There are generally two types of divorce available in most states: contested and uncontested. A “contested divorce” means that the spouses don’t agree on some or all aspects of the divorce, so the judge will hold a trial, witnesses will be called, and the process will take quite a while. In contrast, in an uncontested divorce, also called a “simple divorce,” the spouses agree on all of the issues required to end their marriage, so there’s no need for the judge to hold a trial.
This article discusses uncontested divorce in Alabama. If you have further questions regarding whether or how to obtain an uncontested divorce in Alabama, you should consult with an Alabama divorce lawyer.
In Alabama, an uncontested divorce essentially means that the spouses have agreed to divorce and how to separate their lives. In an uncontested divorce, one spouse files for divorce based on a no-fault ground (incompatibility or irreconcilable differences) and the other spouse agrees.
In addition, both spouses have to reach agreement on all major issues involved in a divorce. The issues that must be agreed upon include child custody, division of property, and division of debt. Because child support is usually determined automatically according to the child support guidelines, it’s not usually subject to negotiation and therefore doesn’t need to be agreed upon for an uncontested divorce in Alabama.
Because there is no need for a trial or multiple court appearances, the biggest benefit of an uncontested divorce is that is it significantly less expensive than a contested divorce. Uncontested divorces are also quicker.
You don't need to hire a lawyer in order to obtain an uncontested divorce in Alabama, in other words you can represent yourself. Even though there is no court battle in an uncontested divorce, lawyers can still assist spouses through the uncontested divorce process by providing advice, making sure paperwork is completed correctly, and filing the paperwork in a timely manner.
In general, in order to obtain an uncontested divorce in Alabama, the following criteria must be met:
The required forms and fees for an uncontested divorce in Alabama vary from county to county. You should check with the court in the county in which you will be filing to see what forms and documents are required for an uncontested divorce.
The basic process to obtain an uncontested divorce begins by filing papers at the court in the county in which either you or your spouse lives. For more information, instructions and forms required for filing an uncontested divorce check Alabamalegalhelp.org, the Baldwin County Court Systems, Family and Domestic Relations Court Info, and theMadison County Circuit Court sites.
The first form that must be filed is the Complaint, which explains to the court what you are seeking (an uncontested divorce) and why you are seeking it (incompatibility or irreconcilable differences). You must also include in the Complaint basic information about yourself and your spouse. If you have any children under the age of 19 with your spouse, you will need to fill out additional forms about the children, custody, and child support.
If all of your papers are in order, you have to wait 30 days after filing for an uncontested divorce before the judge will sign your divorce decree. If your paperwork is not in order, you will be asked to correct it and it will delay the process.