You must have a PDF reader on your computer to open this document. How do I get a divorce? What are "grounds for divorce"? What are "non-contested" divorces? What about child custody, visitation and child support issues?
Read this brochure for answers to these questions and much more. PS Form to be used to request to continue or postpone or "put off" a trial. In order to protect your rights, you may need to use papers others have given you.
This fact sheet tells you what papers you should save. Click here for our Application for Services. We try hard to make sure this website accurately explains your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For this sort of legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call toll-free You can also apply online.
How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help You
L aw H elp. Hide Visit. Text size: A A A. Search for resources and organizations in this language Advanced Search. Each one depends in large part on your relationship with your spouse and how well you can agree to work together to achieve a mutual goal. Once you have made the decision to divorce, determining what type of divorce you will pursue in Alabama is the most important thing you will decide because it will set the framework for everything else that comes after it. To learn more about your options for getting divorced in Alabama, be sure to check out our in-depth guide on the Types of Divorce.
No matter which kind of divorce you pursue in Alabama, the basic processes are all pretty much the same starting out.
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Gather important information. To give yourself the best chance at achieving the best possible outcome, you need to be organized and proactive when it comes to pulling together the information you will need. By doing so, you can ensure your rights are protected while also saving time, money and anxiety for the next steps in your divorce. Complete the initial paperwork.
After you decide what kind of divorce you will pursue, you will need to fill out several forms and submit them to start your Alabama divorce. An attorney can help you with this process, making sure that you are using the right forms and that they are filled out correctly.
6 Common Alabama Divorce Terms You Should Know
But if you are going to complete forms by yourself, which many people do, there are several possible forms you will need to submit. You will need to make sure that you are also filling out your forms in the correct county. At a minimum, you will need to complete a Complaint for Divorce that will provide details on the issues you want settled such as dividing assets, child support and custody, alimony and other related items.
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If children are part of the divorce, you will need to complete several additional forms as well. If you are attempting to go through an uncontested divorce, you should also be prepared to submit a marital settlement agreement.
If you want help completing paperwork, you may be able to access legal aid societies to assist you. Court personnel are not able to provide legal advice, but they will check to make sure your forms are completed properly. File your forms. In Alabama, you must file forms at the Circuit Court of the county where the defendant lives, or in the Circuit Court of the county where the parties lived when the separation occurred.
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When the defendant is a non-resident of Alabama, the plaintiff a resident of Alabama for six months prior to the filing of the divorce action. This must be alleged in the complaint for divorce backed by proof. You must then serve your spouse with copies of the divorce papers to legally make them aware of the divorce petition. In Alabama, there are certain requirements that must be met to ensure that divorce documents are delivered legally to a defendant in a divorce case.
A plaintiff cannot deliver the papers personally, but anyone who is over 18 and who is not a party to the divorce can do so. This is usually done by a professional process server or a sheriff or constable. This server must serve papers within 30 days. If the person refuses to accept process, papers can be mailed to him or her and service will then be considered complete. Many times, a plaintiff will request service by certified mail.
When these options fail, service can be made by publication which entails running a legal notice in a local paper for a specified about of time in the county where the divorce complaint has been filed. You can complete much of the paperwork for an Alabama divorce online, but you will eventually need to file that paperwork in person at your county courthouse. There are several services and private attorneys who can work with you and expedite the paperwork through electronic means. This is especially helpful in an uncontested divorce where most or all of the issues have been resolved.
If you want to pursue an uncontested divorce and you and your spouse agree on all terms, you can complete the required paperwork, cite a no-fault ground, file it with the court and wait 30 days before a judge will issue your divorce decree. There is also a filing fee that varies from county to county. You will need to contact the court where you live to determine what that fee is. You will also need to pay a fee for service of the divorce papers on your spouse. In some instances, it may be possible to ask a judge to waive the fees associated with filings in a divorce case.
To do so, you will need to demonstrate that you do not have the means to pay and complete a waiver form. You will also need to pay some sort of a retainer up front to start the process. In some cases, a judge may require a couple to go through mediation as part of the divorce process. Fully contested divorces can run into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on how contentious the divorce is, what kind of assets are involved, and how much disagreement there is with child custody and support issues. By law, Alabama requires that 30 days must elapse from the filing of a summons and complaint before a final judgment of divorce can be entered.
It should also be noted that neither party in a divorce can remarry, except to each other for a period of 60 days after the judgment of divorce is entered. If a divorce is contested, it could take several months to resolve issues before a final judgment is entered. Divorcing spouses in Alabama often retain a family law attorney to help them through the process.
In simple cases, an attorney may be equipped to handle all aspects of the divorce, including the finances. But if you have a degree of complexity to your financial situation, you might benefit from working with a divorce financial planning expert. A CDFA has specialized training in the financial and tax implications of divorce and can work with you to help you understand the pros and cons of your options. If you have financial concerns or are interested in learning more about what a CDFA does, be sure to check out our guide: What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst?
Bifurcation of marital status in Alabama means that both parties can legally divide their divorce into two stages. The first part satisfies the grounds for the divorce and the second part addresses the financial aspects of the divorce such as child custody, visitation, child support, alimony or other contentious issues that may have stalled or become major sticking points that are keeping the divorce from being finalized.
Alabama courts may be somewhat reluctant to grant bifurcation because it creates judicial inefficiency, meaning that a divorce will actually have to go through two hearings instead of one. Couples will also need to understand that they could rack up more legal bills by going through two hearings instead of one as well.
However, if the divorce process has started but a final decree has not been issued and the spouses have reconciled, it may be possible to have a petitioner file a motion with the court seeking to dismiss the complaint and ending the divorce action. Once a final decree has been issued, the divorce is final. If two people decide they want to reconcile at that point, they will have to get married again. It provides a details of the rights and responsibilities of each party, including a division of assets, child custody, visitation, alimony, child support and other similar issues.
It is a legally binding document, and if either party does not meet the requirements and obligations set forth in the decree, the other party can take legal action to correct any deficiencies. After a divorce decree has been granted, a divorce certificate will be filed with the Alabama Vital Records Office. A certificate has much less information than a decree, generally only stating that a divorce took place, along with the specifics of where and when it happened. By Alabama law, anyone can obtain a divorce certificate. Download Mail-In Application also available in Spanish.
Send as much information as possible about the divorce and the appropriate fee to: Alabama Vital Records P.