Divorce

Trusted Huntsville Divorce Attorneysdivorce proceedings

Divorce is difficult regardless of whether or not the divorce is uncontested or contested. It is essential that you hire an attorney with whom you are completely comfortable, someone you can trust with your family, your finances, and your future. Sometimes one spouse will try to convince the other spouse that he or she does not need an attorney. This is not true. Each party in a divorce proceeding needs to be represented. Sure, you could go forward without an attorney, but you will not have anyone looking out for your interests. This is not the time to represent yourself or be cavalier, even in an uncontested divorce. Once the documents are signed, it is difficult, if not impossible, to change the terms. Choosing the right attorney to help you through this transition is essential. The peace of mind you will have after consulting with and being represented by the right attorney is priceless. At New Beginnings, we have years of experience in handling divorce cases and many of our caring and knowledgeable staff members and attorneys have first hand experience with divorce and child custody issues as well. This page is designed to answer some of the most basic questions presented to our attorneys and staff. It is not designed to take the place of a thorough consultation with an attorney. You can schedule a consultation by clicking here or by calling us at 256-518-9529.

Does someone have to be at fault in order to get divorced in Alabama?

No, no one has to be at fault in order for a couple to get divorced in Alabama. However, divorce should never be entered into lightly and should never be threatened during an argument. In Alabama, a couple may be divorced based upon incompatibility of temperament or irretrievable breakdown. However, couples may also be divorced under certain fault grounds including:

  • Physical and incurable incapacitation at the time of marriage
  • Adultery
  • Voluntary abandonment for a period of one year
  • Imprisonment for two years with a sentence of at least seven years
  • Commission of a crime against nature either before or after marriage
  • Being addicted to habitual drunkenness or habitual use of morphine, opium, cocaine, or another drug after the marriage
  • Hopeless and incurable insanity with confinement in a mental hospital for a period of five years
My spouse has filed for divorce, do I have to agree with the divorce in order for the divorce to be granted?

No, once one party files for divorce, the court can grant the divorce with or without the agreement of the other spouse. However, if the spouse who filed the original divorce complaint chooses to dismiss that complaint it is possible for the case to go away.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is one where the parties have reached an agreement regarding all issues related to their divorce including child custody, visitation, child support, alimony, division of assets, division of debts, and payments for the preparation and filing of the divorce documents. Typically in this situation, one party will hire an attorney to draft the documents necessary to file the divorce. The other party should, but does not always, hire an attorney to represent him or her to make sure the agreement is fair. Once all the documents are signed and filed, the documents must sit in the clerk’s office or judge’s office for a minimum of thirty (30) days. This is called a “cooling–off period”. Once this period has expired, the judge can sign the Final Decree of Divorce divorcing the parties. With the current caseload being experienced in our family courts, it typically takes between thirty–one (31) to sixty (60) days for a divorce decree to be signed.

What is a contested divorce?

In contrast to an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot immediately reach an agreement regarding the terms of the divorce. This does not mean that an agreement will not be reached at some future time, but initially, the parties cannot agree. One party files a Complaint for Divorce and has the other party served.

What happens in a contested divorce after the Complaint is filed?

After the Complaint is filed, it still has to be served upon the other party. This can be done by sheriff, certified mail, or special process server. Once the party is served, he or she has thirty (30) days to answer. Further, the Court typically enters a Standing Pendente Lite Order. Pendente Lite means pending the litigation. This standing order sets forth the rights and responsibilities of both parties during the time the case is pending. These standing orders can be amended under appropriate circumstances. In those courts that do not have standing orders, the party filing the complaint will often ask for a pendente lite hearing. Whether there is a standing order or a hearing to determine what will happen pendente lite, this does not mean that the terms of that order will match the final outcome of the litigation. Just because one party has custody of the children under the standing order, the court can still grant custody of the children to either party after hearing all the evidence at the final hearing. Also, each party will request that the other party answer certain questions and produce documents. These are necessary for your attorney to prepare your case for settlement or trial. Sometimes, depositions are also necessary. These are sessions where the other attorney will take your testimony under oath. Your attorney will likely take the deposition of your spouse as well. After all discovery is completed, the parties often proceed to mediation. In mediation, you, your spouse, and your respective attorneys will meet with a registered domestic mediator who acts as an impartial third party to help the parties resolve their disputes and reach an agreement. Many cases will be resolved in mediation. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case proceeds to trial.

What will this cost?

It is very difficult to determine what the final cost of a contested divorce will be. We do our very best to keep your costs low by utilizing the strengths of our staff members in drafting necessary documents and communicating information with our clients. We also use the latest technology to reduce costs as well.

Questions Frequently Asked of Huntsville Divorce Lawyers

While each divorce is unique, there are a number of common questions posed by clients of New Beginnings. If you find yourself considering a divorce and would like to speak to a compassionate and zealous divorce attorney, consider contacting our office right away. We are your North Alabama source for divorce help and hope to answer all your questions about this difficult and personal process.

What are the grounds for divorce in Alabama?

The divorce process begins with the filing of a complaint, which states the reason why the filing party (plaintiff) wishes to end the marriage. If you live in Huntsville, you would file your complaint with the clerk of the Madison County Circuit Court. You can choose to file for divorce based on the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, which is also known as a no-fault divorce. This type of complaint does not allege misconduct by either party and represents a finding by both parties that any further attempt to reconcile the relationship would be futile, impractical and not in the best interests of the family. Spouses may also choose to pursue a divorce based on fault grounds, which require the filing party to present evidence proving one of the following occurred during the marriage:

  • Physical, incurable incapacity
  • Adultery
  • Voluntary abandonment longer than one year
  • Imprisonment for longer than two years pursuant to a sentence of longer than seven years
  • Crimes against nature
  • Substance abuse
  • Incompatibility of temperament
  • Confinement in a mental institution for a period of at least five years
  • Pregnancy at the time of marriage by one other than the husband
  • Domestic violence
  • Living separate and apart for a period of at least two years
How long does the Alabama divorce process take?

As your divorce lawyer will explain during the initial meeting, each divorce presents its own unique set of facts and circumstances that can affect the amount of time it takes to resolve each issue. A relatively short marriage with modest marital property and no children will settle much more quickly than a 30-year marriage with children and sizable marital assets. If one party to the divorce is not a resident of Alabama, the filing party must be a resident of Alabama for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.  If both parties are residents of the State of Alabama, a divorce can be filed at any time.  Once the complaint is filed, Alabama law requires a minimum 30-day waiting period before a divorce is granted. However, if the other spouse files an answer raising allegations of marital misconduct, the process could take significantly longer. The parties must also agree to the terms of alimony, child support, child custody, visitation and the division of marital property.

Learn more by calling an experienced divorce lawyer today

Divorce can be time consuming, emotionally exhausting and financially draining. At New Beginnings, we can help you make the best of an already difficult situation by offering sound advice and wise counsel. For a Huntsville divorce attorney you can trust, contact us today.

The Alabama Divorce Process

When searching for a divorce lawyer in Huntsville, it is important to choose someone with not only effective legal advocacy, but compassion and concern for your family’s situation. At New Beginnings, we offer both a strong knowledge of Alabama divorce law and procedure along with firsthand experience and empathy.

Starting the Divorce Process

The threshold prerequisite in any Huntsville divorce proceeding is meeting the residency requirement. If you and your spouse are both residents of the State of Alabama, you have met that requirement.  However, to obtain a divorce from an Alabama court if your spouse is not a resident of the State of Alabma, you must be a bona fide resident of the state for at least six months prior to filing your complaint. From there, you will work with your lawyer who will draft a Divorce Complaint. There are a number of grounds for divorce available in Alabama, including adultery, domestic violence or abandonment. Alabama also offers a no-fault divorce option allowing spouses to end their marriage without a finding of fault. A no-fault divorce requires each party to admit that the relationship is irretrievably broken and an attempt to reconcile is not in the best interests of the family. As a resident of Huntsville, the Divorce Complaint would be filed in Madison County. Once the other spouse is served with the complaint, Alabama law requires an answer to that complaint to be filed within 30 days. The responding spouse may affirm or deny any allegations made in the complaint and could also raise different issues in the response. If the other spouse fails to respond to the divorce complaint, the court may issue a default divorce. Marital Settlement Agreement Your divorce lawyer will help you negotiate certain ancillary matters relating to your divorce. For instance, the division of marital property tends to be an emotionally-charged topic lending itself to intervention by legal counsel to negotiate the details. Also, if you and your spouse have children born of the marriage, you will need to agree on custody and a visitation schedule to serve the best interest of your children. Alimony, also known as spousal support, is another issue that we can help you work out.

Divorce Litigation

Sometimes, settlement negotiations prove futile and it becomes necessary to present each issue to a judge. If this happens in your case, you can rest assured that your case will be meticulously prepared and zealously presented to the court by our attorneys.

Contact Us for Help Preparing Your Divorce

At New Beginnings, we can say “we’ve been there.” We know what divorce is like and are eager to apply our comprehensive knowledge to your situation to achieve the best possible outcome. Please contact us today for more information about our services.

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