As a Birmingham divorce and family law attorney serving residents throughout Alabama, one of the most common question I am asked by folks is, “What are the legal grounds for divorce here in Alabama?” Another frequent question is, “What kind of residency requirement is needed to file for divorce in this state?” This last one is simple: One of the parties must be a bona fide resident of Alabama six months before the filing of the complaint.
As for the first question, legal grounds for divorce in Alabama can be determined by asking the following questions. Answering yes to any one of these will give you some idea as to whether or not you have grounds for divorce:
- At the time of the marriage, was either party physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state?
- Was there adultery?
- Did one of the parties voluntary abandon from bed and board one year prior to the filing of the complaint?
- Was one of the spouses imprisoned in an Alabama of other state's penitentiary for two years, with the sentence being for seven years or longer?
- Did one party commit a crime against nature, whether with mankind or beast, either before or after marriage?
- Was there an addiction to alcohol or drugs after the marriage?
- Are the spouses incompatible?
- Has one of the spouses been confined in a mental hospital for a period of five successive years, and as such is that party hopelessly and incurably insane at the time of the filing of the complaint?
- Has there been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage where further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or the family?
- Was the wife pregnant at the time of marriage, without the husband's knowledge or agency? (In favor of the husband)
- Has either of the parties to the marriage been subject to domestic violenceor had reasonable apprehension of such violence?
- Has the wife lived separate and apart from the bed and board of the husband for two years and been without support from him for two years next preceding the filing of the complaint, and has she bona fide resided in this state during said period? (In favor of the wife)
Many of these questions are easy to answer, however some are more difficult and require an experienced eye. As an Alabama divorce lawyer, my practice deals with these questions and numerous other issues on a daily basis. As with any legal question, I highly recommend that anyone contemplating divorce seek the counsel of a qualified divorce and family law attorney to learn more completely what his or her options may be in situations as sensitive as divorce and legal separation.