How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost in Alabama?
Our divorce lawyers in Montgomery, Birmingham, or anywhere else across the State of Alabama currently charge $290 in attorney fees for an uncontested divorce with no minor children of the marriage and $390 with minor children. There is also a filing fee that is charged for filing an uncontested divorce and it is set by each particular county. These amounts vary from county to county, ranging from about $207 in Jefferson County to a little over $330 in Madison County.
These are generally the only two costs for an uncontested divorce with our law firm. However, there are some additional services that may be necessary in some cases. For example, you might need a quit claim deed to transfer ownership in real property from one spouse to another. We charge a low flat fee to prepare one of these for you, usually around $100 or so. Once you and your spouse execute it yourselves, it is generally recorded in the Probate Court of the county where the property is located. These Probate Courts can sometimes charge a filing fee as well when you go to file it.
You may also need to divide a retirement account. In order to distribute funds from a 401(k) or other such retirement account the institution will usually require a special order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). We charge a separate flat fee to prepare one of these for you, usually between $100 and $200.
In addition to this, some counties are more difficult than others. In Etowah and Madison County, they sometimes require a hearing in ALL or some uncontested divorces, even though both spouses are in agreement. We do charge a low flat fee to go to these court appearances, usually about $100 to $200. At the time of this blog post, those are the only two counties requiring court appearances without there being any issues with the agreement.
The reason we can charge such a low flat fee for our uncontested divorces is because we have made the process very efficient for our clients and for us. Due to all filings being done electronically now, we don’t have to physically go to the courthouse to file anything. Since uncontested divorces are all paperwork and no hearings are required in most cases, we are able to bundle the services since we know how much work will be done in most cases and can predict the number of hours to be worked. This is how we can charge a flat fee and not have to obtain a retainer and charge you by the hour.
What is an uncontested divorce? Well, generally there are two types of divorces – contested and uncontested. Contested divorces are situations where the spouses either do not agree on the need to get divorced or they disagree on the division of things like property, assets, alimony, and child custody. These divorces are more costly and can result in a hearing in court. Many divorce proceedings begin as contested, but before going to court the parties may be able to reach a settlement on their own. This could save money in attorney’s fees and court costs.
Uncontested divorces are filed when the spouses agree on the need to divorce, the division of their property, and, if applicable, child custody matters. In Alabama, uncontested divorces are sometimes called no fault divorces. Generally, uncontested divorces are less expensive and are processed through the courts quicker than contested divorces. These factors make filing an uncontested divorce a smoother and cheaper method.
In Alabama, all divorces are handled by the Circuit Courts in the county it is filed. Each county courthouse has lower courts called District Court and higher courts called Circuit Courts. The Circuit Courts are the state’s trial courts that have general jurisdiction over civil and criminal cases, including jurisdiction over divorces. If a divorce is contested, the hearings take place before a Circuit judge. Likewise, if a divorce is uncontested, the divorce is finalized by the Circuit Court. However, if the divorce is uncontested, the parties do not normally need to appear before the judge.
Whether you are filing an uncontested or contested divorce, it is imperative that you retain a local Alabama divorce lawyer to represent you. The reason for this is that out of State attorneys, and sometimes out of county ones, will not be familiar with the local requirements in your particular location. For this reason, to ensure that all local requirements are met in your uncontested divorce and that you obtain your divorce decree as quickly and easily as possible, it is best to use an actual Alabama attorney and not go with some online document preparation company.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!