Alabama Divorce & Separation
UPDATED: February 26, 2020
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While separations and divorces are common in every state, the laws and rules governing the process can differ significantly from one state to another. It’s important to understand the details for your state. What are the requirements for getting a divorce in Alabama? Are there any simplified procedures available in Alabama? Is mediation a requirement before you can get an Alabama divorce? Find the answers to your Alabama divorce questions here.
Alabama Legal Separation:
Legal separations are permitted in Alabama. Separations do not end the marital relationship like a divorce would, but they can resolve nearly every other issue arising out of a previous marriage. A separation decree will be granted if jurisdictional and residency requirements for a divorce are met, the marriage is irretrievably broken, and all issues regarding child custody and child support have been arranged for.
Grounds for Divorce/Fault – No Fault:
Alabama has both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce. For no-fault divorces, the parties need simply show an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” for grounds. A fault-based divorce, on the other hand, requires more specific grounds to be established, for instance: adultery, one party’s “intolerable behavior,” abandonment for more than six months, both parties agreeing to the dissolution of the marriage and living separate and apart for more than one year, or both parties having lived separate and apart for more than two years.
Residency/Where to File for Divorce:
If the defendant is a nonresident, the plaintiff must be a resident of Alabama for 6 months before filing. Complaints must usually be filed in the county where the defendant resides or, when one party is a nonresident, it must be filed in the county of the resident party or where the parties resided together before separating.
Availability of Simplified or Special Divorce Procedures:
There are no simplified or special divorce procedures available in Alabama, though minor time-saving and paper-saving measures do exist. For instance, waiver of service is allowed if the defendant and a credible witness both sign off on it. Similarly, uncontested divorces can be heard before a court clerk or by sworn statements (rather than having to appear before a judge).
Alabama Divorce/Child Support/Child Custody Lawyers:
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Divorce Mediation in Alabama:
The Alabama legislature passed in the 1990s the “Mandatory Mediation Prior to Trial” statute. As the name suggests, this law requires couples to engage in mandatory mediation (alternative dispute resolution) before litigating their case in court. The circumstances in which such mediation is mandatory include 1) whenever all parties agree to it, 2) upon motion by any party with the requesting party paying the costs of mediation, and 3) upon order by the trial court with costs allocated amongst the parties.
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