Traditionally, it’s assumed a divorce is a terrible event that can destroy a person. And this all takes place when the divorce is contested, and the spouses separate their lives in the courtroom. Divorce litigation can hit hard on the financial situation and the nervous system. And the more controversial issues a couple has, the longer their divorce will take place. But fortunately, not all spouses have to go through this. There is an uncontested divorce or, as it is also called, an amicable dissolution, where the husband and wife will not have to take part in litigation because they can independently deal with all disputes concerning their termination. On average, an uncontested divorce in Alabama takes from 2 to 3 months, while there is an opportunity to save a substantial amount of money and get a divorce without a lawyer.
Summary of an Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
An uncontested divorce essentially means that spouses can deal with all the controversial issues of their termination outside the court. The judge does not need to study all the disputed issues of the couple; instead, he simply grants a divorce based on an agreement the spouses have entered into. An uncontested divorce occurs when a husband and wife can separate their lives on their own, in a peaceful way.
To be able to file for an amicable dissolution, the husband and wife must resolve any disagreements that are related to the marriage, namely:
- Divide common property, assets, and debts.
- To share custody of common minor children, decide with whom the child will live, draw up visitation agreement and a parenting plan.
- Agree on financial support. In this case, the spouses simply agree that they will provide financial support for their child until he or she reaches the age of majority. Parents cannot agree on the amount of support; it is calculated based on the Alabama Child Support Guideline.
- Resolve the issue of alimony for the spouse in need before or after the judge signs the divorce decree.
- Resolve any other controversial issues that may arise in the process of divorce.
The result of the negotiations of the spouses should be the Settlement Agreement. This is a document in which the couple describes how they intend to reach a compromise on all the controversial issues of their divorce.
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Since a husband and wife can settle all of their internal conflicts, an uncontested divorce takes less time. In Alabama, an amicable dissolution can be granted in 6-10 weeks after all necessary documents have been filed with a court. If we talk about the contested divorce, then it can last even for years.
Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
Spouses have the right to file a petition for an uncontested divorce, provided that all of the following conditions are met:
- Both spouses must want to dissolve the marriage and can reach a compromise in all areas of their termination.
- One of the spouses lives in Alabama at least six months prior to filing a lawsuit.
- None of the spouses accuses each other that the marital life is destroyed, and the grounds for divorce are no-fault. No-fault reasons for divorce in Alabama are incompatibility or irreconcilable differences.
How to Get an Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
A divorce begins when the Plaintiff submits Complaint for Divorce and a Summons to a district court. If the papers are filled correctly, the county clerk will accept them and register the case. After that, the claimant must provide the respondent with copies of the documents filed with the court within 30 days. This is also called serving a spouse. You can send papers either by mail or through any person who has reached 19 years. The defendant must sign Acceptance and Waiver of Service and hand it back to Claimant.
After the defendant received all the papers, the claimant must sue the rest of the documents: Vital Statistics Form, Affidavit of Residency, Testimony of Plaintiff and forms that connected with minor children (if there are any in the family).
If all documents have been prepared correctly, the court will set the date of the first hearing, usually at least 30 days from the date the lawsuit was filed. But it may be longer depending on the workload of the court. Ordinarily, the first hearing could be the last one, because the judge grants a divorce of the first meeting. Besides, the Settlement Agreement must be filed before the date of the hearing.
Divorce Forms in Alabama
Below is a list of the basic forms that are accepted by the courts of Alabama. However, this does not mean that you will need to fill out all of them. Each couple who wants to get a divorce submits those forms that correspond to the circumstances of their termination. Besides, some counties may require additional papers. All forms are available in the office of the county clerk or can be downloaded from the Alabama courts site.
- Complaint for Divorce, PS-08
- Affidavit of Residency
- Testimony of Plaintiff
- Vital Statistics Form
- Acceptance and Waiver of Service
- Child Support Information Sheet
- Child Support Obligation Income Statement/Affidavit
- Child Support Guideline Form
- Child Support Guideline Notice of Compliance
- Order of Child Support
- Instructions for Employer
Uncontested Divorce Without a Lawyer
The main task of lawyers is to protect the interests of their clients in the courtroom. By and large, an uncontested divorce does not require attorney services, since the spouses do not need to participate in court proceedings. Of course, a lawyer can still prepare all the necessary papers for a divorce, but spouses can do it on their own. Especially if consider that many services help fill out forms, such as online divorce.
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These are the services where spouses provide information about themselves and their marriage. Based on the received data, the system selects the required forms and fills them out, after which sends finished papers to the client along with instructions on the steps that need to be taken further to get a divorce. Online divorce is quite popular, as well as cheaper than the services of lawyers.