We strive to make our clients’ todays better than their yesterdays. Whether you’re contending with a divorce, custody, child support or need to modify an order that has already gone through Court, our Huntsville Divorce lawyers bring compassion and kindness to each of your legal endeavors.
Over the years, we’ve saved clients money and have gotten custody for them, giving them opportunities they had never imagined. We work hard to have your voice recognized.
Your court case may not seem fair. Fortunately, our law firm is prepared to protect you from an unfair legal result by presenting your case in the best way possible, to provide the decision makers with the best information to understand your position, your goals and objectives.
We’re the divorce lawyers that Alabama residents trust.
No one should be uncertain during a divorce. At Charlotte Christian Law, our attorneys help you through each next step. Move to a brighter future with clarity and confidence. We help you get a future without headaches where you finally feel in control again. Whether you are in Birmingham, Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Florence, Decatur, Athens or areas in between, we want to make your day today be better than it was yesterday.
Preparing Your Case
Divorce proceedings are initiated by filing a complaint with your circuit court. When working with a divorce lawyer, we can initiate a divorce in Huntsville by filing a complaint with your circuit court.
A complaint is a legal document or pleading that a party is required to file with the court to initiate a divorce. There are several pieces of important information that must be contained in the complaint, including:
- The names of the plaintiff and defendant
- The ages of all parties involved in the case
- The date of residency for one of both parties
- The date and location of the couple’s marriage
- The grounds for divorce
- Children’s names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers
- A date of separation, as applicable
You must include a copy of your marriage certificate alongside your initial complaint.
Upon filing your complaint, a Huntsville divorce lawyer can serve a copy to the defendant. The defendant can answer your papers with additional information about the dissolving marriage. This response must reach a Huntsville circuit court within 30 days of an original complaint’s submission.
Failure to submit a response within the deadline allows the plaintiff to request a Divorce Judgment by Default.
Answering a Divorce Complaint
When you answer a divorce complaint, you do more than affirm your interest in divorce proceedings. You also have the opportunity to elaborate on the issues that you want the upcoming proceedings to address. This includes the division of property, settling of debts, and any concerns you may have about child custody.
To have a court address these concerns, you need to tell area courts about any property you share with your spouse. You also need to frankly discuss your debts and the emotional well-being of your children.
You can work with our law firm to both elaborate on these issues. We can help you submit your essential documentation within 30 days of receiving your summons.
Establishing Your Grounds for Divorce
Before you are legally permitted to pursue a divorce in Alabama, you need to establish your reasons, or “grounds,” for separation. Your reasoning must be recognized by state representatives if your case is to proceed.
Some of the most common grounds for divorce in Alabama include:
- Voluntary separation within Alabama for at least two years
- Voluntary abandonment for at least a year
- Imprisonment for at least two years within the past seven years
- Confinement within a mental institution for at least five years during two parties’ marriage
- Participation in criminal activities
- A pregnancy prior to the couple’s marriage that did not involve one of the spouses involved in the current marriage
- Drug addiction
If your reasons for seeking a divorce are not listed above, you’re not out of options. Upon reading a summary of your reasons in your complaint, a judge can determine whether or not your marriage has suffered an irrevocable breakdown. What constitutes a breakdown is up to individual judges.
With that in mind, you can discuss your circumstances with a divorce attorney in Huntsville, AL ahead of time. An initial case review can help you get a sense of your legal standing.
Residency Requirements for Divorce in Alabama
To file for divorce in Alabama, one of the spouses must have been a legal resident of the state for at least six months prior to the filing of the divorce complaint. The state establishes this requirement in
Alabama Code § 30-2-5.
If neither spouse has been a resident of Alabama for the requisite amount of time, the couple may pursue divorce proceedings in another state.
Types Of Divorce
Different couples find themselves involved in different kinds of
divorces. For example, a couple who peaceably goes throughout the
divorce proceedings enjoys an uncontested divorce. Similarly, divorces
that result from an amicable design to part can be referred to as no-fault divorces.
Should one party fail to respond to a divorce case summons, the plaintiff may benefit from a divorce by default. This kind of divorce allows a judge to divide up a person’s property with no legally-admissible input from the defendant.
Finally, there is at-fault divorce. At-fault divorces see one party attempt to hold the other accountable for the failure of a marriage. These cases may see more conflict than the others, causing legal representatives and a judge to meditate on the clients’ behalf. This intervention can see property and responsibilities successfully – if not happily – divided between the parties.
Family Law Services We Offer to Huntsville Residents
When you bring your concerns to our team, you gain access to the full package of family law services. We can help you with:
Additional Divorce Paperwork
After you’ve filed for divorce, your circuit court may require you and a divorce lawyer in Huntsville to submit additional paperwork.
The forms most frequently tied to today’s Alabama divorce cases include:
Protection Orders and
Protection orders and temporary restraining orders (TROs) are two separate documents used to protect one person from another. That said, their purposes are relatively similar in Alabama court cases. You can file a petition for either a TRO or a protection order when submitting your initial complaint.
A judge will sign a protection order in a case of domestic abuse. Alabama judges can issue protection orders prior to or in the middle of a plaintiff’s divorce. A judge’s authority gives them the right to grant the protection order’s holder:
- Child custody
- Possession of a home or vehicle
- Additional financial relief
In divorce actions, the judge may issue a TRO granting relief identical to that of a protection order. This may again be a case of domestic violence where the judge orders the abuser to keep clear of the victim to protect that party and keep him or her safe. This type of order is also granted to protect children involved in the divorce proceedings.
During divorce proceedings, your court may ask you to complete a Vital Statistics Form, an Affidavit of Residency, and a form entitled Testimony of Plaintiff.
If you have children who will be affected by your divorce, you must submit paperwork elaborating on their relationship to your complaint. These documents can include a:
- Child Support Guideline Notice of Compliance
- Child Support Guideline Form
- Child Support Obligation Income Statement
- Child Support Information Sheet
- Certificates of Attendance for mandatory training or counseling
These documents help you establish action plans involving your children’s care throughout and after your divorce.
Divorce and Your Finances
As you begin your divorce proceedings, your circuit court will require you to disclose information regarding your financial standing. This information will, in turn, help a court divide your assets between the two of you.
Property owned by a particular spouse will revert to that spouse upon a divorce. Trial judges can then assess the remaining property and divide it as fairly as possible. Your judge may do so with the assistance of your attorneys, yourself, and your spouse.
In most cases, a judge can examine the aforementioned financial information when determining which partner receives what property. For example, the spouse with a more significant income stream may receive less property than an unemployed spouse for the sake of economic equality.
Temporary Alimony Versus Permanent Alimony
When considering your case, a judge may opt to award you alimony needed to help you contend with the economic expenses of mid- and post-divorce life. A court bases your proposed alimony off of your earning power, length of your marriage, and fault within that marriage.
There are two types of alimony available to you: temporary and permanent. Temporary alimony is awarded to the party in need for the period of time after a divorce suit is filed until trial or final decision by the court.
Comparatively, judges work permanent alimony into your final awards. You can request either periodic or gross alimony, depending on how often you would like to receive financial support. Again, the support you receive is at the total discretion of the trial judge. The economic value of alimony is also considered separate from your other divided assets.
Custody and Child Support in an Alabama Divorce
The judge can decide custody and visitation issues of the minor children of the couple in a divorce action. Judges do not make these decisions in a void, though. Custody decisions, in particular, take root in a judge’s understanding of the:
- Interests of the child
- Welfare of the child
- Fault involved in the divorce
- Previous evidence of custody and care
Similarly, a parent’s economic standing and overall stability contribute to whether or not a judge believes them to be capable of effectively caring for a child. Children may even have the opportunity to discuss their own concerns regarding custody with Huntsville, AL, divorce lawyers, should they wish to do so.
Whichever parent does not receive primary custody will subsequently be referred to as the “non-custodial parent.” Depending on a judge’s interpretation of a divorce. This parent may have limited visitation rights. Divorcees can work with attorneys and the judge to establish what their visitation schedule looks like and if it comes with any stipulations.
Awarding Custody to Others
Courts in Alabama typically choose to grant physical custody of the child or children to a natural parent. However, the judge can award custody to other individuals. This can include the child’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, or someone to whom the child is not related.
These decisions will hinge on a judge’s assessment of two factors. Judges will assess both a guardian’s ability to care for a child and the child’s overall well-being. Some judges will even consult the child in question when considering placing them with a non-parental guardian.
What to Expect After Filing and Serving a Divorce Complaint
After you’ve submitted your complaint and your partner has submitted an answer, the speed at which your divorce progresses is up to area courts. You can expect to attend Pendente Lite hearings to discuss the relief available to you throughout the preliminary and ongoing divorce proceedings.
These hearings allow you to discuss child support, spousal support, child custody, and the occupation of shared property. Once they’ve concluded, you can move into discovery. Discovery allows you to gather witness statements regarding your treatment throughout your marriage. You can also gather information regarding your assets from your spouse.
Alabama Code § 6-6-20 then requires you to undergo mandatory mediation with your partner. You can only forgo this mediation if you’ve provided evidence that you were the victim of spousal abuse.
Preparing for a Divorce Proceeding
Ideally, you and your partner will resolve all your concerns regarding your finances and property in mediation. But if you can’t, you and a Huntsville, AL divorce attorney can progress to a final divorce trial. You will work with an attorney throughout this process to argue for the repossession of property or redistributed custody rights.
You always have the option to appeal a decision that you don’t approve of after a trial concludes. However, The discretion given to Alabama’s appellate courts may see your requests denied unless you can prove an error of the law.
Preventing or Limiting the Fallout of a Divorce
Divorce proceedings can be exhausting for all parties involved. While there are some circumstances in which these proceedings can benefit you, there are steps you can take to mitigate the strain you’re under. When in doubt, make sure that you:
- Prioritize your confidence and personal interests
- Respect your children’s questions about your divorce and your
- Check in with your emotions and seek out professional care, as needed
- Prepare to co-parent in a way that preserves your children’s mental health
- Avoid unhealthy rebounds
- Stay involved in your case’s legal proceedings
- Make plans for your life after your divorce
Finally, be certain to only take legal advice from experienced professionals. While your friends and loved ones mean well, ill-gotten legal advice could draw out your divorce proceedings for much longer than you’d like. Instead, you can come to our office and learn more about the means through which you can undergo a relatively painless divorce.
The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Team
Experience has taught us that family law issues are often emotionally draining experiences born from loss. These experiences usually do not afford people the ability to think and act logically and without heavy emotion at the same time. That is why it is crucial to rely on a legal advocate that will care and passionately represent you during your time of need.
Our guiding principles of trust and excellence and our proven track record for exceeding expectations set us apart from our peers. It is what drives our vision of helping families like yours feel secure again, create a new life following a loss, and enjoy the bright future you earned and deserve.
If you are looking for the best divorce lawyer in Huntsville, do your research. Call Divorce Lawyers who practice divorce in Madison County and find out how their firm operates, how your strategy will be developed and how execution will occur should you work with their firm. Give us a call, we love to talk to you about what we believe makes us different.
Discuss Your Concerns
With a Divorce Attorney
Divorces are not always 50/50, and they are not always fair. We protect you from an unfair divorce. If you need to discuss your upcoming divorce with a professional, look no further than our team. Huntsville divorce attorneys can work with you from the start of your case to its conclusion.
You can discuss your legal options during a case review with our staff at Charlotte Christian Law. Contact us via text or call to quickly set up an appointment to learn how to make your day today better than it was yesterday.
Do I Have to Submit Evidence of Fault to File a Divorce?
You must provide grounds for a divorce before you can present your case to an area circuit court. Your grounds can include:
- Pregnancy by another man
- Spousal abandonment
- Spousal imprisonment for at least two years with a sentence of at least seven years
- Crimes against nature
- Alcohol or drug addiction
- Incompatibility of temperament
- Irretrievable breakdown of marriage
- Domestic abuse
You also have the option to file a no fault divorce. No fault divorces do not require you to submit evidence of wrongdoings.
Who Do I File a Divorce Claim With?
If you want to pursue a divorce, you need to file a divorce claim with your local circuit court. You’ll also need to serve the defendant a summons within thirty days of filing your initial complaint.
While it is up to your spouse to determine how to respond to your summons, failing to provide your spouse with this paperwork can render your initial complaint null and void.
If I’ve Been Served Divorce Papers, How Can I Respond?
You are required by law to respond to a divorce summons. You can use your answer to elaborate on why you agree or disagree with the complaint that your spouse filed. Defendants can work on their answers with a divorce attorney to better outline a legal defense against any parts of the original claim that they disagree with.
Failure to answer a summons does not benefit the defendant. Instead, Alabama allows spouses who’ve not received word back from an ex-partner to pursue an uncontested divorce. This means that it will be up to the court to decide how property and custody may be divided between the involved parties.
Will a Temporary Order Impact My Divorce Proceedings?
A judge can issue temporary orders to help protect one spouse from instances of physical, financial, sexual, or emotional abuse. These orders can award one spouse child custody and visitation rights.
Temporary orders hold until they are either renewed or until a judge issues a final judgment regarding a divorce.
Which Alabama Court Addresses My Divorce?
Divorce cases in Alabama are strictly handled by circuit courts. Circuit courts cover all family law concerns. However, you can take divorce rulings that you disagree with up to the Court of Civil Appeals. If your case goes on from there, your divorce may be addressed by the Alabama Supreme Court.
When Does My Divorce Go Into Effect?
If you file for an uncontested divorce, your final judgment will go into effect thirty days after you file your complaint and summons. Contested divorces, comparatively, may take longer to address.
Schedule a Consultation with a Huntsville Family Law Attorney
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You don’t have to face the difficulties of a divorce alone. Our family law lawyers in Huntsville, AL are here to help you navigate the legal process.
Contact us via text or phone to schedule your appointment today. Charlotte Christian Law will stand with you throughout your divorce and with any legal concerns that come after.