Marriage is essentially a contract in the eyes of the law. When both parties agree to terminate a contract, then it can usually go fairly smooth and quick. Same thing in an Etowah County divorce. When both spouses agree on the terms, that is called an uncontested divorce. Just like with all contracts, when at least one party has even issues with breaking the contract, it slows the process since it will end up in court before a judge. When spouses do not agree on the terms of their divorce that is called a contested divorce. Contested divorces in Gadsden involve going to court and letting the judge decide all of your contested issues.
To file for a divorce, one of you must have resided in Alabama for at least six months. The spouse filing for divorce is called the Plaintiff and the other spouse is the Defendant. You can have a Gadsden family law attorney file a Complaint for Divorce and they should file it 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. To file a Complaint, you will need to have the following information available: Name, age, and residency of both parties; names of minor children and their dates of birth; grounds for divorce; marriage date and date of separation; acknowledgment that the parties have assets and debts for division; a plea for the court to take jurisdiction of the case and provide the requested relief.
If you are the Plaintiff then you will ask for what you want concerning such issues as child custody, property division, and child support. Once filed, then the Defendant will be served and has thirty days to respond. The Defendant’s answer is important since it will lay out what they want as well. If the Defendant does not respond to the Complaint, you can then ask the court for a default judgment and get the judge to order what you asked for in the Complaint.
If the Defendant does answer and no agreement is reached, then the next phase is Discovery. This is where your divorce attorneys gather evidence, file motions, and put together your potential legal argument for trial. After this is completed, the judge might order both of you to do mediation. This is where you both go with your local divorce attorneys to a mediator’s office and they mediate an agreement between you. If there is no agreement with your spouse, then the divorce will go to trial and the judge will make a decision on the unresolved matters.
At trial, the attorneys may present evidence such as documents, expert testimony, and witness testimony to support their case. The judge takes everything into consideration and makes a decision. Once they decide, the parties can later get a Gadsden attorney to file a motion to amend or vacate, but there must be a valid reason.
Contested divorces typically take much longer to be resolved and can cost thousands of dollars to get what you want. An uncontested divorce is much quicker and easier but you have to reach an agreement. Whether you have an agreement or not we can help so call our Etowah and Marshall County divorce lawyers today for a quick consult.
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!