Yes, you can get a quick divorce in Alabama as long as it is uncontested. An uncontested divorce usually takes about six to ten weeks to be entered after everything has been signed by both spouses and filed with the court. This is a much faster turnaround time than a contested divorce. A contested divorce can take many months or even years, depending on if there is a trial or not. If both parties cannot reach an agreement during the contested divorce and a trial is necessary to determine the contested issues, then it can take significantly longer than an uncontested divorce.
Decades ago, due to a loophole in the law, Alabama was known as one of the fastest places in America to get a quickie divorce. From 1945 to 1970, Alabama issued more divorces than Nevada. Alabama was an attractive venue because there was only a one day wait period from the time you filed until the divorce decree could be signed. Not only that, but you could also bypass the residency requirement. This meant that couples from all over the country could come to Alabama for a quick divorce, regardless of whether they actually lived here or not. Concerned about Alabama’s growing reputation as a Divorce Mill, the Legislature changed the law in 1970 to close such loopholes.
Today, Alabama requires a thirty day cooling off period after the divorce complaint is filed before the divorce decree can be signed by a judge. This waiting period applies to contested and uncontested divorces. However, with the current caseloads in state courts it is sometimes unlikely many divorces will be finalized before thirty days anyway. The intent of the requirement is to make sure both parties have a chance to sleep on it and reflect to ensure that divorce is what they really want. However, the cooling off period is so short it usually does not have a significant effect on the time it takes to get a divorce decree from the judge.
Due to the cooling off period requirement, thirty days from the time your divorce is filed is the fastest turnaround legally possible for a divorce in Alabama. A quick turnaround time is also dependent upon all of the parties’ paperwork being filed on time and correctly. That is why it is so important to hire a local Alabama divorce attorney to handle your case. They can make sure everything is in order when it goes to the court to ensure the fastest possible processing time.
Sometimes a judge will issue something called an interlocutory decree, which is where the judge issues a decree the day you file the case. However, on the decree it states that it doesn’t go into effect for thirty days. Another time limit to keep in mind is the other spouse’s time to reply to a complaint for divorce. When one spouse files for divorce, the filing party is required to “serve” the paperwork on the other spouse. The non-filing spouse then has thirty days to respond to this complaint. This can overlap with the required thirty day cooling off period. If the divorce is uncontested, the non-filing spouse can go to the courthouse as soon as possible after the filing to sign their side of the paperwork.
An uncontested divorce is the quickest and fastest way to get a divorce in Alabama. It can be done mostly online and over the phone so it is also the easiest way to get divorced as well. Since the process varies from county to county, you should call us today to find out how quick the process is where you live.
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!