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What is Contested Divorce in Alabama?

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Every divorce is different, and while no one can predict how exactly it will go, it’s important to know all of your options before you sign the papers. In the state of Alabama, the divorce rates are higher than that of the rest of the US. It is imperative to be knowledgeable about upcoming divorce proceedings so that you are prepared. 

Uncontested divorces are when both parties agree to property splitting, alimony, child support and custody (if children are involved.) An uncontested divorce is preferable, but unfortunately that is not always an option. In fact, many would say that all divorces are contested, until they’re not. This leads us to contested divorces, which means that the couple getting the divorce cannot agree on one or a number of the issues pertaining to finalizing the divorce. 

This article will delve into the specifics of a contested divorce in the state of Alabama. 

What is a Contested Divorce?

In Alabama, a contested divorce is when the parties cannot agree on the key parts of the divorce itself, such as property allocation, child support and custody, alimony and asset splitting. It is important to understand that filing for divorce is simply the starting point. A case can be settled at any time, even after trial.. If they cannot agree still, the case may be sent to mediation and then a trial in order to sort out all of the contested issues. There may be other hearings prior to a final trial. 

If the divorce is still being contested by two parties after attempts to resolve things amicably , then a trial before a judge will decide all of the contested issues for the couple. There are no jury trials in divorces in Alabama During this trial, both parties will need witnesses and evidence to help support their contested claims and explain why they should be awarded the money, property or custody. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney present to help you through mediation and trial is a huge step into getting what you need and having the fastest divorce possible, as attorneys know how to navigate any and all issues brought up by the other party and their attorneys. 

An important fact to remember is that contested divorces can last anywhere from weeks to months or even years if both parties are unable to come to an agreement. This can end up costing quite a bit of money in attorney fees and court fees. 

What if My Spouse Breaks the Court Ordered Rules?

After the judge orders certain judgments pertaining to the divorce, it is important you follow them as judgements are legally binding and you can get in trouble for disobeying the court and be found in Contempt. Being found in Contempt of Court means you will either be forced to carry out the original judgment that was avoided or you will be fined. One common issue is one party not paying child support after it is court ordered and that can even lead to jail time if the child support isn’t paid. 

Can You Modify the Divorce Ruling?

Yes. If your ex was ordered by the court to fulfill a specific item or duty on the contested list and they refuse to do it, (such as turn over property or pay child support) then you are able to take them back to court and to the judge that issued the order. The judge will either give them a fine, jail time or make sure the party carries out their order this time. 

What if my spouse has disappeared?

If your partner refuses to be found or leaves town, you will need to make your best efforts to locate them usually with the assistance of a process server or private investigator . If your partner still cannot be found, you can perfect service by publication. This means that the court will allow you to give notice to the unreachable party by way of publishing a public notice in a local circulating paper. The notice must be published once a week for four consecutive weeks.

After four weeks, the service is complete and the missing partner is now in default. The court will set a hearing and the divorce will move forward without the absent party. This whole process can take up to 4 months to complete. 

Get Quality Legal Representation with Brackin & Johnson

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 will 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.

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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