Home » Blog » Understanding the Legal Implications of Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide

Understanding the Legal Implications of Divorce: A Comprehensive Guide

Learn how an Alabama divorce lawyer can help you understand the legal implications of a divorce using this comprehensive guide.

Most spouses never consider the legal implications of divorce when they get married. When the relationship ends, however, they are suddenly confronted with all kinds of legal complexities. 

Although these legal procedures might seem daunting, you are not alone. A divorce lawyer in Alabama can guide you through the entire process from start to finish. They can also explain how divorce laws work, providing you with greater confidence as you pursue positive outcomes. If you are thinking about divorce or are about to embark on the divorce process, this is what you need to know. 

Divorce Basics

In a nutshell, a divorce “dissolves” your marriage. After you complete the divorce process, your marriage contract will no longer be valid, and legally, you will be single. This may have various implications for your personal life, freedom, financial stability, and your taxes. Perhaps most notably, it allows you to marry someone new. Without a divorce, you cannot legally marry someone else. If you attempt to marry someone without divorcing your previous spouse, you run the risk of violating Alabama’s strict laws against bigamy. 

It is important to note that, in Alabama, you do not need your spouse’s consent to end your marriage. At any point, either you or your spouse can file for divorce. In addition, you do not need a specific reason to divorce someone in Alabama. This is known as a “no-fault” system, and it allows you to end a marriage purely on the grounds of incompatibility. In other words, you only need to tell the court that your marriage is not working out. 

However, unlike many other states, Alabama allows you to file for a fault-based divorce by citing various “grounds.” Grounds for divorce in Alabama include adultery, desertion, substance abuse, cruelty, and a few others. Note that most spouses choose no-fault divorce, as it doesn’t require much evidence. 

Child Custody

For many spouses, the most concerning implication of divorce is child custody. If you dissolve your marriage, you will also need to figure out how you are going to raise your children, beginning with your separation. 

This is no easy task, and it requires both spouses to work together. Some parents are not willing to work together, and a so-called “custody battle” may then ensue. During these custody battles, both spouses may attempt to win sole physical and legal custody of the children — sometimes by accusing their exes of various misconduct

Family courts (and most parents) agree that shared custody serves everyone’s best interests. Psychologists believe that children benefit from spending time with both parents after a divorce.  For this reason, shared physical custody is the most common outcome in the modern era. Like all other states, Alabama does not give automatic preference to the mother when it comes to child custody. 

Child Support

Although associated with child custody, child support is a separate issue to consider during divorce. As the name suggests, this financial support helps create stability, health, and happiness for the children after divorce.

Child support may not be necessary in situations where both parents earn identical incomes and share custody in a 50/50 split. On the other hand, family courts may order one parent to pay child support if they earn a higher income than their ex. If the higher-income parent wins sole physical custody, they do not need to pay child support since the purpose of these payments is to help with childcare costs. 

Child support calculations follow a predetermined formula. However, different standards may apply to high-net-worth families, as their children may have become accustomed to higher standards of living. 

Property Division

Property division is a difficult process for many spouses in Alabama. It is also one of the most concerning financial implications of divorce, as a spouse could theoretically lose approximately half their net worth. 

Alabama follows a system of equitable distribution, with family courts considering various factors when dividing marital property between spouses. As the name implies, the goal of equitable distribution is an “equitable split” — but not necessarily an “equal” split. Equal would be 50/50, while this is not necessarily the case with an equitable division. 

With that said, property division laws only apply to certain assets during divorce. As a general rule, “separate property” is not eligible for property division. Separate property includes things like:

  • Assets acquired prior to marriage
  • Assets acquired after the date of separation
  • Inheritance
  • Gifts from third parties

Conflicts often arise over whether separate property is truly “separate.” For example, a spouse might use their inheritance to purchase a family home during the marriage, leading to a “commingled asset.” Conflicts may also arise over concealed assets, properties one spouse intentionally hides from their ex, including offshore accounts, cryptocurrency tokens, and so on. 


Another financial implication of divorce is alimony. Although alimony was once specifically reserved for women, it may be awarded to both genders. Family courts consider income disparity between spouses rather than their genders. If you earned a much higher income than your ex during the marriage, you may need to pay them alimony. 

Alimony is not automatic. Family courts may determine that these payments are not necessary for very short marriages. In Alabama, they might also consider marital misconduct when awarding alimony. Perhaps most notably, a spouse may lose the right to receive alimony if it becomes clear that they committed adultery during the marriage. 

Even if spouses file for divorce under “no-fault” grounds, they may still attempt to prove fault during actual divorce proceedings. If one spouse believes that their ex committed adultery, there is a real financial incentive to prove this to family courts. 

Contact Charlotte Christian Law today for your divorce. 

Although online research offers a brief summary of divorce laws in Alabama, it only gets you so far. Each divorce is slightly different, and spouses approach this process with unique goals. Therefore, it is best to speak with an experienced lawyer to receive targeted legal advice based on your specific circumstances. 

At Charlotte Christian Law, our team of skilled and experienced divorce attorneys can help you create an effective action plan today. During your first consultation, we can answer any questions you might have about the road ahead. Call us at our Huntsville or Birmingham offices today

Scroll to Top