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 Sylacauga, 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 Sylacauga 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 Sylacauga 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.

Get Divorce Help Today

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, Sylacauga, 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 Sylacauga 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 Sylacauga 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 Sylacauga, 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 find themselves involved in different kinds of divorces. For instance, a couple amicably navigating divorce proceedings experiences an uncontested divorce. Similarly, divorces resulting from mutual agreement can be termed no-fault divorces.

Should one party neglect to answer a divorce case summons, the plaintiff may obtain a divorce by default. This kind of divorce lets a judge partition a person’s assets without any legally valid input from the defendant.

Lastly, we have the at-fault divorce. At-fault divorces involve one party trying to blame the other for the dissolution of the marriage. These cases might involve more tension than others, often necessitating the involvement of legal professionals and a judge to mediate on the parties’ behalf. This mediation helps distribute assets and obligations, albeit possibly with friction.

Family Law Services We Offer to Sylacauga AL Residents

When you present your concerns to our team of Sylacauga divorce attorneys, you are availing the comprehensive spectrum of family law services.

Additional Divorce Paperwork

Upon filing for divorce in Alabama, your circuit court might ask you and a divorce lawyer in Sylacauga to furnish more documents. Common forms associated with current Alabama divorce cases encompass:

Protection Orders and Restraining Orders

Protection orders and temporary restraining orders (TROs) are distinct legal documents aiming to safeguard one individual from another. Their objectives align closely in Alabama legal scenarios. Alongside your initial complaint, you may petition for a TRO or a protection order.

In cases of domestic maltreatment, a judge will endorse a protection order. Alabama’s judiciary can enact protection orders before or amidst a plaintiff’s divorce.

A judge, backed by their authority, can confer the rights to the protection order’s possessor for:

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

In divorce cases, the judge might issue a TRO that provides the same relief as a protection order. This often arises in domestic violence cases, instructing the offender to maintain distance from the victim, ensuring their safety. This sort of order is also implemented to shield children involved in divorce processes.

Additional Documentation

As divorce proceedings progress, the court may request you to complete forms like the Vital Statistics Form, Affidavit of Residency, and Testimony of Plaintiff.

If your children will be influenced by your divorce, documentation detailing their relationship to your complaint is essential.

These records can consist of a:

  • 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 therapy

These papers help you design strategies concerning your children’s welfare during and post-divorce.

Divorce and Your Economic Situation

Commencing your divorce, the circuit court will demand data about your financial situation. This information will aid the court in splitting your assets.

A specific spouse’s property will revert to them post-divorce. Trial judges will then evaluate the remaining assets, striving for an equitable distribution. This division often involves the collaboration of judges, attorneys, and both spouses.

In many instances, a judge may utilize financial information to decide asset distribution. For instance, a higher-earning spouse might receive fewer assets than one without employment, promoting financial parity.

Temporary Alimony Versus Permanent Alimony

Assessing your case, a judge might decide to award alimony to assist with the fiscal challenges of divorce. This decision is influenced by factors like earning capacity, marriage duration, and any marital misconduct.

Two types of alimony exist: temporary and permanent. Temporary alimony supports the recipient from the time the divorce case starts until its conclusion.

Conversely, permanent alimony is integrated into the final settlement. Recipients can opt for periodic or lump-sum payments. The type and amount of alimony are entirely at the judge’s discretion, and alimony’s value is distinct from other shared assets.

Child Custody and Support in an Alabama Divorce

Custody and visitation matters concerning minors are at the judge’s discretion during a divorce. These decisions aren’t arbitrary.

Custody determinations are anchored in the judge’s comprehension of:

  • Child’s interests
  • Child’s welfare
  • Role of fault in the divorce
  • Prior evidence of custody and care

Furthermore, a parent’s financial status and overall stability influence their perceived capability to care for a child. Kids might even express their custody preferences to a divorce lawyer.

The parent not awarded primary custody is termed the “non-custodial parent.” Depending on the case, this parent might have restricted visitation rights. Divorcing parties can cooperate with attorneys and judges to finalize visitation details.

Awarding Custody to Others

In Alabama, courts primarily assign physical custody to a biological parent. Nonetheless, custody can be granted to others, like grandparents, aunts, uncles, or unrelated individuals.

Such decisions pivot on a judge’s evaluation of the guardian’s capability to care for the child and the child’s overall welfare. In some situations, children’s preferences might be considered when contemplating 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 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 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

Finally, be certain to only take legal advice from experienced professionals. While your friends and loved ones mean well, ill-gotten legal advice could draw out your divorce proceedings for much longer than you’d like. Instead, you can come to our office and learn more about the means through which you can undergo a relatively painless divorce.

The Benefits of Working With an Experienced Team

Experience has taught us that family law issues are often emotionally draining experiences born from loss. These experiences usually do not afford people the ability to think and act logically and without heavy emotion at the same time. That is why it is crucial to rely on a family law advocate who will care for you and passionately represent you during your time of need.

Our guiding principles of trust and excellence and our proven track record for exceeding expectations set us apart from our peers. It is what drives our vision of helping families like yours feel secure again, create a new life following a loss, and enjoy the bright future you earned and deserve.

If you are looking for the best divorce lawyers in Alabama, do your research. Call Divorce Lawyers who practice divorce in Jefferson County and find out how their firm operates, how your strategy will be developed, and how your case will be resolved if you work with their firm. Give us a call. We love to talk to you about what we believe makes us different.

Discuss Your Concerns With Our Team of Sylacauga Divorce Lawyers

Divorces are not always 50/50, and they are not always fair. We protect you from an unfair divorce. If you need to discuss your upcoming divorce with a professional, look no further than our team. Sylacauga divorce attorneys can work with you from the start of your case to its conclusion.

You can discuss your legal options during a case review with our staff at Charlotte Christian Law. Contact us online or via text or call at (256) 445-9206 to quickly set up an appointment to learn how to make your day today better than it was yesterday.

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 take 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 Sylacauga Family Law and Divorce Attorney

You don’t have to face the difficulties of divorce alone. Our family law lawyers in Sylacauga, AL are here to help you navigate the legal process.

Contact us via text or phone to schedule your appointment today. Charlotte Christian Law will stand with you throughout your divorce and with any legal concerns that come after.

203 Eastside Square
Suite 6
Huntsville, AL 35801
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