If you decide on an uncontested divorce, it usually takes about six to ten weeks after everything has been signed by both spouses and filed with the court. If both parties agree to the terms of the divorce on the big questions of how you will divide your assets and debts, child custody (if applicable), and if one spouse will request alimony, you can file an uncontested divorce. A contested divorce can take much longer. 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 months or even years to obtain a divorce decree.
Alabama law requires a “cooling off” period of 30 days after filing for divorce – even if you both agree on the need to divorce. The law is in place to give couples a time to reflect, now that they’ve gone through the formality of filing paperwork with the court, to make sure divorce is really what they want. It does not usually have a significant effect on the wait time to get a divorce decree finalized by the court, especially compared to the length of time it takes to obtain a contested divorce.
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. If a Plaintiff cannot find their spouse, they can publish a notice of divorce in a local newspaper of general circulation for four consecutive weeks. This serves as constructive notice to the Defendant.
If you are filing an uncontested divorces and don’t have minor children, the Plaintiff will need to submit a Complaint for Divorce and Summons to the Circuit Court Clerk’s office. To speed up the process, the Defendant can sign an Acceptance and Waiver of Service form. After the Complaint for Divorce is filed, the 30-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.
The 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. Testimony is then taken where grounds for the divorce are declared.
About thirty days from the time your divorce is filed is the fastest turnaround legally possible for a divorce in Alabama. This is due to the aforementioned cooling off requirement, but practically speaking, most uncontested divorces take that long to process through the courts anyway. 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, experienced, 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.
Our divorce lawyers in Birmingham, Huntsville, Anniston, or anywhere else across the State of Alabama currently charge a flat fee for uncontested divorces. 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 $200 to over $350. Give our local divorce attorneys a call today for a quick consultation over the phone.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!