Divorce Process in Alabama

Divorce Process in Alabama

Divorce Process in Alabama


Guide to the Divorce Process in Alabama


Divorcing a spouse is a difficult decision, and in the state of Alabama, there are several routes to divorce.  If you have just begun to look for information about the divorce process in Alabama, you may want to understand the different ways that divorce can go, and how to minimize your own expenses when trying to seek a divorce.  This guide will explain the three basic types of divorce process in Alabama (contested, uncontested, and default) and how to begin your divorce filings.


Complaint and Answer


The divorce process in Alabama begins when either spouse files a “complaint” with the courthouse.  While this makes it sound like one spouse is complaining about misconduct, Alabama allows both fault and no-fault grounds for divorce.  If you are incompatible or your marriage has irretrievably broken down, a no-fault divorce will be the easiest solution—and also the one favored by the vast majority of divorcing couples in Alabama.


Fault-based grounds for the divorce process in Alabama include incapacity, adultery, imprisonment, addiction, insanity, and domestic abuse.  Even when one of these grounds applies, many couples choose to pursue a no-fault divorce instead, due to the greater difficulty in proving fault.


In addition to grounds, the complaint will ask the court for relief measures including the divorce itself, and usually including other requests, like a fair division of property, child support, child custody, or even an order of protection (usually granted if a spouse has a history of domestic violence).


After the complaint is served, the other spouse will have time to file an answer that addresses both the grounds and relief issues.


Contested Divorce


The most expensive and time-consuming form that the divorce process in Alabama can take is the contested divorce.  Contested divorces occur when the couple cannot agree on some aspect of the divorce and it takes the form of a civil trial.


Contested divorces include a financial investigation phase called discovery, and can include expenses for increased court costs, lawyer bills, and even expert witness fees.  Trials are often tense and unpleasant, and the divorce will not be finalized until the trial is complete if the couple cannot come to a settlement.


Uncontested Divorce


Uncontested divorces are much cheaper and simpler.  In this kind of divorce, the couple makes an agreement that is approved by the court.  Being able to agree on all aspects of the divorce is often not easy, so a mediator is sometimes appointed by the court to move the divorce process in Alabama toward a settlement.  If both people in a couple can agree on terms even before the judicial process is started, divorce can be completed simply and quickly.


Default Divorce


If one spouse refuses to answer the divorce complaint or cannot be found, you may need to consult a lawyer about beginning the divorce process in Alabama.  This can require a “divorce by default,” which requires you to properly serve notice in one of several ways.  After your spouse ignores notice, you will generally be granted the divorce terms that you requested in the complaint.




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