Charlotte Christian Law

At Charlotte Christian Law, we stand by your side and guide you through the process—from start to finish. We work to protect your financial well-being, help you navigate child custody disputes, and explore opportunities and solutions that you may not have imagined. Our skilled Homewood, Alabama divorce attorneys advocate for your best interests at every turn and work hard to have your voice recognized.

Divorce can be one of the most challenging times of your life. On top of it all, your court case may seem unfair. Fortunately, our family law firm can help protect you from an unfair legal result. Our main goal is to protect your legal rights while safeguarding your future. We’ve seen many divorce and family law cases and understand how emotional they can be. Our Homewood divorce attorneys work to ensure you move through the process efficiently and have someone to protect your rights.

We strive to make our clients’ todays better than their yesterdays. Whether you’re contending with a divorce, custody, child support, or need to modify an existing order, our Homewood divorce lawyers bring compassion and kindness to your legal matters.

Learn how we can help you today by calling (256) 445-9206 or filling out our online form.

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Get advice from a qualified legal professional.

We’re the divorce lawyers that Alabama residents trust.

No one should be uncertain during a divorce. At Charlotte Christian Law, our attorneys help you through each step. Move toward a brighter future with clarity and confidence. We help you achieve a future without headaches, where you finally feel in control again. Whether in Birmingham, Homewood, Tuscaloosa, Florence, Decatur, Athens, or areas in between, we want to make your day today better than yesterday.

Preparing Your Case

Divorce proceedings are initiated by filing a complaint with your circuit court. As your divorce lawyer, we can initiate a divorce in Homewood by filing a complaint with your local circuit court.

A complaint is a legal document or pleading that a party is required to file with the court to initiate a divorce.

Several pieces of important information must be contained in the complaint, including:

  • The names of the plaintiff and defendant
  • The ages of all parties involved in the case
  • The date of residency for one or both parties
  • The date and location of the couple’s marriage
  • The grounds for divorce
  • Children’s names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers
  • A date of separation, as applicable

You must include a copy of your marriage certificate alongside your initial complaint.

Upon filing your complaint, a Homewood divorce lawyer can serve a copy on the defendant. The defendant can answer your papers with additional information about the dissolution of the marriage. This response must reach a local circuit court within 30 days of the original complaint’s submission.

Failure to submit a response within the deadline allows the plaintiff to request a Divorce Judgment by Default.

Answering a Divorce Complaint

When you answer a divorce complaint, you do more than affirm your interest in divorce proceedings. You also have the opportunity to elaborate on the issues that you want the upcoming proceedings to address. This includes the division of property, the settlement of debts, and any concerns you may have about child custody.

To have a court address these concerns, you need to tell area courts about any property you share with your spouse. You also need to frankly discuss your debts and the emotional well-being of your children.

You can work with our law firm to elaborate on these issues. We can help you submit your essential documentation within 30 days of receiving your summons.

Establishing Your Grounds for Divorce

Before you are legally permitted to pursue a divorce throughout Alabama, you need to establish your reasons, or “grounds,” for separation. Your reasoning must be recognized by state law for your case to proceed.

Some of the most common grounds for divorce in Alabama include:

  • Adultery
  • Voluntary separation within Alabama for at least two years
  • Voluntary abandonment for at least a year
  • Imprisonment for at least two years within the past seven years
  • Confinement within a mental institution for at least five years during the marriage
  • Participation in criminal activities
  • A pregnancy prior to the couple’s marriage that did not involve one of the spouses involved in the current marriage
  • Drug addiction

If your reasons for seeking a divorce are not listed above, you’re not out of options. Upon reading a summary of your reasons in your complaint, a judge can determine whether or not your marriage has suffered an irrevocable breakdown. What constitutes a breakdown is up to individual judges.

With that in mind, you can discuss your circumstances with a divorce attorney in Homewood, AL ahead of time. An initial case review can help you get a sense of your legal standing.

Residency Requirements for Divorce in Alabama

To file for divorce in Alabama, one of the spouses must have been a legal resident of the state for at least six months prior to the filing of the divorce complaint. The state establishes this requirement in Alabama Code § 30-2-5.

If neither spouse has been a resident of Alabama for the requisite amount of time, the couple may pursue divorce proceedings in another state.

Types Of Divorce

Different couples experience various types of divorce. For instance, a couple that amicably navigates the divorce process experiences an uncontested divorce. Likewise, divorces that arise from mutual agreement are termed no-fault divorces.

If one party doesn’t respond to a divorce summons, the plaintiff might benefit from a divorce by default. In this situation, a judge determines property division without any legal input from the defendant.

Lastly, there is the at-fault divorce. In at-fault divorces, one party seeks to blame the other for the marriage’s end. These scenarios might involve more disputes, necessitating attorneys and a judge to intervene on the client’s behalf. Through this intervention, assets and responsibilities are allocated between the parties, even if the outcome might not be agreeable to both.

Family Law Services We Offer to Homewood, AL Residents

When you bring your concerns to our team of Homewood divorce attorneys, you receive a comprehensive range of family law services.

Additional Divorce Paperwork

After initiating a divorce, your circuit court may ask you and a divorce lawyer to provide further documentation. Common forms related to Alabama divorce cases include:

Protection Orders and Restraining Orders

Protection orders and temporary restraining orders (TROs) serve to safeguard one person from another. Despite distinct differences, their roles in Alabama court cases are relatively similar. With your initial complaint, you can apply for either a TRO or a protection order.

A protection order gets sanctioned in domestic abuse scenarios. Alabama judges can issue these orders either before or during a divorce proceeding.

With a judge’s authority, a protection order grants its holder:

  • Child custody
  • Possession of a residence or vehicle
  • Further financial assistance

During divorce actions, a judge might issue a TRO offering relief similar to a protection order. This might occur in cases of domestic violence where the judge mandates the perpetrator to stay away from the victim, ensuring safety. This kind of order also aims to shield any children involved in the divorce.

Additional Paperwork

Throughout divorce proceedings, your court might request that you fill out a Vital Statistics Form, an Affidavit of Residency, and a Testimony of Plaintiff form.

For those with children affected by the divorce, relevant paperwork reflecting their connection to your complaint is necessary.

Such documents encompass:

  • Child Support Guidelines Notice of Compliance
  • Child Support Guideline Form
  • Child Support Obligation Income Statement
  • Child Support Information Sheet
  • Certificates of Attendance for mandatory training or counseling

These papers aid in outlining plans concerning your children’s care during and post-divorce.

Divorce and Your Finances

At the outset of your divorce proceedings, your circuit court will necessitate financial disclosures. This data aids the court in equitably splitting your assets.

Individual property reverts to its respective owner post-divorce. Trial judges then evaluate the remaining assets and divide them justly. This distribution may involve consultations with attorneys, both parties, and the presiding judge.

Typically, judges consider financial details to determine property allocation. For instance, a spouse with a higher income might receive fewer assets than an unemployed partner to ensure financial balance.

Temporary Alimony Versus Permanent Alimony

Based on your situation, a judge may grant alimony to address financial needs during and after the divorce. The amount depends on factors like earning potential, marriage duration, and marital fault.

Two types of alimony are available: temporary and permanent. Temporary alimony supports the needy party from the divorce filing until the court’s final decision. Conversely, permanent alimony gets included in the final awards. You can opt for periodic or lump-sum alimony, depending on your preference. However, the alimony’s value is distinct from other divided assets and is at the judge’s discretion.

Child Custody and Support in an Alabama Divorce

The judge determines custody and visitation for minor children. These decisions are informed by:

  • The child’s interests
  • The child’s welfare
  • Fault in the divorce
  • Historical evidence of care and custody

Similarly, a parent’s economic situation and stability factor into a judge’s assessment of their caregiving capacity. Children may also express their custody preferences to the divorce attorneys if they so desire.

The parent without primary custody becomes the “non-custodial parent.” Depending on the divorce’s specifics, this parent may have restricted visitation rights. All parties can collaborate to finalize the visitation timetable and any associated conditions.

Awarding Custody to Others

While Alabama courts generally prefer awarding physical custody to a biological parent, other individuals like grandparents, aunts, uncles, or unrelated individuals can gain custody.

Such decisions depend on a judge’s evaluation of a guardian’s caregiving ability and the child’s overall well-being. In some cases, the child’s opinion is also considered when contemplating a non-parental guardianship.

What to Expect After Filing and Serving a Divorce Complaint

After you’ve submitted your complaint and your partner has submitted an answer, the pace at which your divorce moves forward depends on local courts. In Homewood, AL, you might be called upon to attend Pendente Lite hearings to discuss interim reliefs available to you during the divorce process.

These hearings offer a platform to deliberate on issues like child support, spousal support, child custody, and the use of shared property. Following these, the next step is discovery, where you can obtain witness testimonies about your marital relationship and extract information about shared assets from your spouse.

According to Alabama Code § 6-6-20, you are obligated to participate in mandatory mediation with your spouse, unless there’s evidence presented of spousal abuse.

Preparing for a Divorce Proceeding

If matters remain unresolved post-mediation, you and a seasoned divorce lawyer can proceed to the final divorce trial. With the help of your attorney, you can put forth arguments to reclaim property or seek changes in custody arrangements.

If unsatisfied with the trial’s verdict, you retain the right to appeal. However, it’s worth noting that the Alabama appellate court might reject your appeal unless a legal misjudgment can be substantiated.

Preventing or Limiting the Fallout of a Divorce

Navigating through divorce can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Although certain aspects of the divorce process might prove beneficial, there are proactive measures you can adopt to alleviate the associated stress:

  1. Uphold your self-worth and safeguard personal interests.
  2. Address your children’s queries about the divorce with sensitivity.
  3. Regularly introspect about your emotional well-being and consider seeking professional guidance when necessary.
  4. Endeavor to establish a co-parenting rapport that emphasizes your children’s emotional wellness.
  5. Steer clear of unproductive relationships post-divorce.
  6. Remain engaged with the legal facets of your case.
  7. Strategize for life post-divorce.

Importantly, always consult trusted legal professionals for advice. While well-intentioned, advice from acquaintances might prolong your divorce unnecessarily. Instead, consult our office to understand how to navigate a smoother divorce journey.

The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Team in Homewood, AL

Our experience confirms that family law matters are emotionally taxing, often stemming from profound personal loss. It’s challenging to balance rational decision-making with intense emotions, underscoring the significance of a compassionate family law advocate.

Our commitment to trustworthiness and excellence, combined with our proven track record, differentiates us from the rest. Our vision revolves around ensuring families like yours regain security, embark on new beginnings post-loss, and relish the promising future you rightfully deserve.

If you’re on the hunt for premier divorce lawyers in Homewood, conduct thorough research. Engage with Divorce Lawyers familiar with Jefferson County to ascertain their firm’s modus operandi, their strategy formulation, and their approach to case resolution. We welcome discussions about what sets us apart.

Discuss Your Concerns With Our Team of Homewood Divorce Lawyers

Divorces aren’t always equitable. We’re here to shield you from an unjust divorce. If you seek professional guidance about an impending divorce, our team is ready to assist. Our divorce attorneys can collaborate with you from the case’s inception to its closure.

Engage with our team at Charlotte Christian Law for a comprehensive case review. Reach out online or via text or phone at (256) 445-9206 to promptly schedule a session and discover ways to make your current situation brighter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Have to Submit Evidence of Fault to File a Divorce?

Before presenting your case to a local circuit court, you must establish grounds for a divorce. These grounds can encompass:

  • Adultery
  • Pregnancy by another man
  • Spousal abandonment
  • Spousal imprisonment for at least two years with a sentence of seven years or more
  • Crimes against nature
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Incompatibility of temperament
  • Irretrievable breakdown of marriage
  • Domestic abuse

However, you can also opt for a no-fault divorce. In no-fault divorces, you aren’t obligated to present evidence of misconduct.

Who Do I File a Divorce Claim With?

To initiate a divorce, you should file a divorce claim with your local circuit court in Homewood. Following this, it’s essential to serve the defendant with a summons within thirty days of your initial filing.

The defendant’s response to your summons is at their discretion. Still, neglecting to serve them with the necessary paperwork can nullify your original complaint.

If I’ve Been Served Divorce Papers, How Can I Respond?

Responding to a divorce summons is a legal mandate. Your response can provide clarity on whether you concur or differ with the claims in your spouse’s complaint. Partnering with a divorce attorney can enable defendants to construct their answers effectively, presenting a comprehensive legal defense against portions of the original claim they oppose.

Not responding to a summons isn’t favorable for the defendant. In such scenarios, Alabama law permits the spouse who hasn’t received a response to seek an uncontested divorce. Consequently, the court’s discretion determines the allocation of property and custody between the concerned parties.

Will a Temporary Order Impact My Divorce Proceedings?

To shield one spouse from potential physical, financial, sexual, or emotional harm, a judge might issue temporary orders. Such orders could grant child custody and visitation rights to one spouse.

These temporary orders remain in force until a final judgment on the divorce is passed or until their renewal.

Which Alabama Court Addresses My Divorce?

In Alabama, circuit courts are solely responsible for handling divorce cases, encompassing all aspects of family law. Nonetheless, if you disagree with a divorce ruling, the Court of Civil Appeals is your next recourse. If matters escalate, the Alabama Supreme Court might adjudicate your divorce.

When Does My Divorce Go Into Effect?

An uncontested divorce culminates in a final judgment thirty days after filing your complaint and summons. In contrast, contested divorces might necessitate an extended timeframe for resolution.

Founder & CEO, Charlotte Christian

Schedule a Consultation with a Homewood Family Law and Divorce Attorney

Facing the complexities of divorce need not be a solitary endeavor. Our dedicated family law attorneys in Homewood, AL, are at your service, guiding you adeptly through the legal intricacies.

To book an appointment, reach out to us via text or phone. Charlotte Christian Law is committed to supporting you during your divorce and any subsequent legal challenges you might encounter.

2100 Southbridge Pkwy
Birmingham, AL 35209
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