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Grounds for divorce in alabama

Deciding to file for divorce in Alabama comes with considerable anxiety and emotion.

Understanding the legal grounds for divorce in Alabama is a crucial step in a divorce filing and may affect your marital estate distribution.

At Dagney Johnson Law Group, we understand the overwhelming nature of a divorce proceeding and treat each of our clients with compassion.

An accomplished Birmingham divorce lawyer listens to your concerns and understands your needs. 

Grounds for Separation in No-Fault Divorces 

No-fault divorces in Alabama provide that no individual spouse is responsible for the downfall of the marriage.

No-fault divorces do not require either spouse to prove the other is responsible or at fault for the marriage dissolution.

There are two acceptable legal grounds for no-fault divorces in Alabama.

Irretrievable Breakdown of Marriage

Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage exists when either or both spouses are unable or refuse to live with each other.

This situation destroys any husband and wife relationship with no hope of resuming the marital relationship. 

Incompatibility of Temperament

Often referred to as “irreconcilable differences,” this breakdown, again, occurs through no fault of either spouse.

By definition, the incompatibility of temperament means that neither party can harmoniously live with the other.

Due to the different behavior or values existing between a married couple, these differences serve as the legal grounds for divorce in Alabama.

Grounds for Separation in Fault-Based Divorces 

Alabama also provides grounds for divorce in fault-based situations.

Fault-based divorces require that someone is to blame for the disintegration of the marriage. Legal grounds for divorce include the following. 

Abandonment or Desertion

A continuous absence from the marriage constitutes a voluntary abandonment of marriage. In this situation, one spouse leaves with no intent to return to the marriage.

In these situations, the abandoning spouse has left their spouse and severed all ties and responsibilities, including any financial obligations. 

Abandonment may be proven by the couple keeping separate residences and failing to engage with one another for a required period, typically a year. 


Adultery in Alabama occurs when one spouse engages in sexual intercourse with an individual that is not their spouse. Adultery stands as a possible grounds for divorce in Alabama.

Proving adultery is often difficult as evidence must exist of at least one act of adultery.

Alabama law requires evidence that the adulterer and the individual they are committing adultery with wish to continue their relationship in spite of an existing marriage. 

Criminal Conviction and Imprisonment

Situations where imprisonment of a spouse occurs may provide legal reasons for divorce in Alabama.

Claiming at-fault divorce based on imprisonment requires proof of specific factors: 

  • Imprisonment of the spouse for at least two years; and
  • The spouse’s sentence is seven years or longer. 

The imprisonment in question may arise in Alabama or any other state.

Imprisonment as one of the legal reasons for a divorce is easier to prove than other legal grounds for divorce in Alabama.  


Cruelty occurs when one spouse inflicts physical or emotional suffering on the other spouse.

These instances of physical or emotional suffering provide an unsafe environment making the continuation of the marriage impossible.

One act of cruelty is not enough to sustain this claim as one of the valid reasons for divorce in Alabama.

The cruelty must have occurred over a sustained period. Cruel behaviors include public humiliation, violent behavior, and physical abuse. 

Mental Illness

If a spouse is mentally ill, this may be grounds for divorce in Alabama. To prove mental illness, you must be able to demonstrate that the mental illness is permanent. The mental illness must affect the marriage in such a manner as to prevent the continuation of the union.

Additionally, the mental illness must have caused the institutionalization of the spouse for at least five consecutive years. And at the time of the divorce filing, the mentally ill spouse must be deemed incurably insane. 

Contact a Birmingham Alabama Divorce Lawyer

Family law issues present multiple challenges that you should never face alone. Facing the end of your marriage places an emotional and financial strain on all parties involved.

The attorneys at The Dagney Johnson Law Group possess years of experience providing comprehensive family law services.

We listen to your concerns and understand your needs while maintaining objectivity. Our focus is preparing you for the next phase in your life and helping you move forward.

Schedule your free consultation with The Dagney Johnson Law Group today.

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