Online Divorce In Alabama
5 Common Grounds for Divorce In Alabama
In Alabama, there are several grounds on which a person can file for divorce. These grounds are classified as either fault or no fault. Here are the grounds for divorce in Alabama and some specific legal considerations for each:
1. Adultery (Code of Alabama § 30-2-1):
Adultery is one of the most common grounds for divorce in Alabama. To file for divorce on the grounds of adultery, the plaintiff (the person filing for divorce) must prove that the defendant (the other spouse) engaged in extramarital sexual intercourse. Evidence such as witness testimony, photographs, or text messages can be used to prove adultery.
2. Abandonment (Code of Alabama § 30-2-1):
Abandonment occurs when one spouse leaves the other without a justifiable cause or excuse. To file for divorce on the grounds of abandonment, the plaintiff must show that the defendant left with the intent to desert and has been gone for at least one year.
3. Imprisonment (Code of Alabama § 30-2-1):
If one spouse is convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment for two years or longer, the other spouse can file for divorce on the grounds of imprisonment.
4. Incompatibility (Code of Alabama § 30-2-1):
Incompatibility is a no-fault ground for divorce in Alabama. It means the spouses no longer get along and cannot reconcile their differences. The spouses must have lived separately for at least two years to file for divorce on the grounds of incompatibility.
5. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage (Code of Alabama § 30-2-1):
This is another no-fault ground for divorce in Alabama. It means that the marriage is irretrievably broken and cannot be saved. The spouses must have lived separately for at least six months to file for divorce on this ground.
It’s important to note that there may be other legal considerations for each ground for divorce. For example, some grounds may affect property division or spousal support.
Residency Requirements for Filing for Divorce:
To file for divorce in Alabama, specific residency requirements must be met. The following are the residency requirements for filing for divorce in Alabama:
Alabama Residency Requirement (Code of Alabama § 30-2-5):
The plaintiff or defendant must be a resident of Alabama for at least six months before filing for divorce in the state. The court may dismiss the case if neither spouse meets the residency requirement.
County Residency Requirement (Code of Alabama § 30-2-5):
The plaintiff must also be a county resident where the divorce is filed for at least three months before filing the complaint.
It’s important to note that residency requirements must be met before filing for divorce. If the requirements are not met, the court will not have jurisdiction over the case. Additionally, the length of the marriage does not affect the residency requirement.
Meeting the residency requirements is just the first step in filing for divorce in Alabama.
Steps Involved in Divorce Process in Alabama:
The online divorce process in Alabama can be broken down into several steps, each with its own requirements and considerations. Here is a detailed overview of the divorce process in Alabama:
Step 1 – Filing the Complaint:
The first step in filing for divorce in Alabama is to file a complaint in the appropriate court. The complaint should include information about the grounds for divorce, any requested relief (such as child custody or spousal support), and other relevant information. The complaint must be filed in the county where either spouse resides.
Step 2 – Serving the Complaint:
After filing the complaint, the plaintiff (the person who filed the complaint) must serve a copy of the complaint and a summons on the defendant (the other spouse). The summons notifies the defendant of the lawsuit and the time frame they must respond. Service of process must be carried out according to the court’s rules.
Step 3 – Responding to the Complaint:
The defendant has 30 days to file a written response after being served with the complaint. The answer should address each of the allegations made in the complaint and may include a counterclaim (a separate claim against the plaintiff).
Step 4 – Discovery:
During the discovery phase, both parties may request and exchange information about assets, debts, income, and other relevant information. This information may be used to negotiate a settlement or prepare for trial.
Step 5 – Negotiation or Mediation:
If both parties are willing, they may negotiate a settlement or participate in mediation to resolve any outstanding issues, such as property division, spousal support, or child custody. Mediation is often recommended as a cost-effective and efficient alternative to trial.
Step 6 – Pretrial Hearing:
If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the case will proceed to trial. Before trial, the court may hold a pretrial hearing to discuss any outstanding issues and establish a timeline for trial.
Step 7 – Trial:
During the trial, each party will present evidence and testimony to support their case. The judge will then decide on any outstanding issues, such as property division, spousal support, and child custody.
Step 8 – Final Judgment:
After the trial, the court will issue a final judgment of divorce, which will include the terms of the divorce (such as property division, spousal support, and child custody). The final judgment will also terminate the marriage.
In conclusion, the divorce process in Alabama can be lengthy and complex. Each step requires careful consideration and attention to detail.
Alabama Uncontested Divorce Forms(Free Download)
PS-08 – Divorce Complaint
This form initiates the divorce process and must be filed with the appropriate court to begin the legal proceedings.
The Divorce Complaint, or PS-08, must include specific information such as the names and addresses of both parties, the grounds for divorce, and any requests for relief, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
PS-09 – Plaintiff’s Testimony
This form is used when the plaintiff in a divorce case cannot appear in court to testify in person. Instead, the plaintiff can prepare a written statement, also known as an affidavit, which is submitted to the court in lieu of in-person testimony.
The Plaintiff’s Testimony, or PS-09, must be signed under oath and notarized by the plaintiff. The statement should include:
- Information about the grounds for divorce.
- Any requests for relief.
- Any other relevant information would have been presented in court if the plaintiff had testified in person.
It’s important to note that using PS-09 is subject to certain limitations and requirements. For example, the court may require the plaintiff to appear in person for cross-examination or reject the affidavit if it does not comply with the rules of evidence.
CS-47 – Child Support Information Sheet
This form provides the court with information about the financial circumstances of the parties involved in a child support case.
The CS-47 Child Support Information Sheet includes information such as each parent’s income, salary, wages, bonuses, and other sources of income. The form also provides information about any deductions from income, such as taxes and Social Security contributions.
In addition to income, the CS-47 form may also include information about expenses related to the child’s care, such as childcare expenses and health insurance premiums.
The purpose of the CS-47 form is to assist the court in determining the appropriate amount of child support to be paid. By providing detailed financial information, the court can make an informed decision that considers the child’s needs and the parties’ financial circumstances.
CS-03 – Answer and Waiver and Acceptance of Service
This form is used by the defendant in a child support case to respond to the allegations made in the Complaint for Child Support.
The CS-03 form includes several sections that must be completed by the defendant, including:
- Answer to Complaint – This section requires the defendant to respond to the allegations made in the Complaint for Child Support. The defendant can either admit or deny each allegation and provide any additional information relevant to the case.
- Waiver of Service – This section allows the defendant to waive their right to formal service of the Complaint for Child Support. By signing this section, the defendant acknowledges that they have received a copy of the Complaint and that they understand the nature of the case.
- Acceptance of Service – This section confirms that the defendant has received a copy of the Complaint and that they understand the implications of the case.
The purpose of the CS-03 form is to provide the defendant with an opportunity to respond to the allegations made in the Complaint for Child Support and acknowledge that they have received a copy. By completing the form, the defendant can avoid the need for formal service of the Complaint, which can save time and money.
CR -02 – Waiver of Counsel
This form is used by defendants who wish to waive their right to an attorney and represent themselves in a criminal case.
The CR2 form is typically used in misdemeanor cases where the defendant faces less than one year in jail. Suppose the defendant chooses to waive their right to an attorney. In that case, they must sign the CR2 form, which acknowledges that they understand their right to an attorney and are voluntarily choosing to represent themselves.
PS-21 – Answer to Divorce Complaint
This form is used by the defendant in a divorce case to respond to the allegations made in the Complaint for Divorce.
The PS-21 form includes several sections that must be completed by the defendant, including:
- General Denial – This section allows the defendant to deny each allegation made in the Complaint for Divorce.
- Counterclaim – This section allows the defendant to make claims against the plaintiff, such as requesting spousal support or custody of children.
- Waiver of Service – This section allows the defendant to waive their right to formal service of the Complaint for Divorce. By signing this section, the defendant acknowledges that they have received a copy of the Complaint and that they understand the nature of the case.
The purpose of the PS-21 form is to provide the defendant with an opportunity to respond to the allegations made in the Complaint for Divorce and to make their claims against the plaintiff, if necessary. By completing the form, the defendant can avoid a default judgment and ensure their interests are represented in the divorce proceedings.
It’s important to note that the PS-21 form must be completed accurately and truthfully. False or misleading information can result in legal consequences, including fines and other penalties. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that the PS-21 form is completed correctly and to understand your rights and obligations in a divorce case.
PS-10 – Request for Divorce Judgment by Default
The plaintiff uses this form in a divorce case when the defendant fails to respond to the Complaint for Divorce within the required time frame.
The PS-10 form includes several sections that must be completed by the plaintiff, including:
- Notice of Request for Divorce Judgment by Default – This section notifies the defendant that the plaintiff requests a default judgment and explains the consequences of failing to respond.
- Affidavit of Default – This section confirms that the defendant has failed to respond to the Complaint for Divorce within the required time frame and that the plaintiff is entitled to a default judgment.
- Request for Divorce Judgment by Default – This section requests that the court enter a default judgment in favor of the plaintiff and terminate the marriage.
The purpose of the PS-10 form is to provide a streamlined process for obtaining a divorce when the defendant fails to respond to the Complaint for Divorce. By completing the form, the plaintiff can request a default judgment and avoid needing a trial or other court proceedings.
It’s important to note that the PS-10 form must be completed accurately and truthfully. False or misleading information can result in legal consequences, including fines and other penalties. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that the PS-10 form is completed correctly and to understand your rights and obligations in a divorce case.
CS-23 – Withholding Order Payment of Child/Spousal Support
This form is used to enforce an order for child or spousal support by requiring the employer of the person who owes support to withhold a portion of their wages and send it directly to the person who is owed support.
The CS-23 form includes information such as the parties’ names, the amount of support owed, and the frequency of payments. The form also includes instructions for the employer regarding the amount to withhold and where to send the payments.
Once the withholding order is in effect, the employer is required by law to withhold the specified amount of support from the employee’s wages and send it directly to the Alabama Central Disbursement Division, which then disburses the payments to the person who is owed support.
The purpose of the CS-23 form is to ensure that child or spousal support payments are made promptly and consistently. Requiring the employer to withhold a portion of the employee’s wages reduces the likelihood of missed or late payments, which can provide financial stability for the person who is owed support.
It’s important to note that the CS-23 form must be completed accurately and complying with Alabama law. Employers who fail to comply with the withholding order may face legal consequences, including fines and other penalties. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure that the CS-23 form is completed correctly and to understand your rights and obligations in a child or spousal support case.
CS-04 – Order of Support
This form establishes the terms and conditions of child support or spousal support payments, including the amount of support, the frequency of payments, and the party responsible for making the payments.
The CS-04 form includes information such as the parties’ names, the amount of support to be paid, and the duration of the support order. The form may also include provisions for health insurance, childcare expenses, and other costs associated with supporting the child or spouse.
Once the Order of Support is issued, it becomes a legally binding document that outlines the obligations and responsibilities of both parties. Failure to comply with the terms of the order can result in legal consequences, including fines and other penalties.
The purpose of the CS-04 form is to ensure that child or spousal support payments are made in accordance with the law and that the needs of the child or spouse are met. Establishing clear terms and conditions for support reduces the likelihood of disputes or misunderstandings, which can provide financial stability for the person who is owed support.
Child Custody in Alabama
In Alabama, child custody is determined based on the child’s best interests, as outlined in Alabama Code § 30-3-150. The court will consider several factors when deciding about custody, including:
- The age, sex, and health of the child
- The emotional ties between the child and each parent
- Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs
- The child’s preference, if the child is mature enough to express a preference
- Any history of domestic violence or substance abuse by either parent
- Any other factors the court deems relevant to the child’s best interests
There are two types of custody in Alabama:
- Physical Custody: Physical custody refers to where the child will live daily. If a parent has physical custody, the child will live primarily with that parent and spend time with the other, according to a visitation schedule.
- Legal Custody: Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions about the child’s life, such as decisions about education, medical care, and religious upbringing. If a parent has legal custody, they have the right to make these decisions on behalf of the child.
In Alabama, parents can either agree on a custody arrangement or the court can determine if the parents cannot reach an agreement. If the court decides, it will consider the child’s best interests and may award joint custody or sole custody to one parent based on the circumstances of the case.
It’s worth noting that Alabama Code § 30-3-152 states that there is a preference for joint custody in Alabama and that joint custody should be awarded unless it is not in the child’s best interests. However, the court may award sole custody if it determines that joint custody is inappropriate based on the case’s specific circumstances.
Overall, child custody is a complex issue, and it’s important to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney to help ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.
Child Support in Alabama
In Alabama, both parents are legally obligated to support their children financially. Child support is typically determined based on both parent’s income and the child’s needs, as outlined in Alabama Code § 30-3-152.
Under Alabama law, the parent with primary physical custody of the child is entitled to child support from the non-custodial parent. The amount of child support is determined based on the income of both parents, as well as any expenses related to the child’s needs, such as healthcare, education, and child care.
Alabama uses an income shares model for calculating child support, which considers both parents’ income and the number of children involved. The Alabama Child Support Guidelines, set forth in Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration, provide a formula for calculating child support based on these factors.
The formula to calculate child support in Alabama considers both parents’ gross income, including all income sources such as wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, and rental income. It also finds other expenses related to the child’s needs, such as healthcare, childcare, and education.
The fundamental child support obligation is determined by referring to the child support guidelines table, which is based on both parents’ combined adjusted gross income and the number of children involved. Once the basic child support obligation is determined, it is then divided between the parents based on each parent’s percentage share of the total income.
If a parent fails to pay child support, they may face legal consequences, including wage garnishment, property liens, and even imprisonment. Additionally, suppose a parent experiences a significant change in their financial circumstances, such as a job loss or a change in income. In that case, they may be able to petition the court for a modification of child support.
Spousal Support(Alimony) in Alabama
In Alabama, spousal support (alimony) may be awarded to one spouse during and/or after a divorce. Spousal support is not automatically awarded in Alabama and is determined based on various factors.
Under Alabama law, the court will consider the following factors when determining whether spousal support should be awarded:
- The length of the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- The income and earning capacity of each spouse
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage
- The needs of each spouse
- Any other factor that the court deems relevant
Based on these factors, the court will determine whether spousal support is appropriate and, if so, the amount and duration of the support payments. The court has broad discretion in making these determinations, and no set formula must be followed.
It’s worth noting that there are several types of spousal support that may be awarded in Alabama, including temporary support during the divorce process, rehabilitative support to help a spouse become self-supporting, and permanent support for a spouse who is unable to support themselves due to age, illness, or disability.
It’s important to note that spousal support in Alabama is not intended to punish one spouse or reward the other but rather to ensure that each spouse can maintain a reasonable standard of living after the divorce.
Alabama laws governing spousal support are outlined in Alabama Code § 30-2-51. This statute sets forth the factors that the court should consider when determining spousal support, as well as the types of support that may be awarded.
Some Commonly Asked Question’s
How long does it take to get a divorce?
In Alabama, the length of time it takes to get a divorce can vary depending on many factors, such as the complexity of the case and whether or not there are any disputes between the parties. However, there is a mandatory waiting period of 30 days after filing for divorce before the court can grant a final divorce decree.
Suppose the divorce is uncontested, and the parties can reach an agreement on all issues, including property division, alimony, child custody, and child support. In that case, the divorce can often be finalized relatively quickly. Sometimes, an uncontested divorce can be completed in as little as a few weeks or months.
On the other hand, the divorce process can take much longer if there are disputes over any of these issues. The court may require mediation or a hearing to resolve these disputes in such cases. This can add several months or even years to the divorce process.
It’s worth noting that the length of time it takes to get a divorce in Alabama is also influenced by the backlog of cases in the court system, which can vary by county. Additionally, the complexity of the case and the number of issues to be resolved can also affect how long the process takes.
How Do I file for divorce without an attorney?
It is possible to file for divorce without an attorney. Here are the steps you can take to file for divorce in Alabama without an attorney:
- Determine whether you meet the residency requirements: To file for divorce in Alabama, you or your spouse must have been a state resident for at least six months before filing.
- Fill out the necessary forms: You must fill out a Complaint for Divorce form and a Summons form. These forms can be obtained from the circuit court clerk’s office in the county where you or your spouse lives.
- File the forms with the court: You must file the completed forms with the circuit court clerk’s office in the county where you or your spouse lives. There will be a filing fee that you will need to pay at this time.
- Serve the papers to your spouse: You must have your spouse served with a copy of the Complaint for Divorce and Summons by a process server or other authorized individual. Your spouse will have 30 days to respond to the papers.
- Attend court hearings: If any disputes or issues cannot be resolved through negotiation, you may need to attend court hearings to resolve them. You must present your case to the judge and provide evidence to support your position.
- Obtain a final judgment: Once all issues are resolved and any required waiting periods have passed, you can obtain a final divorce judgment from the court.
How much does it cost to file for divorce in Alabama?
The cost to file for divorce in Alabama can vary depending on the county where you are filing and the specific circumstances of your case. Generally, two main costs are associated with filing for divorce in Alabama: court and attorney fees.
Court Fees: The court fees for filing a divorce in Alabama typically range from $200 to $300 but may be higher depending on the county where you are filing. These fees cover the cost of filing and processing the necessary paperwork and any additional fees for court hearings or other legal proceedings.
Attorney Fees: The cost of hiring an attorney for a divorce in Alabama can vary widely depending on the case’s complexity, the attorney’s experience, and the attorney’s hourly rate. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for their services, while others charge an hourly rate. On average, attorney fees for a divorce in Alabama can range from $1,500 to $5,000 but may be higher for more complex cases.
It’s worth noting that additional costs may be associated with a divorce in Alabama, such as fees for mediation or other dispute resolution services. Additionally, if any disputes or issues cannot be resolved through negotiation, you may need to attend court hearings, which can also increase the cost of the divorce.
Overall, the cost of a divorce in Alabama can vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
What is the process for serving divorce papers to my spouse?
In Alabama, several methods exist for serving divorce papers to your spouse. Here are the most common methods:
- Personal Service: This involves physically delivering the divorce papers to your spouse, usually by a process server or a sheriff’s deputy. Personal service is the most reliable service method, as it ensures that your spouse receives the papers directly.
- Certified Mail: You can also serve the papers via certified mail with a return receipt requested. This method is less expensive than personal service but less reliable, as there is no guarantee that your spouse will receive the papers.
- Waiver of Service: If your spouse is willing to waive formal service, they can sign a form indicating that they received the divorce papers and do not require formal service. This method can save time and money, but it is only sometimes appropriate if your spouse is uncooperative or difficult to locate.
- Service by Publication: If you cannot locate your spouse, you can serve the papers by publishing a notice in a local newspaper for a certain period. This method is only appropriate if you have made a good-faith effort to locate your spouse but have been unable to.
It’s important to note that each service method has its own requirements and limitations, and it’s important to ensure that you follow the proper procedures for the method you choose