Divorce can be a challenging time in life. However, if you and your spouse are on amicable terms, you don’t have to go through the expenses of a long, drawn-out court battle. Instead, you may be able to get an uncontested divorce.
Although an uncontested divorce in Alabama is generally more manageable than a contested divorce, you still must follow all of Alabama’s requirements.
Below, the experienced divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates provide a basic guide to uncontested divorce in Alabama.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
Generally, there are two types of divorces—contested and uncontested. The primary difference is whether the couple agrees on the divorce terms.
Because the couple agrees on these issues, there’s little need for judicial intervention. They only need the court to review their agreement and court filings to issue a divorce decree.
Thus, this type of divorce is typically quicker and less expensive than the alternative.
A contested divorce is the alternative. This is where the spouses cannot agree on the terms or the reason for the divorce.
If they cannot or will not agree, the couple must go to court and have a judge decide the unresolved issues.
Because of the need for court hearings and the presentation of evidence supporting your position, a contested divorce is more complex, time-consuming, and expensive than an uncontested divorce.
Alabama Uncontested Divorce Requirements
All uncontested divorces in Alabama must meet several requirements.
First, you must meet Alabama’s residency requirements to file for divorce in Alabama. You can file for divorce in Alabama if both parties are state residents.
However, if you are filing the petition and your spouse lives out of state, you must be a resident of Alabama for at least six months before you file.
Agree on the Divorce Grounds
You must also have a legal reason or grounds for divorce. Alabama law has several reasons for divorce. There are fault-based grounds that blame one of the spouses and no-fault grounds that blame no one.
The no-fault grounds for divorce in Alabama are:
- Irreconcilable differences, and
Neither of these grounds blames either party for the relationship’s demise. The easiest way to get an Alabama uncontested divorce is to use a no-fault ground because both parties are more likely to agree to a ground that doesn’t blame either party.
Agree on Other Divorce Issues
You and your spouse must also agree on other issues involved in a divorce.
These issues include:
Sometimes, spouses need help negotiating these terms. An experienced divorce attorney can help you negotiate and draw up a marital agreement.
The Process for an Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
In Alabama, uncontested divorces must still go through a court process to be finalized.
Complete the Divorce Complaint and Required Forms
You’ll need to complete several forms for an uncontested divorce. Every court may have different forms and requirements.
However, generally, you’ll need the following uncontested divorce forms in Alabama:
- Divorce complaint: This states the reason for the divorce and other basic information about the marriage.
- Summons: A summons provides information about the court and important dates.
- Testimony: A sworn statement by the person filing for the divorce.
- Answer and Acceptance of Service: The other spouse signs this agreeing to the basis of the divorce and accepts service.
- Marital agreement: An agreement between the spouses on all divorce issues.
You’ll need additional forms if you and your spouse share any children. You should speak with an attorney to ensure you have all the forms you need.
File the Complaint and Forms
You must file all required forms with the court and pay the filing fee. Court fees vary. For example, the filing fee for a divorce complaint in Jefferson County is $199.
Serve Your Spouse
You’ll then serve your spouse with the complaint, summons, and other required documents. Your spouse can agree to waive or accept service.
Otherwise, you’ll have someone over 18 serve the documents, such as a sheriff or process server.
Wait for the Court to Finalize Your Divorce
After you file all the required documents, the court will review your uncontested divorce papers. Alabama has a 30-day waiting period from when you file to when the judge issues the final divorce decree. However, it typically takes the court longer than 30 days.
Contact Our Office for an Uncontested Divorce
Meeting all of the legal requirements for an uncontested divorce can be overwhelming. That’s why The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates is here.