Imprisonment As Grounds For Divorce In Alabama

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The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that over two million adults were incarcerated in US federal and state prisons in 2013. When a spouse is imprisoned in the state of Alabama, the relationship between a married couple can be substantially affected and unfortunately sometimes divorce occurs. The state of Alabama specifically lists imprisonment as one ground for an at-fault divorce. An at-fault divorce occurs when one spouse is able to claim that some type of conduct by the other spouse was directly responsible for the dissolution of the marriage.

For individuals who are interested in claiming imprisonment as grounds for a divorce in Birmingham, it often helps to consult about the matter with a knowledgeable attorney who can discuss the various available options and the likely impact that a spouse's imprisonment will have on other issues like custody and the division of marital property. While divorce is certainly a complicated and difficult issue, individuals who are potentially considering a divorce due to imprisonment frequently benefit from understanding the various issues that come into play in such a situation.

Relevant Alabama Divorce Law

Alabama's law concerning imprisonment as the grounds for an at-fault divorce is very specific as to when imprisonment can occur: (1) the imprisonment in question can occur in Alabama or any other state, (2) the spouse must have been in prison for at least two years, and (3)  the spouse's sentence must be for seven years or longer. If these requirements are not all met then an individual cannot claim imprisonment as the grounds for a divorce in Alabama.

In many ways, imprisonment is an easier ground than some of the other available options for at-fault divorces in Alabama. For one reason, the evidence required to demonstrate that a former spouse is in prison and satisfies the listed requirements is easier than other at-fault grounds. It is also significantly easier for spouses to locate a spouse, whereas in other situations it might not be nearly as easy to determine a former spouse's location.

How Imprisonment Can Affect Child Custody Support

Spouses who are in prison might still be ordered to pay child support. In some situation, the spouse might need to use outside resources to pay this amount. Other times, the state of Alabama may take any wages that an individual earns while in prison to pay support. An additional scenario is that a court might divide marital property in such a way to account for the fact that a spouse is in prison and unable to provide support.

Individuals who are in prison will be unable to be granted physical custody of any children, although this situation might change once the individual is released from prison. If the court decides that visiting a parent is in the best interest of a divorce couple's children then children might be permitted to visit the other parent in prison.

Reasons To Contact An Experienced Birmingham Divorce Attorney


If your marriage has been affected by imprisonment and divorce is a potential option, it can help to discuss matters with an experienced Birmingham divorce attorney at Eversole Law LLC who has helped clients in similar situations and knows how to expertly handle the variety of issues that might arise.

We serve the following localities:

Birmingham, Jefferson County including Bessemer, Homewood, Hoover, Irondale, Leeds, Mountain Brook, Trussville, and Vestavia Hills, Shelby County (including Pelham, Alabaster, Chelsea, Calera), Tuscaloosa, Auburn, Huntsville, Calhoun County including Anniston, Etowah County including Boaz and Gadsden, Cullman County including Arab and Cullman, Madison County including Huntsville and Madison, Montgomery County including Montgomery, and all of Alabama.

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