The Rose Law Firm

Ask the Expert


Attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, Jennifer Rose, answers reader’s questions about family and matrimonial law.


Dear Jennifer: My wife and I are divorced with children and we are trying to renegotiate visitation. Trouble is that she wants me to agree to let her have them on Christmas day AND Thanksgiving day every year. The upside is that if I agree to let her have those days she will agree to let me have two extra days with them every month throughout the year. Obviously the more time with them the better but I feel as though they will resent me or not understand why I don’t spend those days with them. Am I looking a gift horse in the mouth here or am I right to worry? -Papa Bear in St Clair

Dear Papa Bear: I can understand your dilemma, you want to spend those special days with your children, exactly as they are on the calendar. However, I think that ultimately you need to ask yourself, is it worth celebrating those two holidays on those exact days and giving up almost a month worth of days with them in exchange? These days, people are busier than ever and it’s become more and more common to celebrate holidays on other days to accommodate everyone’s schedule even in normal circumstances.  Typically, children are usually not as concerned with the actual day the holiday is celebrated on as long as the holiday is in fact celebrated.   I don’t know your children; however,  I’m guessing that so long as you are celebrating with them and they understand when it will happen they won’t take issue with it. My advice is to consider accepting the extra days and use those days to make even more memories with your children. As to the holidays, you could always make your own fun traditions with your children that they will look forward to far more than a date on the calendar.

Dear Jennifer: My husband and I both work at a hospital system in Birmingham, an arrangement I’ve enjoyed up until three weeks ago. He left his laptop open on his emails, and I noticed some messages from a nurse at work that I felt were inappropriate. This prompted me to do some digging and I found out that he has been cheating on me for at least six months with this girl. When I confronted him he acted like it was a one time thing and not something I need to worry about again because she got transferred to another hospital. He acted like it wasn’t a big deal. Well, it is a big deal to me! He told me to trust him, but I don’t know if I can ever trust him again as bad as I want to. Am I crazy to trust him again? Can a cheater really change or should I deliver a lump of coal in his stocking this year in the form of divorce papers? -Betrayed in Birmingham

Dear Betrayed: My heart goes out to you because I’ve seen too many times how devastating the effects of cheating can be on a marriage, your confidence, and your trust in your spouse in general. As it’s obvious that you love your husband and want this to work, I have a suggestion.  Even though I’m a divorce lawyer, I firmly believe marriage is sacred and I would advise you as I do all my clients–you should seek counseling first to see if there is something there which can be saved. If he’s unwilling to go with you and fight for your marriage then you have your answer. If he does go with you, he obviously needs to show some real remorse for what he has done, needs to understand how he hurt you, and give you some sort of real assurance that it won’t happen again. Counseling should also help you get to the bottom of why he did what he did and it will either make your marriage stronger going forward or you will come to the realization that it is time to let go. Just remember that you only get one shot at this life and you deserve to be happy.  Whether that happiness is because of his presence or absence is something only you can decide. Good luck and God bless.

About the author: Jennifer G. Rose is founder and lead attorney of The Rose Law Firm, LLC, a Birmingham based firm dedicated exclusively to the practice of family and matrimonial law. One of Alabama’s only certified family law specialists, she has been named to a multitude of top attorney lists including being named a top attorney by B-Metro and voted a top family law attorney in Birmingham Magazine three years in a row by her peers. Her firm is located near UAB in Birmingham’s Southside district and operates out of The Historic Rose Building. Her firm provides complimentary initial consultations and can be reached 24-7 at 205-323-1124.

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The previous article was written for general information purposes only and not meant to form any attorney client relationship. You should not act on the general advice contained herein without first consulting an attorney.


Click here for September’s column.


Dear Jennifer: My husband of 12 years is very physically abusive and I’m considering leaving him. Part of my problem is that I’m afraid people will ridicule me for getting divorced. We’ve been through counseling plenty of times and he always does better for a while but then goes right back to beating me up. What do you think I should do? Scared in Shelby

Dear Scared: I get so aggravated every time I hear about an abuser! First and foremost you need to consider your safety first. I suggest finding a safe way to get out of the home and a place to stay temporarily such as with a parent, friend, or family member. After you’ve gotten away from the home you have multiple options such as getting an emergency PFA (protection from abuse order) from the court. A PFA can do things such as allow the police to help you get your things, give you temporary usage to the home while evicting the abuser, give you access to vehicles and other property, as well as serve to stop further abuse, stalking, and harassment. You also should consider going to see a victim advocates group such as the YWCA or a personal counselor to help with the emotional trauma that has been caused. You deserve to be happy. Living with someone who abuses you is not good for your health or happiness so I think you are right to get out. Those who love you will not fault you for getting out of a dangerous situation. Feel free to call my office if you need assistance. Good luck and God bless.

Dear Jennifer: What normally happens with the pets in a divorce, custodywise? I have been married five years, and my husband and I are about to start the process of getting a divorce. Thankfully we don’t have children to fight over but we do have two yorkies that I had prior to us getting married which he now loves too. What happens to my fur babies and does it matter that they were mine before the marriage? I can’t bear the thought of losing them to him. Animal Lover in Birmingham

Dear Animal Lover: As a fellow dog lover and owner of three yorkies myself, I can totally understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately the laws of the state of Alabama aren’t as warm and fuzzy about our furry companions as we are and as such consider them property. This means that typically a judge will only grant them to one party or the other; however, all is not necessarily lost. First, if you can show ownership through receipts, registration, etc. prior to the marriage this should give you an advantage that most judges will consider when deciding who gets the dogs. Another option is something I’ve done on a few cases where we were able to work out a pet custody/visitation schedule and put it into their agreement. In those cases the judge allowed it to be submitted and honored as part of the agreement. You might have to give up a few more material things to sweeten the pot enough to convince your spouse to go along with it but an agreement is always a safer bet than waiting to see how a judge rules. Ask your potential lawyer in advance if she is familiar and comfortable with working out these types of arrangements so you will know if you even have the option should you hire her. Best of luck, I’m rooting for you!


Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 10.49.01 AMDear Jennifer: I have a strong suspicion that my husband is cheating on me as I’ve found lipstick on his collar, another woman’s clothes in the laundry, and some really inappropriate messages of his to another woman on Facebook all within the last two months! I’m beyond upset at this betrayal. As he hasn’t been treating me right for years I was already considering divorce but this is the last straw. If we get divorced will bringing up his cheating have any bearing on my outcome? …. Scorned in Shelby

Dear Scorned: That’s terrible, I don’t blame you for being upset. It may very well factor in to what the Judge decides is fair if you can prove the cheating is going on. How much it factors in is largely dependent on the Judge and their feelings towards cheating. As Alabama is an equitable distribution state no Judge is likely to leave your ex penniless, BUT in the case of cheating, I know some Judges who will penalize a known cheater harshly. My suggestion would be to hang on to any evidence you collect such as text and social media messages, pictures, etc., and show them to your lawyer should you decide to divorce. A good divorce attorney should be able to tell you if the evidence is sufficient or whether it is worth hiring a good private investigator. Hang in there; I’m rooting for you…. Jennifer

Dear Jennifer: I hate to admit this but my wife is physically abusive to me. She hits me with her fists and has seriously injured me with random household items.  I’m bigger than her and could easily hurt her but I was raised never to hit a woman. In addition she screams at me and belittles me constantly even though I’ve always been a good husband to her. What do I do? I’m afraid I’ll get laughed out of court if I bring this up in a divorce. Will a judge take an abused man seriously or should I just suck it up? …. Embarrassed in Leeds

Dear Embarrassed: First I commend you for not hitting a woman. That said, you shouldn’t have to take abuse either physical or verbal. Just because you are a man doesn’t mean you are alone in being abused by your wife as I’ve seen it happen to others many times. That said, you want to avoid it being her word against yours as much as possible.  As such, I would suggest that you document the abuse by obtaining a police report and take pictures of any bruises or injuries that she causes. I know you were probably raised to think otherwise; however, no police officer, lawyer, or Judge thinks abuse of a man is a laughing matter …. Jennifer

Dear Jennifer: I just got engaged to a wonderful woman but my family and friends think she is a “gold digger” because she is way out of my league in the looks department. Everyone keeps telling me I should get a prenup to protect my assets and medical practice from her but I am scared that it will ruin our relationship right before we get married. Am I crazy? How do you get a prenup without running someone off? ….  Confused Doc in Mountain Brook

Dear Confused:  I totally understand your concern; however, a prenup is there to protect you both from a lot of confusion and fighting should there ever be a split as everything is pre-outlined in black and white. I always recommend seeing a marriage counselor beforehand if possible and then take the prenup conversation from there. If your prenup terms are fair and she still refuses to marry you without one, then you might want to think long and hard about what people in your group of friends and family are saying before you do tie the knot. Only you will know if it’s worth the risk to you at the end; however, just make sure you go in with both eyes open. For what it’s worth, I hope your friends turn out to be wrong and she is as wonderful as you say……..Jennifer

If you’d like to see your question answered in the next Ask Jennifer segment, submit your questions to [email protected] and we might pick you.

Jennifer G. Rose is the founder and lead attorney at The Rose Law Firm LLC. One of only a handful of certified family law specialists in the state, Jennifer and her firm have won dozens of awards for their work in the field. Those wishing to reach her may call 205-323-1124 24 hours a day or visit Her firm gives complimentary initial consultations in person.

Required by AL state bar “No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the services provided by other lawyers”


Rose Law Firm - life of a lawyerThe Life of a Lawyer

By Benjamin Hayes, freelance journalist

Recently I had the pleasure of spending some time with “top flight attorney” and certified family law specialist Jennifer Rose of The Rose Law Firm. What follows are excerpts of our conversation about what makes a top lawyer tick and how lawyers really are vs. how the media portrays them.

What got you into law?

It’s funny but law wasn’t actually my initial choice for a profession. Even though I grew up with a lawyer for a father I always had it in my mind that I was going to be an archeologist or a teacher. As fate would have it though I did a lot of work with my dad before I ever went to college and the law bug got me. I found out really quickly that standing up and fighting for others was something I love and really what I was born to do; as a bonus I still get to dig, though usually it’s through discovery documents these days.

So what do you like most about the job?

I like being able to stand up for someone else and fight for them when they can’t do that for themselves, which is especially applicable in my field, family law. I like to know that when there is someone that needs protecting that I can be that protector, a calm in his or her storm. I’ve been that way since I was a child; I think it started because I have three younger sisters I was always looking out for. I did more than my share of beating up their bullies. Now I’m protecting my clients from being bullied, it’s actually fun for me.

What is the best legal advice YOU have personally ever been given?

My father once told me that all great attorneys have a few butterflies when they first walk into court, no matter how long they have practiced. He explained that if you ever quit having those butterflies your body is telling you that you’ve become too jaded to care about what happens to your client and it’s time to hang it up. That advice really helped me when I was the new kid on the block because as lawyers we are taught to be tough and it really felt like a weakness at first. What I realized was that those tiny butterflies spurred me to do my best work, to fight, to advocate, to always be the most prepared person in the room.

Tell me something you don’t like about your job.

Although it doesn’t happen often, I hate when I have to give bad news to a client, especially if I feel the judgment wasn’t fair. Sometimes even when you know you’ve done a great job, the judge just doesn’t want to see it your client’s way and that is frustrating to no end. But like I said, I’m pretty much always the most prepared person in the room and I usually feel if a case CAN be won I will. Thankfully that means I don’t have to deliver that kind of news too often.

What is the difference between a lawyer in the movies and a real life lawyer?

Showbiz always makes the legal system seem like a glamorous circus. Movie lawyers are always out on the town partying, hooking up, and driving Ferraris while real life lawyers are up all night prepping for cases and sending emails back and forth to opposing counsel, it’s actual hard work, not a party lifestyle. Even worse than the depiction of lawyers is the movie courtroom, it’s an anything goes kind of place. Want to set up a pitcher’s mound to prove your point? They’ll allow it. Show up drunk and admit yourself as evidence? Allowed. Bring an actual elephant into the room? No problem! I think most TV lawyers would get disbarred in a second in real life, so they usually make me laugh at the absurdity of the situations. That doesn’t mean we real lawyers can’t put some serious pressure to the opposing side in court, but if clients are expecting them to burst out with “OK, I cheated on her! But she deserved it!” during testimony they are probably going to be disappointed.

So do you have a favorite movie lawyer?

Yes, actually. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, not this new book he’s in though. I feel like that actually was a much more accurate portrayal of a lawyer’s life and to some degree how the courtroom operates than most movies. I really liked that he was standing up for the right thing even though it wasn’t the popular thing. He even stood guard over his client’s prison so he wouldn’t get lynched the night before court, now that’s an advocate!

Last question, what advice would you give someone reading this article going through a tough legal issue?

Keep your head up and realize that it’s always the darkest before the dawn; this isn’t your final chapter, just a few pages in your book. I’ve had clients who told me they felt like their lives were over; they were broken. Now many of those same clients have moved on to bigger and better things, happier lives. All they needed was somebody to help them pick up the pieces and put them back together; I’m really honored when that somebody is me.

For those interested in contacting Jennifer or The Rose Law Firm, her firm may be reached 24-7 at 205-323-1124. Her practice is located in Birmingham’s Southside in The historic Rose Building.

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Rose Law Firm divorce childThings every child wants their divorcing or divorced parents to know

By Jennifer G. Rose, Attorney at Law

Hi, I’m Jennifer; in addition to being a family law specialist, I’m personally the product of divorced parents. A child of divorce, I like to say. Looking back, there were many times when there were things I wish my parents knew then that would have helped myself, and especially my younger sisters, during and after our parents’ divorce. They cared, they just didn’t know any better. Now as an adult who handles this as my profession, I’ve come to realize that it wasn’t just MY parents who didn’t know any better or get correct guidance, it’s practically an epidemic. So to help all the well meaning but under informed parents out there, here is short list of things that every child of divorce would want their parents to know. Feel free to share–you just might change a child’s life.

  1. Don’t bad mouth your ex or confide your negative feelings about them to your child. Children are very sensitive to any negative or bad talk about their parents regardless of age. Talking poorly of your ex will not only hurt the relationship between them (and eventually you), but many times it will erode your child’s personal confidence to think they came from a bad person. These things cause your child considerable trauma that can be carried for a lifetime. If you really feel the need to get things off your chest, find a trusted friend or even a therapist to talk to instead of your child.
  2. Children should never feel forced to choose a side. Imagine how stressful this process is for you as an adult and then magnify it tenfold for a child being asked to choose between two people he/she loves. Both during and after a divorce children should be allowed to talk about the other parent when they are with you and never be led to feel they are betraying you when they go to visit or stay with them.
  3. Let your child express their feelings and keep open lines of communication. Let your child tell you how they feel without feeling the need to critique their feelings. Let them vent. It’s ok to let them know what is going on so long as you don’t get into any ugly details. Tell your child that things may be different but that it will be ok. Remind them how much they are loved.
  4. Your ex may have made a bad spouse but still be an excellent parent. So long as your child is not in danger of being physically or mentally abused by your ex, I always encourage parents to allow the child to have as normal a relationship with them as possible. Don’t punish your child for any wrongs that may have been done to you by keeping them from a relationship with their other parent. In the event you have a shared custody arrangement, try to put hurt feelings aside and make the handoff of your child as peaceful and as pleasant as possible. This will help your child’s stress level tremendously.
  5. A little stability from you will help your children in the long run. The more calm you are able to remain about your situation has been proven to help children adjust more quickly in the long run. Make sure to keep normal routines such as bedtime, bath time, and dinnertime as this reassures young children that everything will be ok and the whole world isn’t going to change. Stay active and engaged in any activities they are involved in. They may seek more attention from you during this time and may need you to shower praise, hugs, and kisses on them even more than usual.
  6. Develop a parenting plan with your ex and keep a routine for your child. Put together a plan with your ex on how certain decisions will be handled and you will both care for the child. This will reduce the stress level and uncertainty between you and helps to prevent parenting conflicts.
  7. Make sure to keep your child’s family ties intact. You might be angry with that other person right now but your children don’t see them as an adversary, they see a mommy or daddy that they love. Keep in mind that they will still have other parts of their family that they will want to keep contact with and be allowed to be involved with, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. This is very healthy and should be encouraged.

The author of this article, Jennifer G. Rose, is a Certified Family Law Specialist and practicing family law attorney. Among her awards, she has been named “Top Family Law Attorney” in Birmingham Magazine for the last three years, “Top 1% of Attorneys” by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel, and “Top 10 Family Law Attorneys in Alabama” by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys. Her law firm, The Rose Law Firm, LLC is located in The Rose Building in Birmingham’s Historic Southside District and practices family and matrimonial law exclusively. Her office may be reached at 205-323-1124 for those interested in a consultation.

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

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Rose Law Firm - divorce survival guideDivorce Survival Guide

By Jennifer G. Rose, Attorney and certified family law specialist

As an attorney that practices family law exclusively I realize full well how stressful and confusing a divorce can be. While most lawyers are great when giving legal advice, what often gets lost in the fray is the practical advice for actually dealing with the process. To that end, I thought I’d share a few of the tips and tricks that I regularly advise clients of to help their process go more smoothly. This short guide is a good primer for anyone going through or considering going through a divorce, so feel free to share it with anyone you think can benefit from the information.

Eat, pray, love: 7 steps to help you deal with stress during and after your divorce

1. Get Active. Numerous studies have shown that even a small amount of exercise each day can have huge stress reducing benefits. Couple this with the confidence boost you get from being fit and you can see why this stress buster is a top recommendation from most doctors and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

2. Get involved. Find things that interest you that can occupy some of your free time. Getting involved in a club, hobby, or charity will allow you to use that pent up energy towards something fun and productive. By focusing on new activities, your mind can take a break from the stress of dwelling on your divorce.

3. Talk it out. Find someone you trust to talk to about your feelings and what you are going through. A good friend or close family member that is a good listener can be a great resource for stress relief and support during the entire process.

4. Allow yourself time to grieve. It’s perfectly normal for you to experience both highs and lows in your emotions during your divorce. Allow yourself some time to explore your feelings, be alone, or cry if you need to.

5. Be social. While it’s important to have some private time, you need to make sure that you don’t allow yourself to become a shut in. Laughter is the best medicine, so go out with friends, see a funny movie, or spend time doing fun activities with your children or family.

6. Be patient. The saying “patience is a virtue” really rings true when you are going through a divorce. Recognize that just as it took you and your spouse time to get to where you are now, it will take the court some time to unwind your interests to find a fair solution. Instead of being angry at the process, use the time to focus on the things that you can do to improve your life, post divorce.

7. Get revenge, but not the way you think. They say that the best revenge is living well, so dedicate your time to setting yourself up for a great life after your divorce instead of dwelling on using the legal system to punish your spouse. By putting your focus on the future, instead of the present, it allows you to look towards the brighter days ahead. As an added benefit, I’ve found that couples who are only looking to end their marriage in a fair manner instead of seeking revenge often have quicker AND less stressful divorces, and who doesn’t want that?

War, and eventually peace: dealing with divorce when children are involved

When telling your children it’s best to tell all of your children at once and answer any questions they have honestly. Think about a time and place that’s appropriate to tell your children, odds are it’s not an event they will quickly forget so this is something you want to get right. It’s best if you can tell your children as a couple, avoid casting blame, and take ownership for the failure of the marriage. Breaking the news this way may keep your children from feeling as though they have caused the breakup or that they must “pick a side” and reject the other parent.

Try not to drag your children into your fight unless they have a testimony that absolutely has to be heard, such as abuse. Even in this circumstance, I usually ask that the judge talk to children who are preteen and younger in their chambers without putting them on the stand. Another option for very young children is to have the children talk to a therapist or DHR worker and then they can testify as to their findings. If you think testifying is stressful for you, just imagine how terrifying it is for a child in the middle of a fight they didn’t ask for.

Don’t badmouth your child’s other parent in front of them. Find a friend, family member, or therapist if you need to vent and do it out of earshot of your child. It’s perfectly normal for you to have some animosity, but to your child this person is probably just a mommy or daddy that they love, so don’t take that from them. Children will often feel that if their parent is bad then that makes them bad as well; the last thing you want to do is damage your child’s self esteem.

If you have children that you gained any sort of custody over, try to get them into as normal a routine as possible, as quickly as possible. Your children need to learn that life does go on after a divorce; just going about the business of being a family instead of wallowing in grief will be a tremendous help to them and you. If your child is having a really hard time adjusting, encourage them to talk to you about how they feel. You might also want to consider having them meet with a therapist to talk out any lingering feelings, especially if you feel you’re in over your head.

If there are custody handoffs involved, try to make sure they are as drama free as possible. Understand that they will do fun things with your ex too so don’t discourage them from talking about the things they did and don’t feel the need to compete to do something bigger or better. What your child needs after a divorce are two loving parents, not two constantly fighting ones.

After the divorce you might not want to make nice with your ex right away, or ever, but keep in mind that your children may feel differently than you. Allow them to love your ex without fear of being judged by you.

The dirty half dozen: The top six things I tell my clients never to do during divorce

 1. Sharing bad behavior on social media. You might think that keg stand you did or dirty joke you told on Facebook was hilarious, but there is a good chance the judge won’t see it the same way. Do you really want pictures of yourself out partying all night to show up in the middle of your custody trial? Your online postings aren’t private (regardless of your privacy settings) and they can and WILL be used against you, so think twice before you give the Internet a piece of your mind.

2. Sleeping with the enemy. Unless you are planning to drop your case, it’s a really bad idea to be sleeping with your soon to be ex. This is especially true if you are accusing them of being a cheater or abuser. It’s tough for the court to believe you’re scared of someone or repulsed by his or her bad behavior when you refuse to quit sharing a bed with them. The court can consider this as a sign that you have forgiven their past wrongdoings and the opposing counsel can use it in defense of your claims which may hurt the outcome of your case.

3. Dating during your divorce. No matter what your well meaning friends might have told you, being separated is not the same as being divorced. Although I completely understand your need for companionship, dating someone while you are separated or divorcing is a no no in my book. If you decide to date, there’s a chance that you’ll be accused of cheating prior to filing the divorce, perhaps even with the person you’re now dating. If you are considering a new relationship, I can’t think of a worse way to start it out than by having your new significant other being dragged into your divorce.

4. Sending threatening communications. Sending your spouse threatening messages through text, voicemail, social media, phone calls, or any other form of communication is very unwise. If you must communicate with them for some reason, allow yourself to cool down first and avoid being discourteous. You might have just been having a bad day, but a printed copy or voice recording of a threat or profane message presented in the courtroom can paint you in a bad light that you just don’t want. This can be especially damaging if you are fighting for custody as the judge might think twice about how much custody to award to someone who can’t control his or her emotions.

5. Withholding information from your attorney. There aren’t very many ways in which you can better destroy your own case than to withhold facts your attorney should know. Although you might be embarrassed to share a certain fact about yourself, a good attorney really has heard it all and isn’t going to pass judgment on you, so tell us everything and we can worry about it for you. If you don’t tell your attorney, odds are good your spouse told their attorney for you and the secret you thought you were keeping ends up being dragged out of you during testimony. Besides the obvious detriment of being put on the spot in your defense, that critical piece of information you left out could have changed your attorney’s entire approach to your trial had she known beforehand.

6. Lying to your attorney or making false allegations. No matter how mad you are at the other party, making false allegations or telling your attorney a lie that they take to court on your behalf isn’t a good idea. You might think that falsely accusing your ex of being an abuser or a child molester will give you an advantage, but in reality it will only serve to hurt your case once the truth is discovered. When the truth does come out, which tends to happen during a legal matter, you might find compassion in the courtroom very hard to come by. A wrongful accusation could make you look worse than that which you were accusing the opposing party of in the first place.

Where’s my wallet: things you can do to keep your legal fees down

1.  If you have audio or video evidence, think about what parts of it are relevant before you email it. Let your attorney know where the evidence starts and stops (time on recording) as well as what to look for. You don’t really want to be paying your attorney to watch your children’s entire birthday party looking for evidence when all they really need is the 30 seconds when your spouse went on an abusive rampage.

2. Sending your lawyer a stack of requested documents in disarray would cause your costs to rise needlessly. Putting documents in order and even labeling them can cut down some of the time that your lawyer or their paralegal spends organizing and searching through your documents looking for the information they need. A little extra time here on your part can save you a bundle in the long run.

3. Don’t be out for blood. Divorce is painful and there are usually hurt feelings involved, but staying focused on your end goal instead of revenge can pay off financially and emotionally. If the process drags out because you’re trying to get even it could cost you a small fortune. In most cases the court isn’t likely to be as vengeful with their ruling so this route just leaves you disappointed AND with less money in your pocket.

4. Just as patience was mentioned in the stress reduction section, it’s mentioned here again with good reason. Calling or visiting your attorney each day for updates will get expensive. Instead, keep your questions in a personal journal and schedule time with your attorney to go over many questions at once or email them all at once. There will be waiting time between certain processes but, if you needn’t panic because a good attorney will keep you informed of any new developments in your case as they occur.

5. Finding the right lawyer for the job. I always suggest interviewing at least three attorneys and then hire based on who is experienced in handling cases like yours and has a personality you feel works well with yours. Hiring an attorney who is experienced in your type of case and one you feel is capable of working well with you can make the process streamlined. If you hire someone only because they are the cheapest in town, it could cost you more in the long run if they aren’t the right fit otherwise.

I hope you have found this guide to be helpful.

Feel free to call my office to set up a free consultation if you have any family law related questions at 205-323-1124

Jennifer G. Rose is Certified Family Law Specialist and practicing attorney. Among her awards, she has been named in Birmingham magazine as “top family law attorney” in 2013 and 2014 and “Top 40 under 40” by The National Trial Lawyers. Her law firm, The Rose Law Firm, LLC practices family law exclusively and is located in Birmingham, Alabama.

No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. The previous article was written for general information purposes only and not meant to form any attorney client relationship. You should not act on the general advice contained herein without first consulting an attorney.

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Rose Law Firm co-parenting


Tips for mastering the art of sharing custody

By Jennifer G. Rose, Attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist

Lots of people get divorced. Lots of people have children. But what happens when you get divorced with children, then what? All too often, people make matters worse on themselves and their children than it has to be, just by not knowing any better. Here are four surefire tips to start you headed down the right path to raising children with your ex without pulling your hair out or wanting to kill each other. Follow them and your children will thank you later.

Give and Take: Keep in mind that even though you are no longer married, your child will still always be a tie that binds you together. There will be times when you will disagree and someone will need to give a little, so if you both agree from the beginning to be fair about this, then hopefully when your time comes to ask a favor of the other parent they will be happy to oblige as well. Knowing you can talk out disagreements like adults will decrease the stress levels of everyone involved, children included.

Virtual Visitation: These days everybody has technology that allows him or her to be there when they really aren’t, so take advantage of it. Get your child a tablet and a Wi-Fi connection and voila, you can see them anytime! Ask your attorney to draft (or petition the court for) a custody sharing agreement that includes time communicating with your child through Skype, Facetime, and other means of virtual communication so this is known about from the start. Some face-to-face communication is healthy and de-stressing to both you and your child and can allow you to help with homework, tuck your child in, have a game night, or just see each other in between visits. When you and your ex use this effectively and observe certain boundaries it can be a great way to remain an active presence for your child and allow them to feel like they are truly being raised by you both.

Don’t Sabotage: Remember that your child loves you both, don’t sabotage their relationship with the other parent because you’re only hurting your child. Allow and even encourage your children to have a healthy relationship with them and ask that they do the same for you. Keep your communications light and about your child, not your past together. No child likes to be stuck in the middle and now that your divorce is over it’s time to put those old hurts aside and put the focus squarely on your child for the long run. Don’t bad mouth the other parent and especially don’t involve your child in adult situations or anything outside their control; if you need to talk about these sorts of things find an adult to do that with.

Share: Yes, you share custody, but I’m talking about life events here. Invite and ask to be invited to important events in your child’s life such as a recital, school play, sporting event, school trip, etc. Once you get comfortable you can even possibly have your own events where you put aside differences and come together. As a former child of divorce myself I can say that, even as a successful adult, I still enjoy when I can do something where both parents are there, even if it’s only a Christmas party or housewarming, etc.

These are just a few of the tips I have that can help you lead a happier post divorce life. If you have any family law questions or topics you’d like to see me cover in my next article, drop me a line at [email protected]

About the author: Jennifer G. Rose is founder and lead attorney of The Rose Law Firm, LLC, a Birmingham based firm dedicated exclusively to the practice of family and matrimonial law. One of Alabama’s only certified family law specialists, she has been named to a multitude of top attorney lists including being named a top attorney by B-Metro and voted a top family law attorney in Birmingham Magazine three years in a row by her peers. Her firm is located near UAB in Birmingham’s Southside district and operates out of The Historic Rose Building. Her firm provides complimentary initial consultations and can be reached 24-7 at 205-323-1124.

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Rose Law _Animals_

Sharks and Lambs and Foxes – Oh My!

Finding the right attorney for you.

By Jennifer G. Rose, attorney and certified family law specialist

I hear it almost daily, “are you a shark, can you be mean, can you help me teach that b (or sob) a lesson?” Some well-meaning person has convinced my potential client that a hyper aggressive lawyer is exactly what they need. But is it really? In my experience most trial lawyer’s personalities fall into one of three camps, they are a shark, a lamb, or a fox. Below I’ll examine each one and show you why that “shark” might not be what you’re looking for after all.

The Shark

The shark grew up being told they should become a lawyer because they love to argue and fight. But the biggest problem with Shark lawyers and their underwater counterparts is that they are known for their aggression, rather than discretion. Most sharks, for example, circle their potential prey and take test bites because their vision is so poor that this is the only way they can determine if something is food or not. This is the same way the shark lawyer operates, aggressive but inefficient. They don’t have the vision to put together an excellent case so instead they resort to bullying tactics and a stubborn ‘win at all costs’ attitude. In my dealings with most self described “sharks” they overestimate the effectiveness of their aggressiveness and come to court less prepared than they should be. This strategy puts them in a position of weakness when their tactics fail and they need to negotiate or try a case against a well-prepared attorney. To make matters worse, the shark’s stubborn reliance on their bully strategy usually makes them a mediocre negotiator at best, especially once they get called out. Needless to say, a shark can be quite destructive both emotionally and financially. To find out if an attorney considers himself or herself a “shark” you only need to ask, they are often quite proud of their hammerhead ways.

The Lamb

The lamb is the potential doormat of every other attorney. Unlike the hyper aggressive shark, the lamb is generally very passive and avoids conflict altogether, even when it is to the detriment of the client. This total avoidance of conflict and tackling of tough issues can be damaging to a client’s case as it is often coupled with a general indecisiveness as to the correct direction to take. Although the lamb can be a great shoulder to cry on, they’re generally not assertive nor motivated enough to avoid being run over by the other attorney types. The only upside of the lamb, if there is one, is that they usually realize their worth and price their services lower than the competition. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

The Fox

The fox is the best of both worlds. Just as wild foxes are smart, strategic, and efficient so is the fox lawyer. Whereas the shark and lamb have a single strategy, foxes almost always have a plan b, c, and d. Unlike the shark, a fox applies it’s aggression like a surgeon wields a scalpel, utilizing it only where it’s truly needed. And unlike the lamb, a fox isn’t afraid to tackle the client’s tough issues head-on, even if it means telling the client what they don’t want to hear. A fox is meticulous in planning a roadmap for their client’s cases and are always the most prepared person in the room when depositions, negotiations, and trials arrive. A fox is reliably your best bet to get the type of results you are looking for.  If your potential lawyer starts talking sound strategy rather than revenge and seems to be formulating a concrete plan right away there is a good chance they’re a fox.

The author of this article, Jennifer G. Rose, is an award winning family law specialist and founder of The Rose Law Firm LLC, a Birmingham based firm that practices divorce and family law exclusively.  She provides free initial consultations and can be reached at 205-323-1124 or online at

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DSC_0170F2Ladies of Law

Two of Birmingham’s top female lawyers, Jennifer Rose and Kaitlin Kober of The Rose Law Firm LLC, share questions they often hear as women in the legal field.

Q: What qualities do you feel female attorneys bring to the table that are different than your male counterparts?

Kaitlin: I think we’re able to put ourselves in our client’s shoes a little more to understand how they are feeling. Even though as attorneys we’re driven by logic, I think as females we are also a little more in touch with emotions like empathy.

Jennifer: I agree. Having a real feel for our client’s emotional state helps us to decide how best to advise them and what decisions we think would make them happiest in the end. Plus, I’ll admit that getting angry on behalf of a client has sharpened my focus and resolve more than a few times.

Q: So why did you get into family law as opposed to other fields?

Jennifer: My parents got a divorce when I was old enough to know what was going on and realize the impact it has on people’s lives. It was a field I connected with because I understood the impact on children and families firsthand and I felt like I could make a difference for my clients. I could never see myself being a “pencil pusher,” I just enjoy working with people too much.

Kaitlin: I love that in family law I can help people through what might be the toughest time of their life. I enjoy the variety of situations this field throws at you and the creative solutions we can come up with for our clients. Another thing that appeals to me is advocating for children, as I’m a parent myself. We’ve gotten a lot of kids out of bad situations and that is beyond rewarding.

Q: So do you represent mostly males or females?

Jennifer: It’s pretty even. We don’t see our clients as male or female, we see them as people who have a problem we can help them solve. We fight the same for our clients regardless of their gender. We are certainly proud to be females, but we aren’t feminists, we’re advocates for people in need. People come to us to get good representation, not because we are for men or women only.

Q: Any advice for young girls who are interested in being an attorney?

Kaitlin: Stay in school, study, and work hard at everything you do because the same skills you use to get those good grades are the ones you will need when you become an attorney.

Jennifer: Practice being a lawyer by avoiding shortcuts in your life because there really isn’t a substitute for hard work and determination. Once you set your mind to becoming a lawyer, stay the course and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t make it, yourself included.

Attorneys Jennifer and Kaitlin practice family law exclusively and they can be reached at 205-323-1124 or through their website

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