, with the hope they never arise, but with the comfort of knowing the children are taken care of in a worst case scenario.

Another important area of practice is in advance directives and health care proxies, which enable a person to make difficult medical decisions, such as whether to remove life support, in advance. While ensuring the client’s wishes are carried out, this also relieves loved ones of difficult decisions in trying times.


SOCIAL SECURITY

To receive benefits under the Social Security Disability or SSI program, you must have physical or mental health problems severe enough to keep you from working in any regular paying job for at least 12 months. The test isn't whether you are able to go back to your previous employment; and the test isn't whether you've been able to find employment lately. The test is whether you are capable of doing jobs available in the national economy.Statistics have shown that people represented by attorneys have been successful more often than people without attorney representation. you should contact an attorney as soon as your Initial Application is denied. The earlier an attorney is able to start working on your case, the better your chances of winning. 


JUVENILE DEPENDENCY

Juvenile Dependency law protects children from abuse and neglect. Private Juvenile Dependency cases are initiated when a relative, caregiver or other concerned person files a Petition alleging that a child is being neglected, abused or that the parents of the child are unable to provide care. The Department of Human Resources (DHR) can also initiate these cases by filing a petition after receiving a report about the child’s care or investigating the matter through its social workers.

These types of cases can involve numerous parties including the parents, children, family members, state agencies, and a variety of court-appointed attorneys. A finding of Dependency is appropriate when there is evidence that the parent cannot or is not property caring for his or her or their minor child. Our attorneys at LaPlante, Merritt, Faulkner & Clay, LLC. can represent you as a parent, a concerned family member, or a child as their Guardian Ad Litem in a juvenile dependency case. 


JUVENILE DELINQUENCY

Nothing is more heartbreaking for a parent than the arrest of their child. If your child has been arrested and charged with a crime, you may be feeling confused, frightened, embarrassed, or angry. You need an experienced attorney who understands what you are going through and is ready to defend your child. The criminal justice system is different for adults and children, and our attorneys at LaPlante, Merritt, Faulkner & Clay, LLC, are experienced in the rights of children involved in a juvenile delinquency. 


CRIMINAL LAW

Facing the criminal justice system should not be taken lightly. Failing to apply the necessary methods of defense to your case could result in serious consequences. Rather than risk the penalties of a conviction, you can instead turn to LaPlante, Merritt, Faulkner & Clay, LLC, where an experienced criminal defense attorney is on hand to defend you against even the toughest charges.


DUIs

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a significant charge. In Alabama, punitive action can be swift and serious. Even first time convicted offenders can be subject to jail time, large fines, and automatic suspension of their driver’s license. If you are arrested for impaired driving, LaPlante, Merritt, Faulkner & Clay, LLC, will help you with your defense.

If you are arrested for DUI, you will need an attorney who can present your case intelligently and assertively. Our DUI defense attorneys are well-versed in all types of impaired driving cases and charges and are known for their dedication to these matters.