Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in Huntsville, Ala. Divorce Cases
Alabama Divorce FAQs
Navigating the process of divorce can be overwhelming and confusing. So, we have listed questions we typically get from our clients to help the people considering a divorce to help them get the answers.
Do you require a specific reason to file for a divorce?
In Alabama, there exist several grounds for divorce. However, the courts in Alabama also grant "no-fault" divorces; that is, neither spouse was at fault for the marriage breakdown. Typically, such divorces are founded on the "incompatibility" between the spouses and "irreconcilable differences" between them.
How is this going to affect my relationship with my kids?
In Alabama, if the parties cannot settle all divorce matters, including custody, before a trial, then the court decides child custody based on the child's best interests. The parents know what is in the best interest of their children so that the divorcing couple can come up with a co-parenting or child custody plan on their own. However, suppose the parents cannot agree on an arrangement or feel ill-equipped to develop a co-parenting plan. There, the court will step in to decide what is in the best interest of the child by considering the factors like the schooling need of the child, the child's overall health and well-being, the child's relationships with each parent, and the parent's ability to support the child's growth and well-being.
What will happen to my retirement savings, car, house, furniture, and other property?
Luckily, Alabama has the principle of "equitable division." It means that when the courts decide the division of assets between the spouses, they will consider the circumstances of each party, marital history, and the length of the marriage. The court will then determine what will amount to fair division of assets based on these parameters. It is unnecessary that you have to rely on the court to divide the assets. There is always an option for the parties to create an arrangement to divide their assets with an agreement. Any asset used for the "common benefit of the marriage" is subject to division in Alabama.
Which court will have jurisdiction or decide my divorce case?
In Alabama, the circuit courts have the exclusive power, or jurisdiction, to decide on divorce matters. It is so because, in Alabama, the circuit courts are the trial courts and have jurisdiction to entertain the issues relating to family law. The circuit courts in Alabama are further divided into distinct judicial districts, which are 41 in number.
If you object to the ruling by the circuit court, you can file an appeal against such a decision before the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. Similarly, an appeal arising from the conclusion of the Court of Appeals can be filed before the Alabama Supreme Court. In the Huntsville area, most divorce complaints are filed in Madison, Limestone, or Morgan counties.
Where in Alabama should I file for divorce?
The non-filing party, i.e., the party who isn't asking for divorce called the defendant, lives in Alabama. The party asking for the divorce, i.e., the plaintiff, should initiate the divorce proceeding by filing a complaint or summons before the county's circuit court where the defendant resides. The complaint and the summons can also be filed before the circuit court in the county where both plaintiff and defendant lived during the marriage and before separation.
However, if the defendant does not reside in Alabama, the plaintiff can be filed by the plaintiff before the county's circuit court where the plaintiff lives. It will be essential to show that the plaintiff is a "bona fide resident" of Alabama. This means that the plaintiff lives and maintains a residence within Alabama and has been doing so for six months before the complaint was filed.
I was served with a divorce complaint. What should I do?
When served with your spouse's complaint about divorce, you will have to file your reply using a document called "answer." Typically, the answer contains a point-by-point rebuttal raised, detailing whether you agree or disagree with the contents. The answer also outlines your legal defenses. Where you disagree with the contents, you must challenge it by making the submissions that support your arguments.
Under the laws of Alabama, you do not have to verify your answer by oath. Meaning the answer is not a sworn statement and cannot function as a piece of evidence. This means it need not be a sworn statement, and it can't be used as evidence. The answer is only supposed the clarify the issues.
What is a temporary order?
There is a minimum 30-day period of waiting in Alabama before the court can give a final ruling. However, that does not mean that the circuit court judges are prevented from issuing "temporary orders" during the said waiting period. The rationale for the temporary orders is that the divorcing couple's financial and child custody-related issues are stabilized. Either party can move the court to pass an interim order relating to child custody issues, child and spousal support, visitation, and occupancy of the marital residence. The temporary order ceases to affect as soon as the final judgment on the case is passed. This temporary order or motion is called a motion for Pendente Lite.
When will my divorce come into effect?
The circuit court is obligate to wait for 30 days post the date of filing the complaint and the summons in Alabama. It is not an issue usually but might become problematic for those looking for a quick divorce without litigation on all the problems.
Will I be able to keep my husband's name post-divorce?
This is at the court's discretion. It is possible to prevent the ex-wife from using the husband's name or even the ex-husband's initials in Alabama. The court typically makes such a decision by looking into the facts and circumstances and applying common sense and good judgment while assessing those facts. The court will either allow the ex-wife to use the ex-husband's name or direct her to revert to her maiden name. If children are involved, the ex-wife will almost always be able to maintain the children's last name.
Contact our experienced divorce lawyers near you if you want more Answers.
We can help you in Alabama divorce, child custody, child-custody modification, online divorce, and family law matters. Our Alabama divorce law firm has won numerous awards for family law and divorce. We regularly represent clients facing divorce, child custody, child custody modifications, and military divorce throughout Huntsville, Madison, Limestone, and Morgan Counties. We pride ourselves on giving each client the individual attention they need, and our representation in the divorce fight is dictated by our client's wishes. The Alabama Bar prohibits lawyers from advertising their services are superior to other lawyers, so we can't do that. But decades of experience, thousands of happy clients, and numerous awards for being the best divorce and family lawyer by our peers demonstrate that there is a difference in the choices you have when deciding who represents you during an Alabama divorce process. Don't make the wrong decision; hire the best divorce local divorce lawyer you can afford.
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