Alabama divorce details
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Uncontested vs Contested Divorce in Alabama
Uncontested divorce is when both spouses are amicably willing to terminate their marriage. They are unwilling to spend time fighting over certain issues and would rather save money by not having to waste on supplementary expenses like hiring an attorney. An uncontested divorce even stipulates that a court hearing is not required if all the documents are ready and the residency requirements are met. In comparison, a contested divorce is much more complex. The couple will need to hire an attorney to act on their behalf and attend the mediation process. This, along with additional fees, make a contested divorce more expensive than an uncontested one. You will also need to pay more to complete your paperwork. Furthermore, the divorce can last up to a year or longer since the couple will have to come to an agreement regarding all the issues such as property division and child custody.
Since an uncontested divorce is more ideal, we will now discuss it more in-depth.
Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
Some of the benefits of an uncontested divorce include cheaper costs and a shorter process; it is the most convenient type of divorce. There are some factors to pay attention to when it comes to uncontested divorces.
Grounds for Uncontested Divorce
There are some of the grounds for an uncontested divorce in Alabama:
- Mental illness
- Cruel and violent behavior towards one of the spouses
- Excessive drinking until drunkenness
All these can be valid reasons for a divorce, but a couple willing to get an uncontested one will never real them in the courtroom. Uncontested divorce requires a special kit of documents which you must prepare in time without any mistakes if you want the Court to approve them. You can implement a DIY divorce during an uncontested procedure as it will save you a good chunk of money. You can also involve the help of online divorce, which we will explain in more detail later. An uncontested divorce, in general, is a way to omit any humiliating actions regarding your spouse.
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Alabama Residency Requirements to file for the divorce
There is only one residency requirement in Alabama that must be met in order to file for divorce:
- If one of the spouses is not an Alabama resident, the other spouse must have lived in Alabama for at least 6 months before filing with the Court
The residency status is highly important for the Alabama legislation, so the Superior Court will try its best to prevent county citizens from becoming non-residents. The situation may vary depending on the case, so it is better to get advice from a legal body regarding this.
How to file for an Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
1. Prepare the Petition for the Divorce
The first document that you should attach to all your divorce papers is the Petition for the Divorce. You should sign it and serve your spouse with the same copy of it. The divorce starts when you grant the Petition to the Superior Court.
2. Serve your spouse with all the essential documents
You should grant your spouse with all the documents to file with the Court. As a Petitioner, it is your duty to provide them with all the required documents.
3. Provide the court with extra information
You should provide the court will any information that would be valid and useful for the divorce process. This can include information such as debts and marital and individual property.
4. Sign the Marital Settlement Agreement
If your case is an uncontested one, you should sign this document for the future divorce proceeding. It stipulates that you and your spouse have finally come to an agreement and are ready to terminate the marriage.
5. Receive the Final Decree
In order to receive the Final Judgement, both spouses must be present at court. If one of the spouses is not present, the judge may make the decision to prolong the procedure. It will also no longer be considered to be uncontested. Remember that an uncontested divorce is only granted to couples who are both willing to terminate the marriage.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Alabama
This type of divorce is becoming increasingly popular in Alabama. The couple solves all their issues on their own without the help of a lawyer. They can also represent themselves in the courtroom if it is required later in the proceeding. Basically, all the responsibilities of the divorce process is put on the couple.
If you are the Petitioner, your only duty is to provide your spouse with the required documents. If you are the defendant, your sole responsibility is to respond to the petition on time. DIY Divorce is a relatively cheap and easy way to terminate your marriage. But keep in mind that you will be responsible for everything including what happens afterwards.
How much does an Uncontested Divorce cost in Alabama?
The average cost of an uncontested divorce in Alabama is $5,000. This usually involved all the expenses including the fee to hire an attorney. If you decide to prepare the requirement documents online, the total cost of divorce will drop significantly because you will only have to pay a flat $149 fee for your completed paperwork.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Alabama?
In Alabama, an uncontested divorce only takes anywhere from 1-6 months. It can even be conducted without a trial procedure, so the fewer issues the couple has, the faster the process can be. On the other hand, a contested divorce can take at least a year or more if the couple has many issues. Since there are usually several items to be contested, this divorce procedure can get quite problematic.
How to serve your spouse in Alabama
You must serve your spouse with the required paperwork either by yourself or on behalf of the Sheriff. Delivery through this method will cost you $100 - $150. You can also serve them via certified email or postal mail. Regardless of the delivery method you choose, you must serve your spouse within 31 days since the day you sign the petition.
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Required documents to Get a Divorce in Alabama
Below is the list of documents you may need for your divorce, but be highly attentive as your case may require additional forms:
- The Vital Statistics Form
- The Affidavit of Residency
- The Testimony of Plaintiff
- The Child Support Guideline Notice of Compliance
- The Child Support Guideline Form
- The Child Support Obligation Income Statement
- The Child Support Information Sheet
- Certificates of attendance of the Children Cope with Divorce seminar
- The Standing Pre-Trial Order
- The Civil Cover Sheet
- The Complaint about Divorce AL801D
- The Separation Agreement AL803D
- The Affidavit of Testimony in Support of Decree AL805D
- The Answer, Waiver, and Agreement for making testimony AL807D
- The Final Decree and Judgment of Divorce AL-C-57
- The Notice of Entry of Divorce AL810D
- The Instruction Sheet ALCS
- The Circuit & Family Court Request to Access Court Records
- The Answer to Complaint for Divorce
- The Appearance and Waiver
It is important to note that you cannot send the completed documents to the Superior Court via email. You can order them online, but must file them physically. It is also recommended that you receive consultation in advance before you file them with the court.
Online Divorce in Alabama
Online divorce refers to when you prepare all the required documents and forms online without the help of a lawyer or other legal entity. It really helps you save money and reduce the long waiting times. The steps of the online divorce process include:
- Realize the type of divorce you will have in court
- Order the essential documents and forms to file with the court
- Pay a reasonable price $149 for the already-prepared documents
- Wait roughly 1-2 days for the documents to be completed
- Download the forms in PDF-format and file them at the Superior Court.
The procedure is rather easy and quite simple. You do not have to wait weeks for your documents nor do you have to pay for every step of the process to an attorney. It really is a wise choice for those who appreciate a quick and easy process.
Rules for child support in Alabama
It is important to resolve child custody issues when it comes to divorce as both spouses should consider the well-being of their children. Both spouses have equal visitation rights as long as there are no restrictions given from the court.. The two types of physical custody are:
- Joint custody - both parents take care of the child
- Individual custody - only one parent takes care and supports the child financially
According to Alabama legislation, the total income of both parents is calculated by the court and the following percentages are implemented towards child support:
- 17% of total parental income for a child
- 25% of total parental income for two children
- 29% of total parental income for three children
- 31% of total parental income for four children
- In general, 35% of the total parental income for five or more children
These rates are based on different factors that the court examines in-depth of each spouse such as their health condition and financial state in order to make it as fair as possible. The main idea of child support is to provide the children with everything they need in spite of the divorce process. So both parents should try their best efforts to create a pleasant environment for the children during the post-divorce period.
Rules for spousal support in Alabama
Spousal support or alimony is an essential aspect to consider regarding the divorce procedure. In general, there are three types of alimony: permanent alimony, separation alimony, and rehabilitative alimony. In the State of Alabama, the court takes into consideration different factors in order to stipulate the final decision regarding alimony:
- Total income of both spouses
- The marriage term of the couple
- Where and with whom the children will be living with
- Tax rate of both spouses
- Health state of both spouses
- Future financial outlook of both spouses
These and several other items are highly important for the Superior Court to have in order to make the final decision.
Division of property in Alabama
In Alabama, the division of property must be fair. The Superior Court takes into account certain factors such as:
- Income of each spouse
- Time the couple had been together in the legal marriage
- Health state of both spouses
- Pension rate and health insurance
- Alimony of the spouses
- State of all the material property of both spouses
- Future financial outlook of both spouses
- Interest rate of each spouse in the common business if required
- Tax expenditures of each spouse
Since it is very important for the court to make the division of property as fair as possible, you should evaluate all the marital property with the help of an independent expert and notify the Superior Court of the total cost.
Divorce Mediation in Alabama
Divorce mediation is an attempt to negotiate the items of divorce with the help of a third party, referred to as the mediator. Each spouse will have a lawyer to help them with the divorce proceedings. You also have the option to represent your interests in the courtroom by yourself if you wish to do so.
The Alabama Family Code requires that the mediation process predominantly focus on the issues surrounding child support and child visitation. The Superior Court in Alabama will not grant you the final decree until you complete the mediation process, especially in the case of a contested divorce.
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How to divorce a missing spouse in Alabama
If your spouse is currently missing, you must first try your best to locate them. If you are unsuccessful, the court will allow you to publish a report in the newspaper for the missing spouse.
You must first fulfill all the following steps before requesting a newspaper publication:
- Search for your spouse in areas where they might be
- Contact relatives of the spouse and ask them where your spouse might be
- Search for your missing spouse’s phone number
- Request help from the police in searching for your spouse
If you fail to locate your spouse even with the help of the court, you may grant the Superior a special affidavit that requests to give you the right to get divorced without the presence of your missing spouse.
The Default Divorce in Alabama
If you are the Petitioner and want to divorce your spouse, you must serve them with all the required paperwork. The default case begins when it is assumed that your spouse is not going to answer your Petition. The Petition should include the grounds for the divorce along with a Legal Statement indicating that you meet the residency requirements. If everything is done right, the Court will grant you the final Divorce Decree even without the presence of your spouse.
Default vs No-Fault Divorce in Alabama
As we have already mentioned before, a No-Fault divorce is less expensive and time-consuming than any other types of marriage termination. If the divorce is No-Fault and you don’t have any children or minors, the waiting period of the whole divorce can take only 10 to 90 days. A default divorce, in comparison, demands a much longer waiting time, costs more, and involves many complicated issues to resolve. It will also definitely grant you the Final Decree, but the main point is that a No-Fault divorce is much more convenient.
How to get a Default Divorce Hearing in Alabama
To get a default divorce hearing in Alabama, you must first inform your spouse of it. You must then send them the requirement documents and wait at least 21 days for them to respond. In some cases, the Defendant will take the documents but refuse to answer them. If this happens, you should go to the Superior Court and claim that your spouse has rejected the court hearing. The Superior Court may ask the Sheriff to redeliver the documents to your spouse. If they still fail to respond, the Court will grant you the hearing without the spouse’s agreement.
Annulment of the marriage in Alabama
The annulment of a marriage has a bit of a different procedure in Alabama. There are a few grounds for the annulment of a marriage in Alabama:
- One of the spouses couldn’t recognize what a legal marriage was and didn’t realize the responsibilities that come with the marriage registration.
- One of the spouses was underaged at the time of marriage registration.
- The spouses are blood relatives.
- One of the spouses has another legal family.
- One of the spouses was forced to marry through deceptive means.
The annulment of a marriage stipulates that the marriage never even existed. Other issues such as child custody and common debts should be discussed in the Superior Court, according to county legislation.
Legal Separation in Alabama
Even in a legal separation, you will have to divide your assets and marital property. A couple can get legal separation for 1 year, and afterwards, it is recommended to officially file for a divorce. During the separation, the spouses cannot live with anybody else nor can they remarry until they officially terminate their current marriage.
The Same-Sex Divorce in Alabama
In Alabama, same-sex couples have the same rights to marriage and divorce like any other heterosexual couples; the divorce procedure is exactly the same. The residency requirements along with all the child custody and spousal support issues overlap so same-sex couples must follow standard procedures. Some counties in Alabama even count the years of cohabitation to the common terms of a legal marriage between same-sex couples.As a result, you must provide the court with all the necessary paperwork in advance.
Military Divorce in Alabama
To divorce a spouse currently in the military, you must know the approximate region of where your spouse is stationed in. You must then send the required documents to them and wait for a reply. Sometimes, there may be a delay in response due to your spouse being in active military service. If your spouse is unable to answer your petition, the divorce procedure may be postponed for a particular period of time. Furthermore, there can be an additional 60-day waiting period depending on the situation. Aside from this, the procedure is the same as any other regular divorce process.
How to divorce a spouse in a jail in Alabama
To divorce a spouse currently in jail, you must serve them with the required documents either through certified email or the post. You can also request the Sheriff to deliver the documents to your spouse. In terms of everything else, the process is the same as a regular divorce procedure.
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Divorce filing fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a filing fee be waived?
In Alabama, the fees for divorce may be waived for indigent petitioners.
You must fill out the Sheet on Waiver of the Superior Court Fees, sign the Request to Waive Court Fees under penalty, and submit them to the Alabama Superior Court. The Court will examine your income, debts, and expenditures and either approve or deny your request.
Make sure to prepare the required documents of your financial statements in advance and wait for the decision of the court.
How we can help
The divorce procedure can be difficult to endure by yourself. We can help you prepare the required documents online, saving you time and money. There are no long delays; it only takes 1-2 days for your paperwork to get completed. With our help, the Superior Court of Alabama will surely approve your documents and give you the desired Final Decree. If you have any questions, we are always available to answer them.
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