Nobody goes into a marriage hoping or expecting that it will end. Nevertheless, the reality is that thousands of marriages in the United States end in divorce each year. However, before you can finalize a divorce in Alabama, there is a mandatory waiting period that must pass first.
Have questions about the Alabama divorce waiting period and how it applies to you? Use our guide below to learn more and see how the Alabama divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates can help you move forward today.
What Is a Waiting Period for Divorce?
Before diving into the details regarding the Alabama divorce waiting period, it’s important to have a basic understanding of what a divorce waiting period is.
A waiting period for divorce is a mandatory period of time that must pass between the filing of the divorce complaint and the issuance of the final divorce judgment. The length of the waiting period varies from state to state, but the general idea is the same.
Does Alabama Impose a Waiting Period for Divorce?
Yes, Alabama does impose a statutory waiting period before a judge can grant your divorce. Thus, if you plan to file for divorce in Alabama, be aware that no judge can grant it immediately.
Notably, this waiting period is mandatory, meaning it can’t be waived or shortened under any circumstances. This is true even when the parties mutually agree to all divorce terms.
What Is the Alabama Divorce Waiting Period?
According to the Code of Alabama § 30-2-8.1, the Alabama divorce waiting period is 30 days. This means that a court cannot enter a final divorce judgment until at least 30 days have passed since the filing of the summons and complaint.
Notably, however, this does not mean that a court can’t make other non-final rulings during the waiting period. In fact, section 30-2-8.1(b) of the Alabama Code specifically states that this statutory waiting period “shall not restrict the power of the court to enter any temporary orders necessary before the expiration of the waiting period.”
Examples of such temporary orders might include those relating to:
- Spousal or child support,
- Exclusive occupancy of the marital residence, or
- Restraining the parties from certain actions as the case may require.
Thus, if you have other pressing issues related to your divorce that need to be addressed more urgently, there are still options available to you.
Why Does Alabama Require a Divorce Waiting Period?
A couple can choose to seek a divorce for a variety of reasons at any point during the course of their marriage. So, you might be wondering, What is the purpose of the divorce waiting period in Alabama? There are a few primary reasons for this.
First, it’s not uncommon for parties to rush into a decision to file for divorce due to heightened emotions. A waiting period gives the couple time, after initially filing the complaint, to carefully consider whether a divorce is truly the right step to take.
Additionally, the waiting period gives the parties an opportunity to adequately prepare for the process ahead of them.
This might include:
- Gathering any necessary information that may be needed moving forward;
- Working out key details regarding custody, spousal support, property divisions, and other issues that will need to be decided as part of the divorce; and
- Seeking advice and hiring legal counsel to assist moving forward.
It’s no secret that going through a divorce can be a long and complicated process. Thus, it’s imperative that the parties are prepared and certain in their decision to terminate the marriage before proceeding. The 30-day waiting period serves as both a “cooling off” period and an opportunity for preparation before permitting the parties to rush into a potentially life-altering decision.
Contact an Experienced Alabama Divorce Attorney
If you are considering a divorce, know you are not alone.
There’s no question that going through a divorce can drastically impact your life—from your assets to the custody of your children and everything in between. However, it doesn’t have to ruin your future.
Our experienced divorce lawyers in Alabama specialize in protecting the rights of clients during the most difficult and sensitive times of their lives. When you hire our team of Alabama divorce attorneys, you can feel confident that we will fight zealously for your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly at every step along the way.
When navigating such a complex and important legal process, make sure to put your case in the hands of a team you can trust. At The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates, we hope we can be that team for you.