Divorces in Madison County are handled by the Circuit Court of Madison County, Alabama. There are rules called Civil Procedure in the State of Alabama that attorneys must follow when processing cases through the Courts and divorces are just civil cases and must follow these rules. Even in an uncontested divorce, these rules of civil procedure must be followed if you want to get a divorce decree in Madison County, Alabama. If you call us today, our Huntsville divorce lawyers can explain how divorces work in Madison County and anywhere else in the State of Alabama.
Each county has several different courts. In Madison County there is a District Court, Circuit Court, Family Court, Probate Court, Drug Court, and other courts as well. Essentially, District Court is used for smaller civil claims and prosecuting traffic offenses. The Circuit Court is the highest court in the county and sometimes those judges are the ones that hold family court as well. Circuit Court is used for civil suits involving larger claims, divorces, and more serious criminal charges. There are also Probate Courts, which are used for such things as adoptions and probating estates and wills.
Divorces are filed in the Circuit Court of Madison County, and the Family Court judge is the Circuit Court Judge that handles these matters. At least one of the parties needs to be a resident of Alabama and reside in Madison County to file a case here.
To be a resident of the State of Alabama, you must have lived in Alabama for the past six months. One of you needs to live in Madison County for any length of time to file in that particular county and not have them object to it. You can file in Madison County if both of you are residents of Alabama even if neither of you live in Madison County, but Madison County does not have to let you since it is up to them to let you do so. A county might not want people forum shopping and choosing them over other counties because they make it easier than others to get divorced and they might discourage out of county filers by dismissing or transferring such cases. This is why it is best to file in a county one of you live in even if you can file somewhere else.
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 almost entirely online since both parties are in complete agreement already. If neither party is in agreement then you will have to file a contested divorce which is much more expensive. 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 Madison County, then you will need to come up with the fees and pay for your lawyer. The divorce attorney will then file a Complaint and if it is an uncontested divorce they will also file the signed settlement agreement. Then the court signs your divorce decree and you are divorced. If it is contested, then our Huntsville 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 divorce attorney in Decatur or wherever they live files a response called an Answer. Then the divorce lawyers engage in something called Discovery in order to gather 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 Madison County Courts order something called Mediation. At mediation, a mediator tries to help both sides reach an amicable agreement. 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 getting a divorce in Madison 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!