Ending a marriage is usually an emotional experience, regardless of whether your divorce is amicable or contested. If you have underage children or a narcissistic spouse, the complexity and emotional impact of your divorce increase exponentially.
At Leigh Daniel Family Law, our Madison County attorneys focus on making positive changes in your life when divorce is the right step to end an unhappy marriage. We work to mitigate the drama that occurs in many divorces. Our experienced and compassionate Madison County divorce lawyers work to make our clients feel confident and comfortable as they pursue divorce agreements that address their needs. In a contested divorce, we are ready to fight for your rights, particularly regarding the division of assets and your continued relationship with your children.
Attorney Leigh Daniel is focused on putting her decades of family law experience to work helping residents of Madison County and North Alabama obtain fair divorce agreements. Our skilled legal team prides itself on providing personalized attention, outstanding customer service, and strategic solutions to the issues dividing you and your spouse.
Leigh Daniel: Your Trusted Divorce Lawyer
As a Madison County divorce attorney for more than 20 years, Leigh Daniel understands the negativity, anger, and depression that can plague a person as they face a divorce. Leigh is here to help you create a better start to the next chapter of your life.
Leigh recognizes that divorce can create high-conflict situations, especially when dealing with a narcissistic spouse. As a trained and certified narcissistic abuse specialist, she knows how to recognize and diffuse impending escalations. She also has the contacts to get her Madison County clients local protective and therapeutic help when necessary.
In this trying time, let Leigh fill you with her confidence that you will succeed.
Understanding Alabama’s Divorce Process
Alabama is a no-fault divorce state. A couple that decides to divorce can do so by petitioning the court to declare the marriage dissolved. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses negotiate the end to their marriage and present a settlement agreement in court.
An Alabama divorce is contested if the spouses disagree on one or more key issues, such as:
Each party in a divorce is typically represented by an attorney who works to protect their client’s rights and ensure their client’s interests are fairly represented as they work toward a final divorce decree.
A divorce in Madison County, Alabama, requires:
- Filing a Complaint. A divorce is technically a lawsuit stating the plaintiff’s desire to end the marriage. The other spouse must be served with the complaint. As your attorneys, we can help you prepare and file a divorce complaint.
- Answering the Complaint: The spouse who is served divorce papers has 30 days to respond to the complaint. The defendant and their attorney may opt to file a counterclaim to address issues in the complaint.
- Engaging in Discovery. Each side must share the evidence they will present in court to support their claim or counterclaim.
- Negotiating a Settlement. It is preferable to present the court with a completed settlement agreement. Your attorneys from Leigh Daniel Family Law will strive to help you reach a fair settlement that protects your interests. However, if your spouse refuses to negotiate in good faith, we will be prepared to fight for you in court.
- Going to Court. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses and their attorneys negotiate an equitable divorce agreement for the judge to ratify. In a contested divorce, the judge hears from each side and decides on disputed issues such as child custody, division of assets, and alimony. If you must go to court without a settlement agreement, an attorney with Leigh Daniel Family Law will be prepared to present a strong case on your behalf.
- Issuing a Final Decree. Once the judge has heard from both sides, the judge will issue a legal order that settles the issues and declares your marriage dissolved.
Divorce Modification and Appeals
Contrary to its name, a final decree is not always the end of a divorce case. If necessary, our skilled divorce attorneys can help you request a modification of the judge’s ruling.
You may succeed in obtaining a modification of the original divorce order if you can persuade a Madison County judge that a material change has occurred in your life that makes the modification necessary. A court will not modify property division orders after a divorce has been settled for 30 days.
As for other issues, nothing in Alabama divorce law defines a material change, and nothing addresses how a judge should weigh the necessity of a change. Any judge will likely consider whether a change is fair to both sides and whether it is in the best interests of any children affected.
The reason for seeking a divorce decree modification is often financial, such as asking for a reduction in alimony or child support payments because of the loss of a job or reduction in income. In other cases, material changes in one parent’s life may make them unfit to have custody of the child, such as debilitating illness, criminal activity, or substance abuse.
Our attorneys can help you file a petition to modify a divorce order or respond to a modification petition. We can help you negotiate a change with your former spouse or build a strong case to present on your behalf in court.
Let Us Guide You Through a Madison County Divorce
The compassionate and highly skilled Madison County, AL, divorce lawyers at Leigh Daniel Family Law are committed to fighting for clients’ best interests. We recognize that this is a challenging time for you. Our team will be there to support you every step of the way.
Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation and let us explain why we are confident in a positive outcome for you.