Huntsville Uncontested Divorce Attorney Leigh Daniel Can Help You Create a Better Start to the Next Chapter of Your Life
Huntsville Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
The word “divorce” conjures up stressful images of endless fights, sleepless nights, and uncertainty – not to mention courtroom scenes. But not all divorces in Alabama are hotly contested. Many “uncontested” divorces proceed between spouses who agree that it is time to end the marriage and who can talk through how major issues will be handled.
Even in an uncontested divorce, it’s best to work with a knowledgeable lawyer.
Your divorce attorney can help you:
- Make sure your legal rights are protected.
- Reach an equitable distribution of assets.
- Ensure that you protect the rights of your children and give them the best possible future.
- Help you make decisions based on what’s fair, rather than sentiment or emotions.
With more than 20 years’ experience handling all types of family law cases, attorney Leigh Daniel is committed to helping families in Huntsville and throughout Northern Alabama navigate their legal issues as efficiently and amicably as possible. Our compassionate Huntsville uncontested divorce attorneys work hard to help clients achieve the positive outcomes they need to move forward with their lives.
Contact us today to schedule a case consultation.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An “uncontested” divorce, generally, is one in which both spouses agree to proceed with the divorce. Although certain issues might be difficult to negotiate, none of them poses the kind of ultimatum that might land the couple in court.
In Alabama, the spouse who files for divorce must be a resident of the state for at least six months, if the other spouse is not an Alabama resident. Both spouses must agree to divorce in order for the divorce to be “uncontested.” The couple will need to work out specific issues related to the divorce, including:
- How the marital assets will be divided. These might include the house, the vehicles, furniture, retirement accounts, cash, and other valuables.
- Who will take on which of the marital debts. These might include a mortgage, shared credit cards, auto loans, or other debts.
- Whether one spouse will pay alimony to support the other, and if so, how much will be paid and for how long.
- If there are children younger than 18, where they will live, how often they will see each parent, and who will make the major decisions for the child.
- If child support will be paid, which parent will pay it and how much it will be.
Is an Uncontested Divorce the Same as a “No-fault” Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is typically filed on “no-fault” grounds. For a no-fault divorce, the spouses must agree that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage and that they can no longer live together. They must also live separately for more than one year.
Alabama also accepts a number of grounds for a “fault”-based divorce. Our knowledgeable Huntsville divorce attorneys can help you determine whether one of these grounds apply and, if so, whether a “fault” divorce makes more sense for you. Contact us today to discuss all of your options.
What If My Spouse and I Can’t Agree on a Particular Issue?
Just because a divorce is uncontested does not mean it is not stressful or that it does not raise points of contention. You and your spouse may agree completely on how to split your assets, for instance, but you may have very different ideas about who should pay the credit card bills. You may both feel strongly that the kids should stay in their current school, but disagree just as strongly on how you will share custody of them during the week.
Luckily, you have many options other than going to trial over the one issue that is giving you trouble in an otherwise smooth process. Some of the most common options for settling issues during an uncontested divorce include:
- Informal negotiation. The spouses work with their lawyers – or on their own – to come to an agreement. This approach is the least “structured” of the options. It requires a clear commitment to reaching a common ground.
- Mediation. This process enlists a qualified third-party mediator to help the spouses negotiate and reach common ground. The spouses and their lawyers work with the mediator, who can suggest options and provide guidance but cannot force the parties to accept any decision. Mediation is popular as a lower-cost alternative to trial, and some judges will require spouses to try mediation before trial.
- Arbitration. In an arbitration, the arbitrator hears both sides’ arguments, then makes a decision. Arbitration may be either “binding” or “non-binding.” A binding arbitration produces a result the parties must follow; a non-binding arbitration does not.
You may also choose to break up a complex issue into smaller parts and have separate negotiation or mediation sessions for each “part.” For instance, if you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody or child support payments, you may wish to discuss custody first, and come back to discuss child support at a later time. This helps you maintain clarity and improves your chances of coming to a workable decision.
Choosing the Right Attorney to Help you File for Uncontested Divorce in Huntsville, AL
If your divorce is uncontested, do you really need a lawyer? For most people, the answer is yes. Here’s why:
- Your lawyer can help you understand your rights. Alabama law provides guidelines for distribution of assets, alimony, and child support and custody, but it contains very few mandates. When you know what the law expects and what it requires, you can better protect your rights during an uncontested divorce.
- Your lawyer can help you protect your children. Children of divorcing couples also have certain protections under Alabama family law. When you know what options are available for your children, you can create an agreement that best supports their needs and growth.
- Your lawyer can recommend the best ways to help you reach your goals. What do you want out of this divorce? What seems reasonable? Your lawyer can help you focus your efforts on reaching those goals in a timely manner.
- Your lawyer can ensure that your divorce settlement meets the requirements of Alabama law. Every divorce settlement in Alabama must “fit” under the state’s legal guidelines. Your lawyer will make sure your settlement does fit within the law, saving you time and heartache.
- Your lawyer can help you enforce the terms of your divorce agreement. If you have difficulty getting your former spouse to follow the agreed-upon terms of alimony, support, visitation, or any other issue, your lawyer can help enforce those terms after your divorce is final. Your lawyer can also help you alter them if circumstances have changed and they no longer suit your needs or your children’s needs.
At Leigh Daniel Family Law, our compassionate Huntsville uncontested divorce attorneys listen to your needs, focus on your goals, and work toward a positive outcome. Our efficient legal team prides itself on answering client calls and emails within 24 hours (or less), and we encourage you to ask questions so you understand how the decisions you make will affect your future and your children.
To find out how our team can help you manage your uncontested divorce, contact us today.