With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, Alabama joined all fifty states in recognizing same sex marriage. And though judges in certain counties opposed issuing marriage licenses, state lawmakers passed a bill replacing licenses with certificates, leading the way to a full recognition of same sex marriage, as well as necessitating the recognition of same sex divorce.
In Alabama, same sex divorces are just as easy as heterosexual divorces. Our divorce lawyers in Prattville or anywhere else in Alabama are always here to help answer your questions as well. There are two categories worth considering, divorce involving and not involving children. For uncontested cases without children, the filing must include a Complaint for Divorce, Separation Agreement, Testimony of Plaintiff, Domestic Relations Information Sheet, and some other documents. For couples with children, child support needs to be considered as well. More detailed information can be obtained at a county clerk’s office.
According to AL Code § 30-2-1, there are a number of grounds for divorce to choose from, should they apply:
- In favor of either party, when the other was, at the time of the marriage physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state;
- For adultery;
- For voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year next preceding the filing of the complaint;
- Imprisonment in the penitentiary of this or any other state for two years, the sentence being for seven years or longer;
- The commission of the crime against nature, whether with mankind or beast, either before or after marriage;
- For becoming addicted after marriage to habitual drunkenness or to habitual use of drugs;
- Upon application of either spouse, when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together;
- Incurable insanity with confinement to a mental institution for five successive years;
- Upon application of either party, when the court finds there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family;
- In favor of either party to the marriage when the other has committed actual violence on his or her person, attended with danger to life or health, or when from his or her conduct there is reasonable apprehension of such violence.
Typically, at least one spouse needs to be a resident of Alabama for at least six months. Also, as in all marriages involving children, judges will consider awarding support from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse. Additionally, some judges will consider any years of cohabitation prior to marriage while determining spousal support. This occurs in same sex divorces just like any other divorce.
Finally, in cases where child custody is established through a same sex adoption or in vitro fertilization. Each parent has equal custodial rights that must be determined in the divorce trial just like in all other divorces. And like spousal support, child support can be reached by agreement or be ordered at your divorce trial. Regardless of the gender of the couple, divorces are basically the same. The parties either reach an agreement and file an uncontested divorce or have a divorce trial and let the judge decide.
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!