In Alabama, either spouse can request alimony. The court might award alimony while the divorce is pending, but will only consider alimony , or an 'allowance of support', if one spouse has need and the other has the ability to pay.
To determine whether spousal support is fair, and how long it should last, Alabama courts use similar factors that they do when they decide on property division, including but not limited to:. In addition, the court may consider awarding one spouse part of the other spouse's retirement benefits, if the couple was married for more than ten years. In any divorce, it is important for the court to carefully consider the best interests of any children. Alabama courts prefer to award both parents joint custody, with both parents taking an active role in raising the children.
In determining whether joint custody is appropriate, the courts consider a number of factors, including:. Under Alabama law, each parent also has an obligation to provide financial support for his or her minor children. About Us. Start the Process.
How Long Is the Divorce Process in Alabama?
Help Center. Also, neither spouse is allowed to remarry except to each other until 60 days after the divorce is finalized. The day waiting period begins to run on the day the papers are returned, also known as the "return date. With children: You must wait 60 days from the date of filing even if the separation requirement is already met.
Thirty days after the hearing, a Rule Nisi Divorce Judgment is entered, but the Final Judgment is not signed by the Judge until 90 days after that. If you have minor children together, you must wait days from the filing date. Then, the divorce is finalized 30 days after the Decree is signed by the judge.
The spouses should receive a copy of the Final Decree signed by the judge within 30 days after the First Appearance. The separation period can begin before the divorce is filed. For divorces, the hearing is usually scheduled within the same time frame. If you do not have minor children together, there is no mandatory waiting period. The divorce is finalized 90 days after the judge signs the Final Judgment at the hearing. Each one depends in large part on your relationship with your spouse and how well you can agree to work together to achieve a mutual goal. Once you have made the decision to divorce, determining what type of divorce you will pursue in Alabama is the most important thing you will decide because it will set the framework for everything else that comes after it.
To learn more about your options for getting divorced in Alabama, be sure to check out our in-depth guide on the Types of Divorce. No matter which kind of divorce you pursue in Alabama, the basic processes are all pretty much the same starting out. Gather important information. To give yourself the best chance at achieving the best possible outcome, you need to be organized and proactive when it comes to pulling together the information you will need. By doing so, you can ensure your rights are protected while also saving time, money and anxiety for the next steps in your divorce. Complete the initial paperwork.
After you decide what kind of divorce you will pursue, you will need to fill out several forms and submit them to start your Alabama divorce. An attorney can help you with this process, making sure that you are using the right forms and that they are filled out correctly. But if you are going to complete forms by yourself, which many people do, there are several possible forms you will need to submit.
You will need to make sure that you are also filling out your forms in the correct county. At a minimum, you will need to complete a Complaint for Divorce that will provide details on the issues you want settled such as dividing assets, child support and custody, alimony and other related items.
If children are part of the divorce, you will need to complete several additional forms as well.
If you are attempting to go through an uncontested divorce, you should also be prepared to submit a marital settlement agreement. If you want help completing paperwork, you may be able to access legal aid societies to assist you. Court personnel are not able to provide legal advice, but they will check to make sure your forms are completed properly. File your forms.
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In Alabama, you must file forms at the Circuit Court of the county where the defendant lives, or in the Circuit Court of the county where the parties lived when the separation occurred. When the defendant is a non-resident of Alabama, the plaintiff a resident of Alabama for six months prior to the filing of the divorce action.
This must be alleged in the complaint for divorce backed by proof. You must then serve your spouse with copies of the divorce papers to legally make them aware of the divorce petition.
In Alabama, there are certain requirements that must be met to ensure that divorce documents are delivered legally to a defendant in a divorce case. A plaintiff cannot deliver the papers personally, but anyone who is over 18 and who is not a party to the divorce can do so. This is usually done by a professional process server or a sheriff or constable. This server must serve papers within 30 days. If the person refuses to accept process, papers can be mailed to him or her and service will then be considered complete.
Many times, a plaintiff will request service by certified mail. When these options fail, service can be made by publication which entails running a legal notice in a local paper for a specified about of time in the county where the divorce complaint has been filed. You can complete much of the paperwork for an Alabama divorce online, but you will eventually need to file that paperwork in person at your county courthouse. There are several services and private attorneys who can work with you and expedite the paperwork through electronic means.
This is especially helpful in an uncontested divorce where most or all of the issues have been resolved. If you want to pursue an uncontested divorce and you and your spouse agree on all terms, you can complete the required paperwork, cite a no-fault ground, file it with the court and wait 30 days before a judge will issue your divorce decree. There is also a filing fee that varies from county to county. You will need to contact the court where you live to determine what that fee is. You will also need to pay a fee for service of the divorce papers on your spouse.
In some instances, it may be possible to ask a judge to waive the fees associated with filings in a divorce case. To do so, you will need to demonstrate that you do not have the means to pay and complete a waiver form.
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You will also need to pay some sort of a retainer up front to start the process. In some cases, a judge may require a couple to go through mediation as part of the divorce process. Fully contested divorces can run into the tens of thousands of dollars depending on how contentious the divorce is, what kind of assets are involved, and how much disagreement there is with child custody and support issues.
By law, Alabama requires that 30 days must elapse from the filing of a summons and complaint before a final judgment of divorce can be entered.