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Things to Know About Divorce in Alabama

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Going through a divorce can make you feel lonely and confused. Having quality representation and knowledge on your side is a great way to go into the proceedings with confidence. While not all divorces have to conclude with an adversarial trial proceeding, yours might, and you want to make sure you know your rights and get exactly what you deserve after all is said and done.

Divorce laws can vary from state to state, so this article will go over divorces in Alabama and what to expect before, during, and after legal proceedings. Let’s go over all of the facts and processes you will want to know when filing for divorce in Alabama. 

Steps for Filing for Divorce

Let’s go over the most common steps to begin your divorce. These are basic steps and you may need to adjust to your specifics (assets, children, etc.):

  • First Step:  Meet the residency requirements of the state in which you wish to file. Alabama residency requirements are stated below.
  • Second Step:  Have “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end the marriage. The standard grounds for divorce in Alabama include incompatibility, adultery, cruelty, habitual drunkenness, incurable insanity, and “the commission of the crime against nature, whether with mankind or beast, either before or after marriage.”
  • Third Step:  File a Complaint for Divorce and have your spouse spouse served in accordance with the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • Fourth Step: Your spouse will file an “answer” the the Complaint admitting or denying the allegations and may also file a Counterclaim for Divorce. The case will be set for trial and you may have to attend a series of court appearances to sort out any temporary matters. 
  • Fifth Step: Property, custody of children, or financial support from your spouse will be resolved in an out-of-court settlement, or in a trial.

When will my divorce be effective?

A Final Judgment of Divorce becomes final thirty days after it is entered. 

No Fault Divorce Laws

Alabama offers “no fault” divorces, which mean you do not have to prove or even allege any specific wrongdoing in order to get divorced. Instead, you just have to show the court that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage and that further attempts to reconcile haven’t worked and are futile or not in the best interest of all parties/family. Annulments (marriage is wiped off the books) and legal separations (still legally married, just live apart) are also viable options, however, each have their own requirements and are only permitted in certain limited circumstances. 

What is a temporary order?

A temporary order is typically entered by the Court in response to temporary or “pendente lite” motions filed by either party soon after the filing of the initial complaint. These orders are issued to help keep the child custody and financial situations steady and fair. Either side of the divorce can ask the court for a temporary order to give spousal support, child support, custody rights, visitation and residence of the marital home. Once a final judgment is issued in the divorce case, the temporary order is no longer effective. In other words, the final order supersedes the temporary order.

What are the residency requirements to file for divorce in Alabama?

Residency requirements are in place to show how long each spouse needs to live in the state of Alabama before they can file for divorce in that state. The amount of time that you or your spouse has to live in Alabama before filing will depend on if one or both of you live in Alabama at that time. The requirements are as follows:

  • If both spouses are residents of Alabama then a divorce can be filed at any time.
  • If only the person filing for the divorce is a resident of Alabama and the other spouse lives in another state, then the person filling must have been a resident of Alabama for at least 6 months immediately before filing for the divorce; or
  • If only the defendant is a resident of Alabama but the person filing for divorce lives in another state, a divorce can be filed at any time.
  • Notwithstanding the above, a divorce may be filed in Alabama if it is the last place the parties resided as a married couple. 

Seeking a Divorce in Alabama? We are Here for You.

At Brackin & Johnson, we get the results you deserve when you need them most. With more than 40 years of experience, we can provide comprehensive care and representation tailored to your needs and unique situation. 

We focus on resolving conflicts peacefully through negotiation or mediation, but are ready to fight for you if your case ends up going in front of a judge. The best way to settle a case favorably is to prepare for trial. 

Contact us today for the best legal services in Baldwin County. We are ready to help you understand your legal options and create the best case for your interests.

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