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Complete Guide to Divorce in Alabama

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Divorce Law
Post Author Image This article was reviewed and approved for publication by Attorney Charlotte Christian.
Complete Guide to Divorce in Alabama

Deciding to get a divorce in Alabama can be emotionally challenging. While the process can seem overwhelming and complicated, you are not alone.

Our goal is to guide and support you through the divorce process and help you move forward.

This guide will provide an overview of Alabama’s divorce process, so you know what to expect. We understand that all divorces are different.

Therefore, we don’t see you as a number, and we do not use a one-size-fits-all approach.

We give you the individual attention your case deserves as we seek to guide you through the divorce process as seamlessly as possible. Our team of experienced Alabama divorce attorneys can help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Please don’t hesitate to call (256) 859-7277 or fill out our online form today for a free consultation.

Contested or Uncontested?

Divorce is a legal process that can be either contested or uncontested

An uncontested divorce is one in which the parties agree on all terms. Because this type of divorce is faster and less stressful than a contested divorce, it’s typically less expensive.

A contested divorce is one where the spouses cannot or will not agree on one or more terms of the divorce.

It can be incredibly challenging for people unfamiliar with the legal system to go through a hotly contested divorce without the aid of exceptional legal counsel.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on all of the terms of your divorce—including custody, child support, visitation rights, alimony, and property division—you will need a judge to decide those issues for you. 

Residency Requirement

Alabama divorce law limits divorce proceedings to residents. The residency requirement applies if you are an Alabama resident but your spouse is not.

You must have resided in Alabama for at least six months to file for divorce in Alabama. Additionally, you can divorce in Alabama if your spouse lives in Alabama, even if you do not.

Alabama Divorce: How to Get Started

To begin the divorce process, you will need to file a complaint for divorce. The complaint will include information about you and your spouse, the grounds for divorce, and any requests for relief, such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. 

Once you’ve filed the complaint, you will need to serve your spouse with a copy of the complaint and a summons.

A sheriff, a process server, or certified mail are all valid ways to effect the service of the complaint. Your spouse will then have 30 days to respond. 

If parties agree on divorce terms, they can enter into a settlement agreement and submit it to the court for approval.

If the parties cannot agree, the court will hold a trial. After hearing all of the evidence, the judge will decide on any contested issues and finalize the divorce.

Reasons for Divorce in Alabama

When you file your divorce petition, you must list the “grounds” (a legally acceptable reason) to end your marriage. Alabama recognizes both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. 

In a no-fault divorce, the parties do not need to prove that the other spouse is at fault. 

The available no-fault reasons include:

  • Incompatibility of temperament, and
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

You can also file for a divorce based on your spouse’s misconduct or fault, which you must explain to the court. 

Examples of fault for divorce in Alabama include:

  • Adultery, 
  • Voluntary abandonment
  • Imprisonment, 
  • Addiction to drugs or alcohol, and 
  • Physical or mental cruelty.

If the court finds a spouse at fault, that finding can impact the division of property, alimony, and child custody.

For example, a spouse who committed adultery may be awarded a smaller share of the marital property or be required to pay more in alimony.

Seeking a divorce? Get advice from a qualified legal professional.

The Waiting Period for Divorce in Alabama

Alabama has a mandatory waiting period for divorce. At least 30 days must pass after the date of the initial complaint and summons before the court will grant a divorce.

If you cannot wait that long, you may apply for temporary court orders during this period, addressing child custody, support, and visitation. 

Additionally, Alabama has a 60-day waiting period between finalizing a divorce and entering a new marriage.

Contact Us for the Support You Need in Your Alabama Divorce

At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, we understand that divorce is rarely easy.

The outcome of your divorce can have significant and long-lasting effects on your financial health, your children’s well-being, and many other aspects of your everyday life. Our goal is to help you achieve the best outcome for you and your family.

Our firm has been 100% woman-owned since 2000. We understand the laws and factors judges consider in child custody cases, and we are prepared to advocate for your child’s best interests.

We have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate child support, alimony, and property division. 

We always recommend at least a consultation to learn if your case is more complex than you realize. Our team is here to help you navigate the process with confidence to get the best result possible.

Learn how we can assist you by calling (256) 859-7277 or send us an online message today. We offer free consultations.

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