A divorce is not an easy process which an individual can hurriedly complete. Individuals going through a divorce process often have little or no experience regarding divorce matters within the state and the legal requirements. Due to such unfamiliarity, before settling on an approach, consider the various requirements and processes available within Alabama. Through such understanding, an individual avoids expensive divorce mistakes.
To save time and costs, familiarize yourself with the process of filing for divorce and the forms used by the state. In this article, we’ll go over the three main ways to divorce – Do-it-yourself, online divorce, attorney-assisted. When you understand and are informed on these three concepts, you can make a quick cost and time-saving divorce approach.
The divorce process in Alabama
Preparing Your Forms
The Administrative offices in Alabama offer forms on their website. The initial forms to fill out are the Complaint about Divorce and Summons. If you are the one filling, you are considered the plaintiff, and your spouse is the defendant. Collecting and filling out the forms yourself is known as a DIY approach. It is vital to ensure that the proper venue is used.
Everything should be done in the county of residence. Remember that the state requires you or your spouse to have lived in the county for a minimum of six months. There is also a requirement to state the legal ground for the divorce. In Alabama, there are both fault-based grounds and no-fault grounds. Finally, understand the type of divorce: contested or uncontested.
Contested and Uncontested Divorces in Alabama
Many people go through an uncontested divorce since it’s simple, fast, and allows you to use online divorce service providers and a DIY approach. An uncontested divorce doesn’t require you to have a lawyer to facilitate the divorce, saving you the expenses that come with legal representation.
For the divorce to be uncontested, the spouses must agree on all divorce matters, such as child custody, division of assets and liabilities, alimony, and child support. Otherwise, it is a contested divorce. For a contested divorce, it is essential to seek out the services of a lawyer.
Fault and No-Fault Divorce
When you have established that uncontested divorce requirements have been met, determine if there is a fault issue. The state of Alabama identifies fault and no-fault divorces. Neither spouse blames the other in a no-fault divorce, and therefore no proof is required in court. No-fault divorce grounds in Alabama include an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, incompatibility, and voluntary separation for at least a year.
On the other hand, when the divorce has a fault basis, it is vital to consider getting a lawyer, just like in a contested divorce, as the fault must be proven in court. Faults ground include adultery, imprisonment, incapacitation from entering into the marriage state, frequent drunkenness or drug abuse, incurable insanity, wife pregnancy by another man at the time of marriage, domestic violence or abuse, being apart from the other spouse for two years.
If you have analyzed and determined the type of divorce as a no-fault, uncontested divorce, you may continue with the process in a DIY approach.
Filing Your Forms
Along with filling out the forms for an uncontested divorce, the divorce agreement between spouses needs to be put in writing. When filing the forms with the clerk, the divorce settlement agreement should also be presented. Upon receiving your documents, the clerk will return a stamped copy to you.
Serving Your Forms
A copy of your complaint must be served to your spouse, and various approaches may be used to achieve this. In an uncontested, no-fault divorce, when both spouses are already in agreement, the spouse can waive service by completing and signing Acceptance or Waiver of service.
Otherwise, the papers should be served using the Sheriff’s office services or an independent third party at least 19 years of age. In this case, an Affidavit of Service must be completed as a certification for the court.
Complete Additional divorce forms
After service, additional forms that may be required include Vital Statistics Form, Affidavit of Residency, Testimony of Plaintiff, and those necessary when there are children involved.
Divorce over the internet in Alabama
When considering the DIY approach, it is critical to understand if, through the available guide, you can successfully fill in the forms for court filing. Even when the state makes the documents available, it may be difficult for an individual to go through the process quickly and without help.
To save time and hassle, an individual can use online divorce services. Getting the right online divorce service provider is critical for a quick divorce process. Such services come at a fee but are far less expensive than hiring lawyers.
The divorce websites handle selecting and completing the divorce documents for you. It is a very convenient option for a no-fault and uncontested divorce. Understanding the nature of your divorce case is essential before proceeding to use divorce over the internet service. Know when the services of a lawyer are needed. A process may fail due to a wrong move in picking an approach to your divorce.
Online divorce mistakes that may cost you in Alabama
Failing to educate yourself
As stated at the onset, many individuals are new to the divorce process. Failure to educate yourself on the Alabama law and how the divorce process plays out in the state will prolong your divorce case, cost you more money, and consume much of your time. Educate yourself through researching free online sources, consulting qualified sources like lawyers, among others, on your specific divorce.
This will help you avoid simple drawbacks in the divorce case where you may use an online approach fault or contested divorce due to lack of proper guidance and knowledge on what works best under different circumstances.
Assumptions in an uncontested divorce
Contested divorces are expensive, hectic, and often stressful to individuals, and therefore individuals usually take the uncontested divorce route. But don’t assume that your spouse is in for an uncontested divorce.
Assuming may cost you later when you realize that some issues can’t be settled and a lawyer is needed. Understand your spouse’s wants, and only after you have verified what they want can you proceed in filling for the uncontested divorce.
Low or no plan when filing
Wanting to get done as fast as possible, an individual may take the shortest route and agree on a settlement only to realize later that there were matters they should have taken into consideration before filing. Maybe you should have asked for alimony or more child support, among others. Failure to put proper thought into a divorce process and rushing into a DIY divorce may prove costly in the long-run.
Divorce in Alabama requires a clear understanding of the state laws and lots of thought before choosing an approach. Divorce over the internet is cheaper than getting an attorney, and it is quicker to process, but the divorce must be uncontested. Using the online approach is the best strategy to save time and hassle.
An attorney may be expensive but remember they can offer you guidance when you need it. Consider the use of an attorney, especially for contested and fault divorces, to ensure that your divorce case is well settled and avoid surprises in the future.