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 Pelham, Alabama divorce lawyesr 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 Pelham 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 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, Pelham, 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 Pelham 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 Pelham 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 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 find themselves involved in different kinds of divorces. For example, a couple who peacefully goes through the divorce proceedings enjoys an uncontested divorce. Similarly, divorces resulting from an amicable plan can be called no-fault divorces.

Should one party fail to respond to a divorce case summons, the plaintiff may benefit from a divorce by default. This kind of divorce allows a judge to divide a person’s property with no legally admissible input from the defendant.

Finally, there is at-fault divorce. At-fault divorces see one party attempt to hold the other accountable for the failure of a marriage. These cases may see more conflict than the others, requiring legal representatives and a judge to intervene on the client’s behalf. This intervention can divide property and responsibilities successfully – if not happily – between the parties.

Family Law Services We Offer to Pelham, AL Residents

When you bring your concerns to our team of Pelham divorce attorneys, you gain access to the full package of family law services.

Additional Divorce Paperwork

After you’ve filed for divorce, your circuit court may require you and a divorce lawyer in Pelham to submit additional paperwork. The forms most frequently tied to today’s Alabama divorce cases include:

Protection Orders and Restraining Orders

Protection orders and temporary restraining orders (TROs) are two separate documents used to protect one person from another. That said, their purposes are relatively similar in Alabama court cases. When submitting your initial complaint, you can file a petition for either a TRO or a protection order.

A judge will sign a protection order in a case of domestic abuse. Alabama judges can issue protection orders prior to or in the middle of a plaintiff’s divorce.

A judge’s authority gives them the right to grant the protection order’s holder:

  • Child custody
  • Possession of a home or vehicle
  • Additional financial relief

In divorce actions, the judge may issue a TRO granting relief identical to a protection order. This may again be a case of domestic violence where the judge orders the abuser to keep clear of the victim to protect that party and keep him or her safe. This type of order is also granted to protect the children involved.

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

As you embark on your divorce in Alabama, your circuit court will require you to reveal details about your financial health. The court will utilize this data to determine the fair division of assets between both parties.

Any property distinctly owned by a spouse will revert to that person post-divorce. The trial judges can then evaluate the remaining assets and distribute them equitably. This decision can be made with the input of both parties, their attorneys, and the judge.

Typically, the judge will scrutinize financial data to determine the distribution of property. For instance, a spouse with a higher income might receive fewer assets than a spouse without employment to ensure economic balance.

Temporary Alimony Versus Permanent Alimony

A judge, upon reviewing your case, might grant alimony to assist you with financial demands during and after the divorce. Alimony determinations consider your earning potential, marriage duration, and any marital misconduct. This is a great reason to work with an alimony attorney.

There are two alimony types: temporary and permanent. Temporary alimony is provided to the needy party from the divorce filing until the final judgment. On the other hand, permanent alimony is part of the concluding awards. Recipients can choose between periodic or lump-sum alimony, depending on their preferred payment frequency. Alimony amounts and terms remain at the trial judge’s discretion, and it’s viewed separately from other divided assets.

Child Custody and Support in an Alabama Divorce

In divorce proceedings, judges decide on the custody and visitation rights of the minor children. These decisions are not made arbitrarily.

Factors influencing custody decisions include:

  • The child’s best interests
  • The child’s welfare
  • Any marital misconduct
  • Previous custody and caregiving evidence

A parent’s financial stability and overall well-being play a role in determining their suitability for child custody. Children might also voice their custody preferences to Pelham, Alabama divorce attorneys if they wish.

The parent not granted primary custody is termed the “non-custodial parent.” This parent’s visitation rights might be restricted, depending on the judge’s divorce interpretation. Parties can collaborate with lawyers and judges to finalize the visitation schedule and its terms.

Awarding Custody to Others

While Alabama courts typically prefer natural parents for custody, they can award it to other individuals, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, or unrelated individuals. Decisions are based on a judge’s evaluation of the potential guardian’s capability and the child’s overall well-being. In some instances, children’s input might be considered when thinking of non-parental guardianship.

What to Expect After Filing and Serving a Divorce Complaint

Once your complaint and your partner’s response are submitted, the pace of your divorce lies in the hands of the local courts. You might attend Pendente Lite hearings to deliberate on immediate reliefs during the divorce proceedings.

During these hearings, issues like child support, spousal support, child custody, and occupation of joint properties are discussed. Following this, the discovery phase begins, allowing you to collect testimonies about your marital experiences and asset details from your spouse.

Alabama Code § 6-6-20 mandates mediation between parties unless evidence of spousal abuse is provided.

Preparing for a Divorce Proceeding

Ideally, mediation will resolve financial and property disputes. However, if disagreements persist, you and your adept divorce lawyer can proceed to a final divorce trial. You can also challenge a verdict post-trial if you believe there’s been a legal oversight.

Navigating divorce can be daunting. There are ways to alleviate the emotional toll, such as:

  1. Prioritizing your well-being and interests
  2. Addressing your children’s inquiries compassionately
  3. Seeking emotional support when required
  4. Co-parenting in a manner that safeguards your children’s mental health
  5. Avoiding impulsive decisions post-divorce
  6. Staying involved in your case’s legalities
  7. Envisioning and preparing for post-divorce life

Always seek advice from qualified professionals. Misguided legal counsel can prolong your divorce proceedings. To understand the process better and ensure a smoother experience, seek professional guidance.

Our extensive experience reveals that family law matters are emotionally taxing, often stemming from loss. Amidst such emotional turmoil, rational thinking can be challenging. That’s where our expertise comes into play.

Our commitment to trust, excellence, and our track record set us apart. We strive to assist families like yours in rebuilding life after a setback.

If you’re scouting for proficient divorce lawyers in Pelham, conduct thorough research. Reach out to Divorce Lawyers practicing in Madison County to understand their approach, strategy development, and resolution methods. We invite you to converse with us and discover our unique offerings.

Engage with Our Team of Pelham Divorce Lawyers

Divorces aren’t invariably 50/50 or fair. We shield you from an unjust divorce. For insightful discussions about your imminent divorce, connect with our team. Pelham divorce lawyers are equipped to guide you from the case’s initiation to its conclusion.

Reach out to Charlotte Christian Law to explore your legal alternatives. Connect with us online, through a call or text at (256) 445-9206, and let us help you pave the way to a brighter future.

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 Pelham. 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 Meeting with a Pelham Family Law and Divorce Attorney

Facing the complexities of divorce need not be a solitary endeavor. Our dedicated family law attorneys in Pelham, 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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