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ALABAMA DIVORCE BASICS AND OVERVIEW
This is a divorce reference guide to understanding divorce in Alabama. Each state has its own requirements, laws, and documentation, so we decided to gather it all in one location to make it easy and quick for you to find the information you need before, during and after your divorce.
Divorce in Alabama Made Easy (See Alabama Divorce Help Center)
- Time Frame: After filing the divorce papers a 30-day waiting period must transpire before court may issue a judgment of divorce.
- Where to File: Circuit Court. "In the Circuit Court for ___________ County." (See Alabama Court Addresses)
- Statute Statutes: Code of Alabama - Title 30.
- Name of Action: Judgment of Divorce.
- Name of Parties: The filing spouse is the plaintiff; the non-filing/other spouse is the defendant.
- No-Fault or Fault and No-Fault Only: Alabama offers both no-fault and fault divorce.
- Primary Documents Filed: the Complaint for Divorce and Decree of Divorce. (See AL Forms List With Explanations)
- Physical Separation Required: No.
- Separation Time to File: None.
- Legal Separation Permitted: None.
- Grounds: No-Fault: Incompatibility; Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and voluntary abandonment and the traditional fault grounds. (See Alabama Laws for Divorce)
- Residency requirement: Complaints for divorce may be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the defendant resides, or in the circuit court of the county in which the parties resided when the separation occurred, or if the defendant is a nonresident, then in the circuit court of the county in which the plaintiff resides.
- Mediation Required: Alabama. Code 6-6-20, which is called Mandatory Mediation Prior to Trial, provides for mandatory divorce mediation when the parties are in dispute and agree to the mediation sessions; one party requests the mediation sessions (and agrees to pay for it); the court orders the mediation sessions (if no party requests it). The court does not order mediation when domestic violence is present in the case.
- Counseling Required: There is no provision for mandatory counseling in Alabama.
- Parenting Classes Required: Alabama is considering a mandatory parenting class for divorcing parents. The mandatory class for couples with children younger than 16 years of age would be a four-hour class to increase parent's sensitivity to their children's needs during a divorce or separation proceeding.
- Filing fee: $208. (See AL Filing Fee Waiver Form)
- Where to File for Child Support: Alabama counties have Child Support Enforcement offices.
- Child Support Guidelines Model: Income Shares model.
- Property Division: Equitable distribution; however, Alabama is one of eight jurisdictions that includes separate property in the marital estate "providing the court finds a special showing of need by the non-titled spouse."
- Appreciation of Separate Property: The appreciation of separate property remains separate property.
- Attendance at Hearing: Usually, no. The Agreement for Taking Testimony form allows the court clerk to take the testimony of the Plaintiff in order to finalize the divorce without a hearing in front of a Judge.
- Fault Considered in Property Division: In dividing property, the courts may also consider marital misconduct.
- Waiting period after Divorce for Remarriage: 60 days.
- Ways to Serve Spouse: a process server, who is a sheriff or constable, or a designated person, usually makes Service of process in Alabama. Certified mail may also be used, and when necessary, service by publication.
- Learn More About Alabama Divorce.
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