The decision to file for a divorce is rarely an easy one to make, regardless of the circumstances that have led you to this point. To protect yourself and the things that matter the most, be sure to hire an experienced Alabama divorce attorney to represent you. Your lawyer will provide knowledgeable and compassionate support, while also strongly advocating for your rights and interests.
You need an attorney who will not only assist you with the legal legwork, but will also help you understand the many decisions you’ll have to make through this challenging process. Attorney Leigh Daniel has helped people across Alabama successfully navigate the complicated divorce process. She has a well-earned reputation as an assertive advocate both at the negotiating table and in the courtroom.
If you are considering divorce in Alabama, turn to Leigh Daniel Family Law for help. Call us, chat with us live, or fill out a contact form to schedule your confidential consultation today.
Grounds for Divorce in Alabama
In Alabama, the laws allow for a “no fault” divorce, or a divorce that can be obtained on the sole ground of incompatibility. Alabama courts will also grant a divorce based on fault.
Grounds for an “at-fault” divorce in Alabama include:
- Drug or alcohol addiction
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Confinement to mental institution
Types of Divorce in Alabama
There are two ways to obtain a divorce in Alabama. A mutually agreed upon split is called a non-contested divorce, where both spouses are of the same mind regarding the divorce and its terms. An Alabama divorce attorney can prepare a written document that reflects the spouses’ agreement and clearly states the rights and duties of each.
If one spouse does not agree to the separation, however, the divorce is considered to be contested. For a contested divorce in Alabama, the spouses must proceed to trial before a judge.
At a trial, divorce lawyers will present witness testimony, along with documents as evidence. The judge will then decide whether to grant a divorce, and if so, how assets will be divided, as well as other issues, such as child custody and child support payments.
Alabama Divorce Laws and Requirements
There is a residency requirement for persons seeking a divorce in Alabama. To seek a divorce in Alabama, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for six months before the initial divorce paperwork, or complaint, is filed in court.
In an uncontested divorce, a complaint may be filed in any county the parties choose. In a contested divorce proceeding, however, the complaint must be filed in the county where the non-filing spouse lives. The only exception to this rule is that if the non-filing spouse does not live in Alabama, the complaint can be filed in the county where the filing spouse lives.
The grounds for divorce must be stated in the complaint, a copy of which must be provided by the filing spouse to the non-filing spouse. The non-filing spouse must then file an answer to the Complaint.
A divorce in Alabama cannot be granted until at least 30 days after the complaint is filed. Your Alabama divorce lawyer can help you determine the proper jurisdiction and timing for your divorce case.
Additional Issues Involved in an Alabama Divorce
Getting divorced often involves complicated issues such as child custody, child support payments, division of marital property, and spousal support. Unless the spouses come to an agreement on these issues, the judge must make these decisions at the divorce trial.
When determining who will retain custody of any children, Alabama divorce law applies the “best interest of the child” standard. In Alabama, there are many factors that will be considered in determining what is in a child’s best interest, including:
- The age and sex of each child
- The needs of each individual child
- The home environment offered by each spouse
- The capacity of each parent to care for the children
- The interpersonal relationships between the children and each parent
Additionally, the judge will decide how much the non-custodial parent must pay in child support to the custodial parent. It is important to note that a judge must follow guidelines set by the Alabama Supreme Court when deciding child support issues. A divorce lawyer in Alabama can explain these guidelines to you in detail.
Generally, child support payments are based on the spouses’ incomes and the number of children born during the marriage. Adjustments are then made for childcare expenses and health insurance premiums. The judge’s decision will be based on the needs of the children and a parent’s ability to pay. In most cases, child support payments are made until the child becomes an adult.
Divorce also involves a division of the marital assets. This process involves dividing property owned by the married couple so that each receives their fair share. This may include any real estate the couple owned, as well as cash accounts, stocks, vehicles and other personal property. A divorce lawyer familiar with Alabama divorce laws can help you identify marital assets that must be distributed in a divorce.
Alabama divorce laws encourage spouses to come to their own agreement as to the division of marital assets. If no agreement can be made, the court will decide how assets are to be divided. There may be tax consequences for property awarded to a spouse in a divorce. The court will take into consideration the needs of the parties and whether any alimony or child support payments have been ordered.
Alimony is the name for court-ordered monetary payments to be made by one spouse to the other after a divorce in order to provide financial support to whichever spouse earns a lower income. Alimony may be awarded to either spouse, under the theory that a former spouse should be able to enjoy the same quality of life they had while they were married. Alimony awarded in Alabama divorce proceedings may be temporary or permanent.
Temporary alimony is awarded to the spouse throughout the life of the divorce proceedings. These payments will cease once the court enters an order for divorce. Permanent alimony is awarded by the court after the trial and will be either a lump sum or payments to be made over time. In some cases, permanent alimony payments can be modified by the court.
A divorce lawyer in Alabama can also help determine if you are entitled to alimony from your spouse.
How the Alabama Divorce Lawyer at Leigh Daniel Family Law Can Help
Navigating any divorce can be challenging. It is strongly recommended that you hire a lawyer with the right experience to represent you. While the state of Alabama has forms for people who wish to file for divorce on their own, they are often difficult to understand and cannot possibly address every issue that might arise during a divorce proceeding. All too often, divorcing spouses wind up in court to address problems that could not be resolved through the self-filing forms.
The best way to handle a divorce in Alabama is to contact an Alabama divorce lawyer, and Leigh Daniel Family Law is here to help. We understand that divorce is not easy. Let us explain your legal rights and answer any questions you may have. Contact us now.