If you are in the process of planning for an Alabama 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 in Alabama, 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
If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on these issues without court intervention, then you cannot proceed with an Alabama 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.
HOW DOES THE UNCONTESTED DIVORCE PROCESS WORK IN ALABAMA?
Although an uncontested divorce in Alabama means you and your spouse may agree to the divorce, it does not mean conflict may not arise at some point during the proceedings. Therefore, either spouse should consult with their attorney before signing any documents.
Alabama law requires that one spouse be a resident of Alabama for at least six months before filing for an uncontested divorce in Alabama. You must file proof of residency to proceed.
File Complaint for Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
The plaintiff in the matter typically files the complaint for an Alabama uncontested divorce. The complaint provides details about why you are filing for an uncontested divorce in Alabama.
The complaint requires necessary information about you and your spouse, including your names, your marriage date, and whether you have any minor children.
Filing an uncontested divorce in Alabama requires a fee. Costs for filing vary by county in the state of Alabama.
An experienced family law attorney knows the fees to file in the county where you reside. Fee waivers are available if you cannot afford to pay.
Proof of Service
Once you file for an Alabama uncontested divorce, you need to serve those documents on your spouse. You provide a copy of these documents with a proof of service.
You may serve documents by First-Class Mail. Once they are mailed, you file the proof of service with the court. Additionally, you may request that a Sheriff serve your spouse a copy of these documents personally.
In some circumstances, a person may be unable to locate their spouse. You may wish to publish a copy of the divorce documents in a local newspaper in these situations.
Most court rules require publication of the complaint for four consecutive weeks in a local newspaper. When the successive publications finish their cycle, the court considers service on your spouse completed.
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.
Additional forms required for an uncontested divorce in Alabama include the following:
- CS-47. Alabama courts require filing of this child support information sheet regardless of whether any children are involved in the uncontested divorce.
- Complaint. As described above, the complaint provides basic information to the court and asks the court for an uncontested divorce.
- Acknowledgment of non-representation. If you have an attorney, but your spouse does not, the court requires this form’s filing. All parties sign the document.
- Answer. An answer acknowledges that your spouse received a copy of the complaint for an uncontested divorce in Alabama.
- Waiver. If your spouse waives their right to service of process, the court requires the filing of a waiver.
- Testimony of Plaintiff. The plaintiff’s testimony is a notarized document wherein the plaintiff asserts grounds for the divorce and that no hope exists for reconciliation. The form also requires certification that your spouse is not a member of the military.
- Vital statistics form. The vital statistics form certifies the divorce for state records.
- Affidavit of residency. The affidavit of residency is a notarized document by a third party stating that you meet the residency requirements to file an uncontested divorce in Alabama.
While you can complete this form on your own, it is always beneficial to have an Alabama divorce attorney review it and ensure that you don’t miss anything important.
Contact an Alabama Divorce Lawyer 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.