Frequently Asked Questions about uncontested divorce in Alabama
Q. What is an uncontested divorce?
A. An “uncontested” divorce, as apposed to a “contested” divorce, is where both spouses agree with respect to all issues concerning the dissolution of their marriage. That is, both spouses must want the divorce and agree on issues relating to the grounds for the divorce, custody of the children, visitation rights, child support, spousal maintenance as well as an equitable division of the marital property. If all issues can be resolved before the divorce is filed, neither party must appear in court and the divorce can be filed as “uncontested” from inception.
Q. What are the “grounds” for divorce?
A. The ground’s for a no fault divorce will be stated in the complaint as one or both of: Upon application of either the husband or wife, when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together and/or Upon application of either party, when the court finds there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family.
Q. Does “No-Fault” mean that my spouse does not need to sign the divorce papers?
A. In short, No. “No-fault” is simply a newly enacted grounds for divorce that does not assign blame to either party or require a prolonged waiting period for commencing an action for divorce. Divorces based upon grounds of “no-fault” require the same process and procedures as the traditionally recognized grounds for divorce. In order to proceed with any action for divorce your spouse must be properly served or accept service of the Summons by signing an Affidavit of Defendant entitled an Answer and Waiver.
Q. I recently moved to Alabama, am I eligible for an Alabama divorce?
A. The residency requirements to obtain an Alabama divorce is where one or both parties will have been a resident of Alabama for at least six (6) months at the time of initial filing of the divorce documents.
Q. Will I need to visit your office for a consultation or conference?
A. Not unless you prefer to meet in person. Office visits are not required at any time. Once we have been retained you will have an opportunity to consult with our matrimonial attorney by phone or, if you prefer, you may schedule an in-person meeting at our offices. We are always available for questions and inquiries by phone or email. All document communication can be handled by mail, email or fax. Documents requiring a signature will be mailed to you, with clear instructions and will include a return envelope for a prompt response.
Q. How long will my divorce take?
A. Your divorce will be eligible for a Final Decree after the Court has held the documents for thirty (30) days for a ‘cooling off’ period of the parties; after that time has passed the Court will move forward to enter a Final Decree.
Q. Must I use a process server for service of the divorce papers?
A. No; we will deliver by mail all documents for signing with instructions and return to this office.
Q. What if my spouse refuses to sign the papers after he or she is served?
A. This is an uncontested divorce. If you are uncertain whether your spouse will fully cooperate you should communicate and know for sure whether they will voluntarily sign so as to not waste any of your deposited retainer; otherwise you must pursue a contested divorce.
Q. Will I need to make any court appearances?
A. As long as your divorce remains uncontested, you will not have to make any court appearances. We will handle the entire process via mail, phone, email or fax.
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Q. What happens if an uncontested divorce becomes contested?
A. This is always a possibility. After your spouse is served with the divorce papers, he or she may decide to contest the divorce. Often times, a divorce may be contested where the defendant spouse does not agree with the specified grounds for divorce, the relief sought, demands for support, or the terms of property division or child custody arrangements. If this happens, then your uncontested divorce becomes contested and it will cost you (and your spouse) significantly more in legal fees (and time, including court appearances).
Q. How can I avoid the possibility of my divorce becoming contested?
A. The best way for you to avoid a contested divorce is by arriving at a consensus with your spouse regarding such matters as spousal support (if desired), or the terms of property division or child custody arrangements. If you and your spouse are on civilized terms, you should attempt to involve your spouse in the divorce process as early as possible. This will ensure that he or she is not surprised by your actions and therefore less likely to contest the divorce.