While divorce is a process unique to each person that experiences it, there are some questions that almost every person considering a Birmingham divorce will have. While there are usually no general answers that are applicable to every situation, the answers to the following common questions might help you begin navigating the divorce process with a clearer understanding of what it entails.
Does divorce require me to have a lawyer?
There is no legal requirement in Alabama that you must use an Alabama divorce lawyer at any stage during the divorce process. However, attempting to navigate the difficult channels of the legal system and applicable laws involved in the divorce process without the assistance of an attorney can be extremely difficult and may in fact end up costing you more money down the line than using an attorney would have. Especially in circumstances where children, property, support payments, and other technical matters are involved, attempting to navigate the divorce process alone can lengthen the procedures involved and risk the loss of assets that you my have had a right to. It may also risk an unfair custody decision that limits your access to your child, and can have other negative consequences.
It is ultimately your decision to choose whether or not you want to pursue a divorce without an attorney, but keep in mind that there are reasons that even divorce attorneys that must go through their own divorce usually use an attorney. Even when you are confident that you understand applicable laws, personal attachment and involvement in a case can cause you to overlook certain things or behave in an irrational manner that can damage your case.
Is the divorce procedure the same for those that have children?
With the exception of custody decisions and possible child support considerations, the divorce process is the same for those with children or without. An Alabama court will still make an equitable division of assets involved in the divorce, and the process is more or less the same. Keep in mind that equitable distribution of property and other assets does not mean an even distribution of those things between both spouses, so a court's decision on how to divide such things might be influenced by whether or not children are a part of the process. There may also be different paperwork involved in a divorce proceeding that involves children versus one that does not, depending on the circumstances of the case.
How do I begin the divorce process?
The answer to this question depends on a number of things, like whether or not the divorce is contested and whether or not parties are willing to use mediation as a means to achieve their mutually desired outcome at the end of the divorce process. If you are able to meet residency and other basic requirements to request a divorce in Alabama, an attorney can help you navigate the initial steps required to request a divorce from Alabama courts. You will generally begin the process by filing a complaint for divorce, or you may need to begin by responding to it if it has been filed by your spouse. It is also helpful to have important paperwork collected and organized that may be necessary as you begin the divorce process. An attorney can give you a better idea of what type of information you will need to compile.
How long does the divorce process take in Alabama?
Much like other civil legal matters, there is no specific timeline for the divorce process. How long a divorce will take depends on a number of factors, such as initially ensuring all required paperwork is filled out and filed correctly and promptly. Additionally, the time divorce proceedings may take can be influenced by the number of other cases pending at the same time in the same county. Some counties are able to process divorce requests more rapidly because they have fewer other cases that require attention and resources at same time.
A big factor in how long the divorce process can take is whether or not the divorce is contested. An uncontested divorce will take less time in Alabama, much like it would take less time in other states. Mediated divorces can also speed up the divorce process, though they are not always a good fit for every situation. However, a contested divorce can take up to a year or more in Alabama and elsewhere. Generally, the more you and your spouse can agree on, the less time your divorce is likely to take.
Where can I find out more information about divorce and my circumstances?
If you are unsure about how divorce might potentially affect your circumstances, you should contact a Birmingham divorce attorney that has experience handling divorces in Alabama. An attorney can help answer your questions and guide you through the Alabama divorce process, including helping you determine the right course of action based on your individual circumstances. Contact a Birmingham divorce attorney at Eversole Law to schedule a consultation about your divorce questions and find out how you can navigate the divorce process with the assistance of the divorce team at Eversole Law.