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Divorce

How To Calculate Alimony in Alabama

If you are getting a divorce in Alabama, alimony is one of the issues you are probably wondering about. Alimony, also called spousal support, is often one of the contested issues that people encounter during their divorce proceeding. Here, our divorce lawyers will discuss Alabama alimony laws and some other things you should know to determine whether alimony payments might be part of your divorce agreement. What Is Alimony? Alimony is a series of payments that one spouse must pay to another after a divorce. Not all divorces involve alimony. Your divorce will involve alimony only if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your divorce and include alimony as part of the agreement or if the court orders it based on your circumstances.  Courts award alimony based on the financial needs of the lesser earning spouse. One spouse may have to pay alimony to the lesser earning spouse for a period of time while the lesser earning spouse goes through job training or finishes school. Types of Alimony in Alabama Alabama alimony laws were recently changed to make permanent alimony more rare and to set a five-year limit on the time period for which courts may order alimony in most cases. There are three types of alimony in Alabama. Interim Support Interim support is a series of temporary payments from one spouse to another while the divorce is pending. These payments could help the lesser earning spouse adjust as their financial situation changes because of the divorce. Maybe one spouse has moved out of their living situation with the other spouse and now needs temporary support to adjust to the additional costs. Interim support payments stop once you finalize your divorce. Courts award interim support based on the petitioning spouse’s need as well as the other spouse’s ability to pay.  Periodic Alimony The other common type of spousal support in Alabama is periodic alimony. The lesser earning spouse receives periodic alimony payments at regular intervals, such as every two weeks or every month. The payments usually last only while the receiving spouse completes some sort of preparation to re-enter the workforce and become self-supporting. For example, if one spouse stopped working to take care of children, they may require periodic alimony while they learn the new skills required to start working again. Courts usually award periodic alimony for a maximum of five years following the divorce. In rare cases, if the judge determines that the circumstances require it, periodic alimony can be awarded for up to the length of time that the couple was married. Permanent Alimony  Permanent alimony in Alabama is rare. Courts typically award permanent alimony only when one spouse is disabled and cannot become financially independent after a divorce. In addition, Alabama courts award permanent alimony only if the marriage lasted more than 20 years. Calculating Alimony in Alabama The judge has discretion in determining the amount of alimony payments, regardless of the type of alimony. While there is no Alabama alimony calculator that will determine the exact amount of alimony you or your spouse will receive, judges consider a number of factors when deciding how much alimony is appropriate. Reason for the Divorce You can still claim fault grounds in a divorce in Alabama. If a couple filed for divorce on fault grounds, this may affect alimony. For example, if your spouse cheated on you, and you can prove that the cheating caused you to want to divorce them, you can file for divorce on the grounds of adultery. An adulterous spouse may receive a smaller alimony award if they are the receiving spouse. A judge may also order an adulterous spouse to pay larger alimony payments. Length of Marriage How many years do you have to be married in the state of Alabama to get alimony? The answer is technically that it does not matter. A court can award alimony regardless of the length of the marriage, as long as the requesting spouse can establish a need. However the longer the marriage was, the more likely it is that one spouse adjusted to the extra financial support of married life and will need assistance while re-adjusting to life after the divorce. As we mentioned, permanent alimony is awarded only in certain situations where the marriage lasted more than 20 years. Dependent Children Depending on the divorce agreement, one spouse may end up with more financial responsibility for raising and caring for children. If a child happens to have special needs, that can also affect that spouse’s ability to hold down a job while caring for the child. A judge can take these circumstances into account in calculating alimony.  Other Factors Judges consider numerous other factors when awarding alimony in Alabama. These factors include: Earning capabilities of each spouse; What assets each spouse has; Age and health of each spouse; and The standard of living the couple enjoyed during the marriage. This is not an exhaustive list. A judge can consider any other factor that they find relevant when awarding spousal support in Alabama. Contact Our Birmingham, AL Divorce Lawyers Today   Dagney Johnson Law Group is ready to answer any questions you have about Alabama alimony laws. We take a personal approach to every issue, so you can feel confident that your voice will be heard and that we will fight for what is most important to you. Contact us or call our firm at (205) 937-6564 today to discuss alimony and other divorce issues.

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Divorce

Abandonment in an Alabama Divorce: What You Should Know

If your spouse has moved out, you may not know how to proceed. A spouse leaving the shared home is emotional and difficult, and a divorce can help you move on. If your spouse left over a year ago, you may be able to file a divorce based on abandonment. In Alabama, abandonment is one of the fault grounds for divorce. Here, we will discuss what you need to know about Alabama divorce laws and marital abandonment. What Is Spousal or Marital Abandonment in Alabama? There are not separate abandonment laws in Alabama. Instead, abandonment is part of the state’s law relating to divorce. In Alabama, you can file a divorce based on fault grounds, or you can file a no-fault divorce. If you file on fault grounds, you are claiming that the marriage failed because of the other spouse’s actions.  One of the fault grounds for divorce is abandonment. According to Alabama law, you can divorce your spouse for their “voluntary abandonment of bed and board” for one year or more as of the time you file for divorce. Your spouse can be considered to have abandoned the marriage if they moved out and you have little to no contact with them. This situation must be voluntary, so you cannot claim abandonment if you kicked your spouse out. The abandonment must also continue for a year or more before you can claim it as grounds for divorce. What Qualifies as Abandonment? When one spouse not only moves out but also stops performing all family obligations and responsibilities, it is considered abandonment. For example, if your spouse has stopped contributing to your household financially or has ceased to perform childcare duties in addition to moving out, this is considered abandonment. When abandonment occurs, the abandoning spouse has no intention of returning. There are no continued marital relations, including companionship and sexual relations, in an abandonment. You will also have to present evidence that your spouse left with the intent to end the marriage. Alabama divorce laws about abandonment require more than just the fact that a couple lives apart. If one spouse refuses to relocate due to the other spouse’s job, that is not abandonment. In addition, if one spouse flees from an abusive partner, that is also not abandonment. How Does Abandonment Affect My Divorce? If you are filing an abandonment divorce, it can impact other issues in your divorce. Alabama law protects some abandoned spouse rights. For example, if one spouse abandons the other and stops contributing financially, a court may award the abandoned spouse an increased alimony award to make up for the lack of financial assistance. In addition, if your spouse has stopped caring for your children, the court may be more likely to award you sole custody. Child custody, however, is always based on what is best for the children. Not all abandoned spouses get full custody.  One of the most significant impacts of abandonment on your divorce is that you may struggle to negotiate any terms with your spouse. Couples often agree on many aspects of property division, child visitation, and other divorce issues. When one spouse abandons the other, there may be no opportunity to discuss these things until a claim has been filed and the court is involved. Contact Our Birmingham, Alabama Divorce Lawyers If you want to learn more about Alabama divorce laws and abandonment claims, contact our law office today at (205) 937-6564. At the Dagney Johnson Law Group, our Birmingham divorce attorneys are ready to discuss the details of your case. Our personal style of representation will help you move forward during this confusing time while making sure you are comfortable with every step of the process.

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Child Custody

What Is an Uncontested Divorce in Alabama?

If you are in the process of planning for a divorce, it is important to know what types of divorce exist.  Depending on what type of divorce yours is, the process will be different. A divorce can be either contested or uncontested. A “contested” divorce, as the name suggests, means that the spouses contest the terms of the divorce. But what are “uncontested” divorces in Alabama? This article will provide a brief overview of uncontested divorce in Alabama, giving you a better idea of what to expect. If you have questions, contact an Alabama divorce attorney to discuss your options and determine how you should move forward. Uncontested Divorce in Alabama: An Overview An uncontested divorce in Alabama is also called a simple divorce. Whereas a contested divorce can be complicated and contentious, an uncontested divorce is often a more simplified process. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on all issues required to terminate the marriage. Ultimately, this makes the divorce faster and cheaper than a contested divorce. Requirements for an Uncontested Divorce in Alabama In an uncontested divorce, both parties must agree on all aspects of the divorce. This means that not only do the parties need to agree to the termination of the marriage itself, but they must also agree on items such as: Division of property and assets, Division of debt, Child custody arrangements, and Alimony. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on these issues without court intervention, then you cannot proceed with an uncontested divorce. There are a few additional requirements for uncontested divorces in Alabama that you should be aware of. First, at least one party to the divorce must have been a resident of Alabama for at least six months prior to filing. Additionally, you must file your divorce in the correct county. In Alabama, you must file for divorce in the county in which: Your spouse lives; You both lived when the separation occurred; or You live, if your spouse is not a resident of Alabama. Even if your divorce is uncontested, failure to file in the appropriate county can complicate the process moving forward. Alabama Uncontested Divorce Forms The first step to filing for uncontested divorce in Alabama is completing your formal court complaint. While this can seem intimidating, the State of Alabama fortunately provides “do it yourself” forms on its website. One of these includes a divorce complaint. While you can complete this form on your own, it is always beneficial to have an attorney review it and ensure that you don’t miss anything important.  Contact a Divorce Attorney Today If you have questions about how to file your uncontested divorce complaint, or if you have any other questions about uncontested divorce in Alabama, contact an attorney today. An experienced Alabama divorce attorney can help to make a stressful and emotional process feel more manageable. The legal team at Dagney Johnson Law Group has been helping clients in Alabama through the most difficult times in their lives for over 40 years. We hope to have the opportunity to help you too. Contact us online or by phone at (205) 937-6564 for a free case review to see what we can do for you.

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Divorce

What Is the Alabama Divorce Process?

About 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States will end in divorce. While this is of course not what people hope for when they get married, it is a reality that many couples do face. A divorce can often be a complicated and emotional process. However, having an experienced divorce attorney in your corner can be a great asset in helping you get through this difficult time. If you are considering filing for divorce, we want to help. Read on for an overview of the Alabama divorce process so that you can better protect your rights and prepare for this next phase of your life. Divorce vs. Legal Separation in Alabama Before diving in, it is important to understand the difference between a divorce and a legal separation. While people often use these terms interchangeably, they actually describe two separate processes. Legal separation in Alabama is defined as a “court determination of the rights and responsibilities of a husband and wife arising out of the marital relationship.” Notably, a legal separation does not terminate the marital status of the parties. A divorce, on the other hand, does terminate the marital status of the parties. Thus, after a divorce, you and your spouse will no longer be married. Steps in the Alabama Divorce Process In this article, we will be discussing the divorce process in particular. While the Alabama divorce process can sometimes be complicated, knowing the basic steps can help. File Your Complaint and Wait for Your Spouse to File Their Answer The first step in the Alabama divorce process is filing your divorce complaint. This complaint announces your intent to terminate the marriage and is necessary before taking any further action. After you file the complaint with the court, you must also serve the complaint on your spouse. This formally notifies them that you have initiated a divorce action to seek termination of your marriage. Discovery, Negotiations, and Trial In some situations, a divorce will be uncontested. This means that both spouses agree on all issues, which allows the judge to easily finalize the divorce. In other situations, however, the process is less simple. In a contested divorce, parties will often disagree on things such as property division, child custody, and child support. When this happens, you may need to proceed with discovery. Types of discovery tools in a divorce proceeding include: Interrogatories, Requests for production of documents, Requests for admissions, Subpoena of documents, and Depositions. All of these discovery tools can help compile useful documentation and information to help support your position in a divorce. Once you have this information, you can then begin negotiating a potential divorce agreement. Having an experienced divorce attorney can become a great benefit. An attorney can help you negotiate and review any potential agreements and fight to ensure that your divorce does not result in an unfair outcome. Then, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, an attorney can help you prepare to take your divorce to trial. Contact a Divorce Attorney Today While you don’t always need an attorney to help with your divorce, having one can frequently make the process easier. More than that, an attorney can help protect your rights and ensure that your divorce ends in a fair and equitable resolution. If you are in the process of going through a divorce, or if you have questions about how to get started, Dagney Johnson Law Group is standing by and ready to assist. Our team of legal professionals has been helping clients in Alabama for over 40 years, and we want to do the same for you. We know that going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Contact us online or by phone at (205) 937-6564 today to discuss your case and see what we can do for you.

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Divorce

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce in Alabama?

Going through a divorce can be a complicated and time-consuming process. Unfortunately, this can’t always be avoided. But how much does it cost to get a divorce in Alabama? This is a question that many clients have, and it is definitely something you should know before proceeding. Before you get too deep into the process, you should have an idea of what this could ultimately cost. Our Birmingham divorce lawyers will explain. Let’s dive in and take a look at the cost of divorce in Alabama. Cost of Divorce in Alabama A common question that many people have is, How much does it cost to divorce in Alabama? While there is no one specific answer, there are factors to look at to determine what the cost of your divorce may be. Court Filing Fees The first thing to consider when discussing the cost of divorce in Alabama is filing fees. Regardless of whether you handle your divorce on your own or you hire an attorney, there will always be court fees to pay. However, this filing fee can vary in Alabama from county to county. For example, in Baldwin County, the court cost for filing an uncontested divorce is $227. In Madison County, however, the filing fee is $324. If your divorce is uncontested, meaning that both parties agree to the divorce and its terms, then you may be able to complete the process without paying much more than the filing fees. However, in some situations, matters may be more complicated. This may lead to a more expensive process. Other Factors Beyond the initial filing fee, you may need to hire an attorney to assist with your case. While this may add costs to the process, it may actually be beneficial in the long run. The cost of divorce in Alabama can vary based on a number of factors. These factors include: Whether you have children, Whether the divorce is contested, Whether you have a prenuptial agreement, and The extent of your assets. Some attorneys may offer flat fees for an uncontested divorce. However, in more complicated scenarios, a divorce attorney may charge an hourly rate until your divorce is complete. Depending on the complexity of your case and the factors involved, it may take more time to resolve your case. It may seem intimidating to start thinking about the divorce cost in Alabama. Nevertheless, it is important to know what your costs might be to prevent surprise when the time comes. Understandably, people will often want to limit their costs in a divorce proceeding. However, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, spending a little more to retain a divorce attorney may save you money in the long run. Contact an Alabama Divorce Attorney Today If you have questions about the cost of divorce in Alabama, the legal team at Dagney Johnson Law Group can help. We have been helping clients through the most difficult times in their lives for over 40 years, and we are prepared to do the same for you. Going through a divorce can be a stressful and emotional process, but we will be there for you every step of the way. Contact us today online or by phone at (205) 937-6564 for a free case review to discuss your case and see what we can do for you.

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Divorce

How to File for Divorce in Alabama

Most people get married with the intent to stay married. Nevertheless, the reality is that not all marriages will ultimately work out, and that’s okay. However, if you are thinking about filing for divorce in Alabama, it is important to follow the proper process. Going through a divorce can be complicated and life-changing. Further, a divorce can bring out a lot of emotions in the parties involved, making the process feel overwhelming at times. Know that you are not alone. An experienced Birmingham divorce attorney can help you navigate the process of filing for divorce in Alabama and work with you to get you through this difficult time. How to Get a Divorce in Alabama: An Overview Filing for divorce in Alabama can be intimidating, and you may not know where to even start. However, having a general idea of the process and requirements can help alleviate some stress. Preliminary Matters to Address Before filing for divorce in Alabama, there are a few preliminary matters that you will need to address. Primarily, it is important that at least one party to the divorce has lived in Alabama for at least 6 months prior to filing. Additionally, you should be aware of the requirements regarding where you can file your petition for divorce. Specifically, you may file for divorce in the county in which: Your ex currently resides; You both resided when the separation occurred; or You reside, if your ex is a non-resident of Alabama. If you have questions about where you should file your divorce petition, contact a lawyer to discuss your particular circumstances in more detail. Prepare and Serve Your Divorce Complaint Next, you will prepare your complaint for divorce. The State of Alabama does provide some self-help Alabama divorce forms to help parties who may not have an attorney. But depending on the complexity of your situation, you may need an attorney to help draft your complaint. In an uncontested divorce, where both parties agree on all issues, the process may be simpler. However, parties will frequently disagree on a number of important items such as: Property division, Child custody, Child support, and Alimony. In situations where these issues are contested, it can be difficult to know how to prepare your divorce complaint. An attorney can help you craft your complaint and gather documents to help support your case moving forward. Once you’ve filed your complaint with the court, you will also need to serve it on the other party. After you serve your divorce complaint, the opposing party will have 30 days to respond. Contact Our Legal Team Today For your divorce case, you deserve someone who has the knowledge and resources to help with your case. But just as important, you also deserve someone who understands what you are going through and who will fight to get you the best outcome possible. The Dagney Johnson Law Group has been helping clients in Alabama for over 40 years, and we are ready to do the same for you. If you have questions about how to file for divorce in Alabama, contact our team online or by phone at (205) 937-6564 today.

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