Most people who go through a divorce have very little experience with the legal system, regardless of which state they live in. But like most states, there are specific divorce laws and regulations for getting divorced in the state of Alabama, and because most clients don’t know what to do, in what order to do it, or where to find reliable Alabama divorce information and answers, expensive mistakes can happen. In order to avoid those mistakes, it is important to get reliable information from a qualified Alabama attorney as soon as possible, and educating yourself on the basic terms and policies specific to our state before you begin any kind of divorce proceedings.
Common Terms for Divorce in Alabama
While most divorce terms mean the same things no matter where you are in the U.S., there is information specific to the state of Alabama that you need to know:
- Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure: This is a list of rules for any civil proceedings in the state of Alabama. This can affect divorce proceedings in a case where a publication notification is required for serving a divorce complaint.
- Residency Requirements: Most states have a requirement for residency, but in order to file for a divorce in Alabama, residency requirements must be met for the court to accept the case. The requirements are as follows:
- When the defendant is a nonresident, the other party to the marriage must have been a bona fide resident of this state for six months next before the filing of the complaint.
- Complaints for divorce may be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the defendant resides, or in the circuit court of the county in which the parties resided when the separation occurred, or if the defendant is a nonresident, then in the circuit court of the county in which the other party to the marriage resides. (Code of Alabama – Title 30 – Chapters: 2-4 and 2-5)
- Circuit Court: In the Alabama court system, the circuit courts have the exclusive jurisdiction, or power, to decide divorce cases. This is because the circuit courts are Alabama’s trial courts, and they are assigned to hear family law matters. Alabama’s circuit courts are divided into 41 separate judicial districts.
- Legal Grounds for Divorce: There are 12 statutory grounds for divorce (No-Fault or Fault) in the state of Alabama.
- Voluntary abandonment for at least one year prior to filing;
- Incompatibility of temperament prohibiting the spouses from living together any longer, as determined by the court;
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, as determined by the court.
- If, at the time of marriage, either party was physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state;
- Imprisonment in a penitentiary in any state for at least two years, with a minimum sentence of seven years;
- The commission of a crime against nature, with man or beast, either before or during marriage;
- Becoming addicted after marriage to habitual use of alcohol, opium, morphine, cocaine or other like drug;
- Confinement of one of the parties, after marriage, in a mental hospital for a minimum of five successive years, if that party is hopelessly and incurably insane at the time of filing the complaint (a certified statement attesting to this condition from the superintendant of the mental hospital is required.);
- If the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge or agency;
- If one party has committed violence against the other party or when his/her conduct causes a fear of such violence; or
- If the wife has lived separate and apart from the bed and board of her husband for at least two years without support from him, and she has resided in Alabama during the two year period.
- Property Division: Alabama is an equitable distribution state, meaning the divisions of assets and liabilities should be fair and equitable. This does not mean everything is split 50/50. The property that each spouse brought into the marriage is considered his/her separate property and is awarded back to the spouse upon divorce. The remaining property is divided between the spouses as equitably as possible.
- Financial Disclosures: Your county may require you to make certain financial disclosures in connection with your divorce, depending on local rules. You can expect to turn over the following types of financial information and documents:
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Personal financial statements
- Any other documentation containing financial information that your spouse or the court should know in relation to the divorce
If you would like more information on how to go through the process of filing for divorce in the state of Alabama, please contact us at The Alabama Family Law Group. Our experienced staff can help you navigate through every aspect of divorce proceedings in Alabama, and we are committed to achieving an equitable result for all parties involved. Give us a call today!