The cheapest (and quickest) way to get a divorce in Alabama is to file an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce, also called no-fault divorce, is where both spouses reach an agreement on who gets what regarding issues like assets and custody before anything is ever filed with the courts. This agreement is then submitted at the beginning of the divorce, right when the case is filed, in order to show that there are no unresolved or contested issues. Reaching an agreement before obtaining a divorce attorney is the best way to get a quick and easy divorce, since all that the lawyer has to do is prepare and file the signed paperwork.
The spouse that files for divorce is called the Plaintiff. The responding spouse is called the Defendant. Grounds for a no fault divorce in Alabama include: the marriage is irretrievably broken down, spousal incompatibility, and voluntary separation for more than a year. You or your spouse must have resided in the state of Alabama for at least six months. You can file a Complaint for Divorce in the Circuit Court of: 1) the county where the Defendant resides; 2) in the county where the Plaintiff resides if the Defendant is not a resident of Alabama; or 3) in the county where the spouses resided at the time of separation.
For uncontested divorces without minor children, the Plaintiff will need to submit a Complaint for Divorce and Summons to the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. After this Complaint for Divorce is filed, a thirty day “cooling off” period has to take place before a judge may issue a final divorce decree. In an uncontested divorce, testimony may be taken via affidavits, depositions, or by the court clerk. In the no fault divorce, a Complaint for Divorce is usually filed alongside a Marital Settlement agreement which lays out the “who gets what” terms of the divorce for the court. After the Plaintiff files the Complaint, the Defendant replies with the Answer to Compliant for Divorce, which in an uncontested divorce is just filed and signed with the rest of the documents we prepare. Testimony is then signed and filed as well.
In cases involving minor children where child support is necessary, the Plaintiff must also file several forms related to child support. The Child Support Information Sheet provides information about child support in Alabama and also both parties must file an income affidavit. Other forms may be required related to child support and custody. The Plaintiff also must file a Standing Pre-Trial Order, which prohibits the spouses from taking a minor out of state and from harassing each other while waiting for the divorce decree.
While divorces are governed by state law, each county may have a slightly different way of going about the process or slightly different language to use in the filings. Using an online divorce document preparation program can be tempting, but they usually will not have county specific language and it can cause your divorce to be dismissed by the judge assigned to your case. Our Birmingham divorce lawyers are familiar with all of these local rules in Jefferson County and in most counties throughout the State of Alabama. We will work to ensure that all documents are filed correctly and in compliance with the local rules. This is why an actual local divorce attorney is necessary and having a national online document preparation company prepare your divorce documents may not be the best decision.
Our Montgomery divorce attorneys are currently charging a low flat rate of $290 to handle your uncontested divorce without minor children of the marriage and $390 if you do have minor children. This does not include a filing fee that each county requires which varies from county to county and can even be waived in some instances. It is best to consult with an Alabama law firm such as us instead of a national document preparation company in most cases.
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!