In Alabama, all divorce proceedings being when one spouse is served with a copy of the complaint filed against them by their spouse. This does not mean that both parties cannot cooperate before beginning the process of ending their marriage to help ensure a cheap divorce in Alabama.
Every divorce begins when a petition is filed with the appropriate district family court. At this time, a fee will be charged that will vary from county to county but will almost certainly not exceed $400. If a couple can work together before or after this step is taken to draw up a written agreement detailing how they plan to handle every aspect of their separation, this may be the only fee paid to obtain a cheap divorce in Alabama.
When a person is served with a copy of the complaint against them, they can agree to waive their right to file a response disputing the petition in part or whole. However, if the spouse chooses to file an official response, they will be charged a separate fee by the court. When trying to figure out how to get a cheap divorce in Alabama, it may be necessary for two spouses to budget the total expense separately.
For some couples who agree on the necessity of creating a separation agreement before appearing in court, it may be worth the expense to retain the services of a lawyer specializing in divorce mediation. This attorney will provide neutral legal advice and attempt to bridge any differences between two parties regarding:
• Alimony payments
• Child support payments
• Division of shared property
• Payment of joint debts
• Child custody arrangements
• Visitation rights
Achieving a mutually acceptable agreement in as many of these areas as possible will help avoid the uncertainty of a judge’s verdict that is displeasing to both parties.
At any point leading up to trial, one or both spouses may decide it is necessary to retain the private services of an attorney with specialized experience in divorce cases. This will make it nearly impossible to budget for a cheap divorce in Alabama and is not an expense to be undertaken lightly. During your first meeting with any lawyer in Alabama, be sure to obtain a detailed, written estimate of what you can expect to pay for their services and confirm that it is within your financial resources.
A judge has final discretion in modifying child support payments. Though state guidelines are used to set a standard monthly payment, the court may choose to modify the amount if it is shown to be somehow unfair or potentially ruinous to the person making the payments.
If alimony payments are granted, judges will take into consideration:
• The total assets belonging to both parties
• Any marital misconduct such as adultery
• In marriages that have lasted 10 years or longer, judges may take pensions or other retirement plans into consideration