Alabama Divorces May Be Delayed Because of Court Budget Cuts

Posted by Steven D. Eversole | Jul 28, 2011 | 0 Comments

People who use district and circuit courts for divorces may see a longer wait because of cuts to the state's court system's budget, the Athens News-Courier reports.

Alabama Supreme Court Justice Sue Bell Cobb recently ordered circuit court clerks across the state to close their doors to the public for 10 hours a week beginning Aug. 1, according to The Associated Press.

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Birmingham Divorce Lawyers are frustrated to hear that the cuts to the state budget could hamper the efforts of couples throughout Alabama who want to get divorced and want the process to move quickly. Divorce in Alabama can be an emotional process and making that process last longer can only add to the frustration and difficulty.

The decrease in hours is an effort to address the layoff of hundreds of court personnel statewide. The staff members who remain will continue to work their regular hours, but for 10 hours each week, they will work without interruption by the public to try to get the work done with fewer staffers, Cobb told the news wire service.

The change will also likely lower the amount of money the courts generate each year for the General Fund, officials have said. When fewer court cases are filed and disposed of in a year, less revenue in the form of fees and fines is generated.

The fastest way to get through a divorce in Alabama is by a cooperative or collaborative divorce in Birmingham. The purpose is to form an agreement, which is binding upon the parties upon approval by the court. Couples who are able to come up with an agreement without difficult litigation usually benefit. However, an attorney should be consulted throughout the process to make sure it is approved and it is enforceable. While both sides may come to agreements about their split, there may be terms that should be added to protect a divorcee's rights.

One thing to keep in mind that some couples don't consider is taxes in a divorce.Divorce taxes in Alabama are important to consider and can create a major tax hit later if not properly handled. The couple must also consider how debts will be split as well as how assets will be broken up.

Some common tax mistakes people might make:

  • Both spouses claiming the children as dependents.
  • Splitting investments in a way that subjects someone to a capital gains tax bill.
  • In marriages with one or more retirement plans, waiting until after the divorce is final to fill out the federal Qualified Domestic Relations Order form.
  • Losing capital gains tax protection by selling the marital home after the divorce.
  • Not claiming alimony payments as a deduction for the payer, or not claiming them as income for the payee.
  • Claiming child support.
  • Not deducting certain allowable legal and financial fees connected to your divorce.

Additional Resources:

Court clerk warns public about delays, by Jean Cole, The News Courier

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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