Divorces in Auburn are handled by the Circuit Court of Lee County, Alabama. Each county has several different courts, sometimes in the same courthouse. In Lee County there is a District Court, which is used mainly for traffic offenses and misdemeanors. There is also a Circuit Court, and that is the highest court in the county. This is where Auburn divorces, large civil lawsuits, and felonious criminal cases are tried. These are courts of general jurisdiction that hear civil and criminal cases, and these judges are the ones that handle divorce cases. If a divorce is contested, the hearing is held before a Circuit Judge. Likewise, if a divorce is uncontested, the divorce is ordered by the Circuit Judge assigned the matter. However, if the divorce is uncontested, the parties do not usually have a court date.
At least one of the parties needs to be a resident of Alabama to file a case here. To be a resident, you must have lived in Alabama for the past six months. If you are both residents of Alabama, the divorce can be filed in the county you live or the county you lived in when both parties separated. Sometimes people do not want their community to know about the filing, so they will try to file in a county where neither resides. This can be done but it is ultimately up to the local court whether or not to allow you to do this. Many times a county might discourage this forum shopping in order to keep their county from being overloaded with filings from out of county residents. You should check with a local divorce attorney about whether this is a good option or not.
Before you file a divorce, you need to decide if it is an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce is much less expensive and simpler than a contested divorce. In an uncontested divorce there is generally no court and you can do most of it online or over the phone since both parties are in complete agreement already. If neither party is in agreement then you will have to file a contested divorce. A contested divorce means you file it and the judge will have to decide your disagreement at a trial, which could take a very long time to get.
Once you know whether it will be filed as a contested or uncontested divorce in Lee County, then you will need to come up with the fees and pay for your divorce lawyer. The divorce attorney will then file a Complaint and if it’s an uncontested divorce they’ll also file you and your spouse’s signed agreement. Then the court signs your divorce decree (as long as the judge is alright with your agreement) and you are divorced. If it is contested, then our divorce lawyers will need thousands of dollars up front to even get it filed and it will take much longer and costs much more in attorney fees than an easy uncontested divorce.
When a contested divorce is filed the other party is served. Then their family law attorney files a response called an Answer. Then the lawyers engage in something called Discovery to discover all evidence to help them with their case before the judge eventually. Once this is over and both parties have all of the evidence they can get, the judge usually makes them go to something called mediation. If the parties cannot agree at mediation, then a trial is set and the judge hears the evidence and makes a decision. Call us today if you have any questions about the divorce process in Lee County, Alabama.
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!