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 New Hope, 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 New Hope 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 New Hope divorce lawyers bring compassion and kindness to your legal matters.

Discover how we can assist 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 are the trusted divorce lawyers for Alabama residents.

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, New Hope, 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 New Hope 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 New Hope 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 New Hope, 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 encounter various types of divorces. For instance, a couple that amicably progresses through the divorce proceedings experiences an uncontested divorce. Similarly, divorces arising from a mutual agreement can be termed no-fault divorces.

If one party does not respond to a divorce case summons, the plaintiff may benefit from a divorce by default. This form of divorce permits a judge to allocate an individual’s assets without any legally valid input from the defendant.

Lastly, there is the at-fault divorce. At-fault divorces involve one party trying to hold the other responsible for the marriage’s dissolution. These cases might experience more contention, necessitating legal representatives and a judge to mediate on the client’s behalf. This mediation can distribute property and duties effectively, if not amicably, among the parties.

Family Law Services We Offer to New Hope, AL Residents

When you share your concerns with our team of New Hope divorce attorneys, you unlock the full spectrum of family law services.

Additional Divorce Paperwork

After initiating your divorce, your local circuit court might ask you and a divorce lawyer in New Hope to present extra paperwork. The most common forms associated with Alabama divorce cases today include:

Protection Orders and Restraining Orders

Protection orders and temporary restraining orders (TROs) are distinct documents utilized to shield one person from another. However, their objectives are quite similar in Alabama’s legal proceedings. When presenting your initial complaint, you can request either a TRO or a protection order.

In cases of domestic abuse, a judge will sanction a protection order. Judges in Alabama can issue these orders either before or during a divorce proceeding.

A judge’s authority empowers them to grant the holder of the protection order:

  • Child custody
  • Ownership of a house or vehicle
  • Further financial aid

In divorce actions, a judge might issue a TRO offering relief similar to a protection order. This might be in instances of domestic violence, where the judge commands the perpetrator to avoid the victim to ensure their safety. Such orders are also granted to safeguard children involved in the divorce proceedings.

More Paperwork

Throughout the divorce proceedings, the court may request that you fill out a Vital Statistics Form, an Affidavit of Residency, and a document named Testimony of the Plaintiff.

If your divorce impacts children, you must present paperwork detailing their association with your complaint.

This paperwork can consist of:

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

These documents assist in outlining action plans concerning your children’s welfare during and post-divorce.

Divorce and Your Finances

Commencing your divorce proceedings, the local circuit court will need you to reveal details about your financial situation. This information aids the court in splitting your assets.

Property held by one spouse will revert to them after the divorce. Trial judges can then evaluate the residual property and divide it equitably. They might do this with your attorneys, you, and your spouse’s assistance.

Often, judges can scrutinize the financial details when deciding property allocation. For instance, a spouse with a higher income might receive less property than a jobless spouse to maintain financial balance.

Temporary Alimony Versus Permanent Alimony

Reviewing your case, a judge might decide to grant you alimony to assist with the economic challenges of divorce. The suggested alimony is based on your earnings, marriage duration, and faults in the marriage.

Two types of alimony are available: temporary and permanent. Temporary alimony is given to the needy party from the time of filing the divorce suit until the trial or court’s final decision.

In contrast, permanent alimony is incorporated into your final awards. You can request periodic or lump sum alimony, based on your preference for payment frequency. However, the amount and type of support you receive are entirely up to the trial judge. The alimony’s economic value is distinct from your other divided assets.

Child Custody and Support in an Alabama Divorce

The judge can determine custody and visitation issues for the minor children in a divorce action. However, these decisions are not made in isolation.

Custody decisions are particularly based on the judge’s insights into the:

  • Interests of the child
  • Welfare of the child
  • Fault in the divorce
  • Past evidence of custody and care

Likewise, a parent’s financial status and overall stability impact a judge’s decision on their capability to care for a child effectively. Children might even have the chance to voice their concerns regarding custody with New Hope, Alabama, divorce lawyers.

The parent not granted primary custody is termed the “non-custodial parent.” Depending on the judge’s understanding of the divorce, this parent may have restricted visitation rights. Divorcing parties can liaise with lawyers and the judge to set their visitation calendar and any associated conditions.

Awarding Custody to Others

Typically, courts in Alabama prefer to grant physical custody to a natural parent. However, the judge can assign custody to other individuals, such as the child’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, or unrelated persons.

Such decisions are based on the judge’s evaluation of the guardian’s capability to provide for the child and their overall welfare. In some cases, judges might consult with the child when considering entrusting them to a non-parental guardian.

What to Expect After Filing and Serving a Divorce Complaint

After you’ve submitted your complaint and your partner has submitted an answer, the speed at which your divorce progresses is up to the area courts. You can expect to attend Pendente Lite hearings to discuss the relief available to you throughout the preliminary and ongoing divorce proceedings.

These hearings allow you to discuss child support, spousal support, child custody, and the occupation of shared property. Once they’ve concluded, you can move into discovery. Discovery allows you to gather witness statements regarding your treatment throughout your marriage. You can also gather information regarding your assets from your spouse.

Alabama Code § 6-6-20 then requires you to undergo mandatory mediation with your partner. You can only forgo this mediation if you’ve provided evidence that you were the victim of spousal abuse.

Preparing for a Divorce Proceeding

Ideally, you and your partner will resolve all your concerns regarding your finances and property in mediation. But if you can’t, you and a skilled New Hope, AL, divorce attorney can progress to a final divorce trial. Throughout this process, you will work with an attorney to argue for the repossession of property or redistribution of custody rights.

You always have the option to appeal a decision that you don’t approve of after a trial concludes. However, The Alabama appellate court may deny your appeal request unless you can prove an error of law.

Preventing or Limiting the Fallout of a Divorce

Divorce proceedings can be exhausting for all parties involved. While there are some circumstances in which these proceedings can benefit you, there are steps you can take to mitigate the strain you’re under. When in doubt, make sure that you:

  1. Prioritize your confidence and personal interests
  2. Respect your children’s questions about your divorce and your ex-partner’s behavior
  3. Check in with your emotions and seek out professional care as needed
  4. Prepare to co-parent in a way that preserves your children’s mental health
  5. Avoid unhealthy rebounds
  6. Stay involved in your case’s legal proceedings
  7. Make plans for your life after your divorce

Lastly, be certain to only take legal advice from experienced professionals. While your friends and loved ones mean well, ill-gotten legal advice could drag out your divorce proceedings for much longer than you’d like. Instead, consult our office and gain insights on a smoother divorce process.

The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Team

Experience has shown us that family law matters can be highly emotional experiences, often rooted in loss. These challenging times can cloud judgment and make it hard to act rationally. That’s why you need a dedicated family law advocate who will support you and passionately represent you.

Our guiding principles of trust and excellence, along with our consistent track record of exceeding expectations, differentiate us from others. Our mission is to help families like yours regain stability, embark on a new life chapter, and look forward to a brighter future.

If you’re searching for the best divorce lawyers in New Hope, do your homework. Contact Divorce Lawyers practicing in Madison County to understand their firm’s approach, strategies, and how they intend to resolve your case. Reach out to us. We’re eager to share why we stand out.

Consult with Our Expert Team of New Hope Divorce Lawyers

Divorces aren’t always equitable. Our priority is to safeguard you from an unjust divorce. If you’re considering a divorce and need expert advice, our team in New Hope is here for you. New Hope divorce attorneys can assist you from the inception of your case to its resolution.

Discuss your legal pathways during a detailed review with our staff at Charlotte Christian Law. You can reach out to us online, or text or call at (256) 445-9206 to schedule a consultation. Let us guide you in making today better than the last.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

You must provide grounds for divorce before you can present your case to an area circuit court. Your grounds can include:

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

You also have the option to file a no-fault divorce. No-fault divorces do not require you to submit evidence of wrongdoing.

Who Do I File a Divorce Claim With?

If you want to pursue a divorce, you need to file a divorce claim with your local circuit court. You’ll also need to serve the defendant with a summons within thirty days of filing your initial complaint.

While it is up to your spouse to determine how to respond to your summons, failing to provide your spouse with this paperwork can render your initial complaint null and void.

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

You are required by law to respond to a divorce summons. You can use your answer to elaborate on why you agree or disagree with your spouse’s complaint. Defendants can work on their answers with a divorce attorney to better outline a legal defense against any parts of the original claim they disagree with.

Failure to answer a summons does not benefit the defendant. Instead, Alabama allows spouses who’ve not received word back from an ex-partner to pursue an uncontested divorce. This means it will be up to the court to decide how property and custody may be divided between the parties involved.

Will a Temporary Order Impact My Divorce Proceedings?

A judge can issue temporary orders to help protect one spouse from instances of physical, financial, sexual, or emotional abuse. These orders can award one spouse child custody and visitation rights.

Temporary orders hold until they are either renewed or until a judge issues a final judgment regarding a divorce.

Which Alabama Court Addresses My Divorce?

Divorce cases in Alabama are strictly handled by circuit courts. Circuit courts cover all family law concerns. However, you can appeal divorce rulings you disagree with to the Court of Civil Appeals. If your case goes on from there, your divorce may be addressed by the Alabama Supreme Court.

When Does My Divorce Go Into Effect?

If you file for an uncontested divorce, your final judgment will go into effect thirty days after you file your complaint and summons. Contested divorces, comparatively, may take longer to address.

Founder & CEO, Charlotte Christian

Schedule a Consultation with a New Hope Family Law and Divorce Attorney

You don’t have to navigate the complexities of a divorce on your own. Our family law lawyers in New Hope, AL are here to guide you through the legal maze.

Contact us via text or phone to schedule your appointment today. Charlotte Christian Law will stand beside you throughout your divorce and address any subsequent legal concerns.

203 Eastside Square
Suite 6
Huntsville, AL 35801
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