Alabama Uncontested Divorce Facts

The benefits of having a highly-skilled Alabama lawyer on your side in an uncontested divorce cannot be overstated. While some choose to try and save a few bucks by paying an online non-licensed non-Attorney document preparation service we often get calls from those who regret it later and end up spending more $$$ in the long run.

If you and your spouse can come to an agreement alone and do not have any complex property settlement, child custody / support issues, etc. our online uncontested divorce program is very affordable and as licensed Alabama Attorneys we are here to ensure that the divorce goes through the Court system fully until a Final Order of Divorce is issued by the Judge.

However some clients need to turn to skilled lawyers after they have tried to negotiate their divorce without a law firm on their side. In the long run, many must call on a lawyer after they realize their situation was far more legally complex than they imagined. Start with an attorney on your side and you will have peace of mind and so much more.

There is no simple approach to divorce. Every situation is unique and every family challenge includes specific details. Attorney John C. Baker and support staff offer comprehensive divorce representation and family law legal guidance. If you are searching for a legal team that can represent you no matter what situation you face and will guarantee to keep your costs as low as possible, call us 7 days a week 8am till 8pm at 205-453-6060 for a free consultation.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse are in full agreement about child custody and property division spousal support and other details of your divorce, uncontested divorce may be the right fit for you. This approach is, most often, low in cost compared to contested divorce. Though having an attorney is not mandatory to end a marriage in Alabama, having the right lawyer on your side will save you time, money and effort. A skilled and experienced attorney will

  • Assist you in reviewing your bank statements, property details and other financial records so that support or alimony is fair
  • Help keep your costs low by explaining all of your legal options and helping you pursue the one that helps you achieve your goals in the most efficient way possible
  • Keep negotiations calm and professional while pursuing an uncontested divorce settlement that suits your best interests
  • Guarantee that you meet all legal deadlines to file .
  • Offer legal counsel and advice from your initial consultation to the final resolution of your case
  • Prepare legal documents accurately so that you do not make errors that jeopardize your goals or force you to pay additional court fees to re-submit corrected forms

Q. What is an uncontested divorce?
A. An “uncontested” divorce, as apposed to a “contested” divorce, is where both spouses agree with respect to all issues concerning the dissolution of their marriage. That is, both spouses must want the divorce and agree on issues relating to the grounds for the divorce, custody of the children, visitation rights, child support, spousal maintenance as well as an equitable division of the marital property. If all issues can be resolved before the divorce is filed, neither party must appear in court and the divorce can be filed as “uncontested” from inception.

Q. What are the “grounds” for divorce?
A. The ground’s for a no fault divorce will be stated in the complaint as one or both of: Upon application of either the husband or wife, when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together and/or Upon application of either party, when the court finds there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family. Alabama law provides many grounds for divorce. However, since the adoption of the concept of “no-fault” divorce by the Alabama Legislature in the 1970’s, the grounds of incompatibility and irretrievable breakdown of the marriage are the most common bases for divorce in the state. Other grounds for divorce in Alabama include: Physical and incurable incapacity to enter into marriage, physical violence, adultery, voluntary abandonment for one year, imprisonment, conviction of a crime after marriage, habitual user of drugs, and confinement to a mental hospital. A Complaint for Divorce must allege one or more grounds, which the person filing for divorce (the “Plaintiff”) must prove by testimony, either orally or in writing.

Q. Does “No-Fault” mean that my spouse does not need to sign the divorce papers?
A. In short, No. “No-fault” is simply a newly enacted grounds for divorce that does not assign blame to either party or require a prolonged waiting period for commencing an action for divorce. Divorces based upon grounds of “no-fault” require the same process and procedures as the traditionally recognized grounds for divorce. In order to proceed with any action for divorce your spouse must be properly served or accept service of the Summons by signing an Affidavit of Defendant entitled an Answer and Waiver.

Q. I recently moved to Alabama, am I eligible for an Alabama divorce?
A. Maybe , The residency requirements to obtain an Alabama divorce is where one or both parties will have been a resident of Alabama for at least six (6) months at the time of initial filing of the divorce documents. Bottom line as long as one party has lived in Alabama at least six ( 6 ) months you qualify , we are often hired by out of state spouses. & as long as the in-state spouse is cooperative we can get the divorce done.

Q. Will I need to visit your office for a consultation or conference?
A. Not unless you prefer to meet in person. Office visits are not required at any time. Once we have been hired you will have an opportunity to consult with our matrimonial attorney by phone or, if you prefer, you may schedule an in-person meeting at our offices. We are always available for questions and inquiries by phone or email. All document communication can be handled by mail, email or fax. We handle divorces for parties statewide.

Q. How long will my divorce take?
A. Your divorce will be eligible for a Final Decree after the Court has held the documents for thirty (30)  days for a ‘cooling off’ period of the parties; after that time has passed the Court will move forward to enter a Final Decree. The typical time frame for the Court to Issue a Final Order Of Divorce is 45 days + depending on the Court’s present caseload.

Q. Must I use a process server or the sheriff for service of the divorce papers?
A. No; Not in the case of an uncontested action;we will deliver all documents electronically, by mail or pick-up in our office for signing with instructions. Remember this is a process for couples who can voluntarily work together to avoid the expense , hassle & length of time that a “contested” divorce would take in Court. Bottom line : It is up to you to get the documents to your spouse for signing ( though we can send them via mail, etc. directly to them first if you prefer ) and they must sign in the presence of a Notary Public and return documents properly Notarized.

Q. What if my spouse refuses to sign the papers after he or she is served?
A. Then you will have to sue the spouse in Circuit Court for a divorce. This is a “contested” divorce , where you file the complaint with the court and send the sheriff out to serve papers. This can be an expensive and lengthy process. Speak with your spouse BEFORE you hire us to make sure they will cooperate and sign the documents  to save both of you time, money and additional stress.

Q. Will I need to make any court appearances?
NO; As long as your divorce remains uncontested, you will NOT have to make any court appearances. We will handle the entire process via mail, phone, email or fax.

Q. What happens if an uncontested divorce becomes contested?
A. This is always a possibility. After your spouse is served with the divorce papers, he or she may decide to contest the divorce. Often times, a divorce may be contested where the defendant spouse does not agree with the specified grounds for divorce, the relief sought, demands for support, or the terms of property division or child custody arrangements. If this happens, then your uncontested divorce becomes contested and it will cost you (and your spouse) significantly more in legal fees (and time, including court appearances).

Q. How can I avoid the possibility of my divorce becoming contested?
A. The best way for you to avoid a contested divorce is by arriving at a consensus with your spouse regarding such matters as spousal support (if desired), or the terms of property division or child custody arrangements. If you and your spouse are on civilized terms, you should attempt to involve your spouse in the divorce process as early as possible. This will ensure that he or she is not surprised by your actions and therefore less likely to contest the divorce. Talk First! Whether by mail /email / phone or having a common friend or other 3rd party intervene.

What about Child Support?
Alabama has established a series of statewide child support guidelines. The guidelines determine a child support amount based on the combined gross income of both parents. Other factors may be taken into account such as extracurricular activities for the children, sports activities, band, cheer leading, gymnastics. We encourage the client to review all of their spending habits for 3-6 months to get an accurate picture of the actual needs of their child. In a divorce, parents often agree to the support amount listed in the guidelines. If they cannot agree, a judge will often order support. For your divorce with children to go forward as un-contested with children BOTH parties must submit Notarized Affidavits (sworn statement) of income ( we will provide ) so that the $ dollar amount of monthly support may be figured. Your spouse and you can agree on a figure, but if it differs from the amount required by the state guidelines we will have to provide to the Court as to the reasonableness of the deviation. When child support checks don’t come regularly, parents also may take legal action for enforcement of child support orders. Courts sometimes order income withholding or, if that fails, find a parent in contempt of a court order. If you have concerns related to child support enforcement, I can help with forceful legal action. In Alabama, there are child support guidelines that the court uses to determine child support obligations. The guidelines assume that both parents should continue sharing the financial obligations of the children despite the divorce. If the combined gross monthly income of you and your spouse exceeds $10,000, the guidelines do not apply; the appropriate amount of child support is then within the discretion of the judge based on various factors including the expenses and needs of the children. Existing court orders of child custody, visitation and child support can be modified at a later date. Generally, modification of child support is allowed when there has been a substantial change in circumstances — an increase or decrease in income of at least 10 percent. It is important for parents to recognize this so that they can take advantage of the benefits the law provides.

What about Alimony?
A. Alimony is available to either spouse in Alabama. The court looks at certain circumstances before making an award of alimony such as the length of the marriage, the ages of the parties, the fault of either party, the educational background, work experience, physical health, and relative financial circumstances of the parties. There is no set formula for calculating the amount of alimony to be awarded. It can be an agreed-upon amount, a sum set by the court or it may be waived by the parties altogether. It is also possible for the issue of alimony to be reserved for a future order of the court. However, if alimony is waived, and there is no reservation of alimony in the divorce decree, the court cannot award it at a later date. It is somewhat rare for the parties to agree & commit to terms on alimony that would allow a divorce to proceed as un-contested.

Q. We would like to obtain joint custody. How do we do that?
A. Joint custody is appropriate in certain instances, and can gain the approval of the court when agreed upon by the parties. An order for joint custody means that the parties will continue to share the legal rights and responsibilities attendant to being a parent, just as they do during the course of an ongoing marriage. The parties will agree upon a plan for sharing the child’s time; such as establishing a primary residence for the child, and working out a feasible time-sharing arrangement. The judges prefer that the parties work out the details so that it is clear which parent has primary responsibility for certain aspects of the child’s care. Each joint custody arrangement is subject to the court’s approval. No matter what the custodial arrangement, each parent has equal access to school and medical records.However , ONE parent still must be the primary physical custodial & legal parent.

Q. How do I know that it’s time for a divorce?
A. The answer to this question is definitely different for everyone. First of all, if you are in an emotionally or physically unhealthy situation, you need to get out. If you are unhappy or the marriage doesn’t seem to be working, you can try to work on things with your partner. The thing is, your partner has to be willing to work with you, and the both of you have to be committed. Or, you can choose to get a divorce. If your partner doesn’t want to work things out, or nothing is working, you may want a divorce. In any situation, it depends on your safety, health and happiness. Please know that living seperately 7 failing to divorce as we find many people do for many , many years can have un-expected and dire consequences for one or both of the spouses.

How long do I have to wait after my divorce is Final to re-marry another individual ?
The state of Alabama mandates a waiting period after a divorce before you may marry again inside the state. Alabama generally lacks jurisdiction, however, to enforce marriage laws outside its boundaries. The state’s waiting period is 60 days, barring a court order to the contrary. There are, however, exceptional circumstances where the waiting period may be eliminated or extended. IF either you or your spouse files an appeal of the divorce decree during the 60-day waiting period, you may not remarry while the appeal is pending. If the divorce decree is upheld by the court, and after the 60 days have passed, both of you are free to remarry.

Except to Each Other

The law states that neither you nor your former spouse may remarry during this prohibited period, except to each other. Because marriage laws are generally governed by the individual states, you may remarry in a different or neighboring state, based on that state’s marriage laws, OR in a foreign country within 60 days of receiving your Alabama divorce decree. A marriage between Alabama residents entered into outside the state will be recognized in Alabama unless it can be proven that the parties intentionally married in another state to violate a remarriage prohibition issued in Alabama.

What about a Visitation schedule for the children with the non-primary custodial parent?

STANDARD:

 
Visitation for Children Under 2 Years

The Husband/Wife shall have the right of visitation with any children of the parties who are under the age of two (2) years as follows:

  • On the first and third Sunday of each month from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.;
  • On the birthday of the said children from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.;
  • On each Thanksgiving Day from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.;
  • On each Christmas Day from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.;
  • On Mother’s/Father’s Day from 12:30 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.;
  • On the birthday of the Husband/Wife from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.;
  • At such other times as agreed upon between the parties.
  • Each parent shall keep the other informed on a current basis as to the primary residence address and telephone number where the children reside or visit.

Visitation for Children Over Two Years
 
The Husband/Wife shall have the following visitation rights:

  • The first and third full weekends of each month from 6:00 p.m. on Friday until 6:00 p.m. the following Sunday; (The first weekend of a month beginning on the first Friday of each month.)
  • Each Christmas Day from 3:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on the following New Year’s Day;
  • Two, two-week periods during the summer (to be taken one week after school is out and one week before school starts with at least two weeks in between), to be selected by the Husband/Wife but upon written notice to Husband/Wife at least thirty (30) days in advance of such visitation;
  • During the odd years, A.E.A. (Spring Break) vacation from 9:00 a.m. Saturday until the following Saturday at 6:00 p.m.;
  • During the even years, Thanksgiving vacation from 6:00 p.m. Wednesday until Sunday at 6:00 p.m.;
  • Every other birthday of the children from 6:00 p.m. on said date until 8:00 a.m. of the following day, beginning with the next birthday;
  • Every Father’s/Mother’s Day from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. of the same day;
  • On the birthday of the Husband/Wife from 3:00 p.m. on said date until 8:00 p.m. of the same day;
  • At such other times as agreed upon between the parties.
  • Each parent shall keep the other informed on a current basis as to the primary residence address and telephone number where the children reside or visit.

We will not encourage disagreements and arguments simply to drive up our attorneys’ fees. In fact, we will do all we can to keep your costs as low as possible while still achieving all that you seek. With a skilled attorney on your side, an uncontested divorce can be a low cost and relatively stress-free experience. In fact if you have a very simple uncontested Alabama divorce without alot of property division, etc we offer VERY inexpensive rates online right here on this website ! IF your divorce is even slighly more complicated requriring additional work an additional fee may be charged. Call for a FREE teleconference with any questions !

Uncontested versus Contested Divorce in Alabama

If spouses cannot agree on key aspects of their divorce agreement, a contested divorce will most likely be necessary. Even if a cordial relationship is held between the two, if they cannot reach an agreement on custody, asset distribution, visitation and other factors, a divorce court can be called upon to make the final decisions. This road can be costly but our legal team knows how to fight for your rights and keep your costs manageable. Even if you and your former partner are engaged in a volatile divorce battle, we know how to be aggressive while keeping the necessary communication channels open.

Uncontested divorce, on the other hand, requires attorneys with many of the same skills required in a contested divorce: deep experience to rely upon, an extreme attention to detail, an ability to present arguments in persuasive ways and, particularly in uncontested divorce, an ability to help the two parties reach an agreement rather than combat each other.