The Harris Firm: Your Alabama Family Law and Divorce Attorneys
Our Alabama divorce lawyers are currently charging $320 in attorney fees for uncontested divorces without minor children and $420 for uncontested divorces with minor children of the marriage.
All divorce proceedings in Alabama begin with the filing of a document called a Complaint. The Complaint is a legal document that basically is asking the particular Court for specific requests, such as to issue an Order granting him or her a divorce and to award certain things to them concerning the division of marital property, custody, and other marital issues.
For example, the Complaint might request that the filing party be awarded child support, custody of their children, alimony, and certain marital assets. If no agreement has been reached at the time of filing, then the party filing the Complaint (called the Plaintiff) is just requesting these things in the divorce proceeding. This document is filed no matter what type of divorce you are seeking, but in an uncontested divorce the Complaint is not requesting marital property and custody awards, since those things are included in the Settlement Agreement that is filed with it.
An uncontested divorce is where both parties reach an agreement prior to filing for divorce and the agreement is filed at the same time as the Complaint. All of the required documents are also filed initially so that the divorce can proceed to be signed by the Judge without the need for a hearing, since both parties are in agreement at the time of filing.
If no agreement is filed with the Complaint, then it is a contested divorce proceeding and the first consideration is how to properly serve the other party (called the Defendant). If the Defendant can be located, then the Plaintiff just serves the Complaint on the Defendant by mail or in person. This delivery of the Complaint to the Defendant is called “service of process” and once the Defendant is properly “served” with the Complaint, then they have thirty (30) days to respond by filing a document called an Answer.
Once this Answer is filed then a Court date is usually set and both parties begin the process of a contested divorce. This process includes having hearings and eventually, if both parties cannot reach an agreement, it will go to a trial. At a divorce trial, evidence will be presented to the Judge, witnesses take the stand and testify, and the Judge will decide how to divide your marital assets, custody issues, and all other contested marital issues that the spouses could not reach an agreement on.
This contested divorce can be very expensive, with the attorney fees typically being thousands of dollars (not counting your filing fee that every court charges when a divorce is filed). So both parties are always encouraged to reach an agreement, if possible, in order to save money and time (it can sometimes take quite a long time to get a trial in a contested divorce case).
If you have any questions about the divorce process then give us a call today for a consultation over the phone or in one of our offices.