Birmingham Family Law Update: Understanding No-fault Divorce in Alabama

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Jan 14, 2010 | 0 Comments

Last week I discussed an approach to achieving a mutual divorce settlement vis-à-vis No-fault divorce. As a Birmingham divorce attorney who has represented dozens of individuals going through what must be one of the most difficult times in any married person's life, I can say that cooperation is one of the best ways to make a divorce proceeding go smoothly.

Frankly, in Alabama or anywhere else for that matter, separation and divorce can be life-altering events that tear at the hearts and emotions of the spouses affected, not to mention their families and even friends. Maintaining a cool approach, as hard as it may be, is one of the best things you can do for yourself at this difficult time.

Previously, I talked about how to make the process work. Here, I'm going to review the “mechanics” of a No-fault divorce here in Alabama. Before I start, I'll remind folks again that it is essential for both parties to avoid any hostile or accusatorial tone if they wish the divorce process to go smoothly. Stay calm and you will have a much better opportunity to settle your differences and move on with your separate lives.

As for the legal grounds for an Alabama No-fault divorce includes the following:

  1. An incompatibility of temperament that results in the two parties' inability to live together
  2. An irreversible and permanent breakdown of the marital union, which makes any attempts at reconciliation either impractical, futile, or not in the best interests of the two spouses or the family in general
  3. The voluntary abandonment by one of the spouses from bed and board for one year preceding the filing of the divorce complaint

To initiate a No-fault divorce in Alabama, one of the above reasons must be specified on a state document (Complaint for Divorce) and filed with the court. Following this, and having agreed to avoid personal attacks and accusations, the two parties should be ready and willing to accept the legal reasons for a No-fault divorce. Now it is time to meet with your individual attorneys to discuss the details of the marriage dissolution.

After accepting the reasons for the divorce, both spouses should be prepared to discuss three specific areas that must be addressed and agreed to before the dissolution of the marriage. These areas include the following:

Each of these areas include complicated and very serious topics, so it is a smart move to approach each of them separately and resolve one before addressing the next. Meeting each other halfway can go a long way toward speeding along the No-fault divorce process and getting on with your life.

Once a friendly agreement is arrived at for the above three areas, the balance of a No-Fault divorce includes putting the information you accumulated on various state documents including the initial divorce complaint, then signing the documents and filing them with your particular Court of Jurisdiction.

Alabama has a waiting period of 60 days from the date of signed Decree of Divorce before either spouse can remarry within the state. However, there is no waiting period for an out-of-state marriage.

About the Author

Steven D. Eversole

J.D., Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama B.A., University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

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