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BROWSE OUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BELOW:

Q
What is the difference between ‘contested’ and ‘uncontested’ divorce?
AA contested divorce is one in which the husband and wife cannot come to an agreement on one or several issues related to the termination of their marriage. Where the partners cannot come to an agreement, even with the aid of their respective counsels, the couple must then take their issue(s) to a court to be decided.

Contested divorces are a common scenario, given that there are numerous issues to be worked out between a couple that has decided to break their union. Some of these issues are sensitive subjects such as: custody of children and child support, division of assets and property, allocation of debts, and alimony.

A divorce is uncontested when the partners seeking to terminate their marriage agree on each and every item and issue related to the ending of their marriage. This does not necessarily mean that the divorce is amicable, but merely that all disputes between husband and wife were resolved outside of the courtroom.

An uncontested divorce is usually the preferred situation for the parties involved. The process is more time efficient and much less costly than litigation.

Q
What will happen to my property in a divorce?
AThere is no statutory provision in Alabama for property division. Under Alabama case law, Alabama is an “equitable distribution” state and the judge has full discretion to divide any jointly owned real estate or personal property, but does not have the authority to award an individual’s separate property to the other individual (regardless of whether the individual’s separate property was obtained before or after the marriage). Gifts and inheritances are considered separate property and are not subject to division unless they have been used for the common benefit of both spouses. The property division need not necessarily be exactly equal, but it must be equitable. Marital fault may be considered in the division of property.
Q
How much does a divorce cost?
AThe answer you don’t want to hear is that it varies and depends on many different factors. The first factor is whether you have a contested or uncontested divorce. If you have a contested divorce, the cost may include issues of children and property, how much discovery is required, and whether or not you go to trial. Besides attorney fees, there may also be filing fees, court costs, and mediation fees.

If you have an uncontested divorce, the cost will be the filing fee of your county (varies from $200’s -$400’s), plus the fee of $350.00 for no children and no property of the marriage or $450.00 if there are children and/or property.  If for any reason, your divorce starts as uncontested (agreement of divorce terms) and then later becomes contested (disagreement), then your filing fee only will be returned so long as nothing has been filed.

Q
Will I have to pay Alimony?
AAlimony is usually only awarded in marriages of 10 years or more and where the income of the two spouses is not equal.Alimony is usually reserved for situations where one spouse has been economically dependent on the other for most of a lengthy marriage. There is a possibility of rehabilitative alimony after shorter marriages. Rehabilitative alimony is the solution some courts apply when one of the spouses needs some time to transition back into the job market.

Alimony provided in periodic payments, known as periodic alimony, may be terminated upon petition of a party to the decree and proof that the spouse receiving such alimony has remarried or that such spouse is living openly or cohabiting with a member of the opposite sex.

Q
How is custody and child support determined?
AAlabama’s policy is to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage.

Joint custody does not necessarily mean equal physical custody. The court shall in every case consider joint custody but may award any form of custody which is determined to be in the best interest of the child. In determining whether joint custody is in the best interest of the child, the court shall consider the same factors considered in awarding sole legal and physical custody and all of the following factors:

  • The agreement or lack of agreement of the parents on joint custody.
  • The past and present ability of the parents to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly.
  • The ability of the parents to encourage the sharing of love, affection, and contact between the child and the other parent.
  • Any history of or potential for child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping.
  • The geographic proximity of the parents to each other as this relates to the practical considerations of joint physical custody. [Based on Alabama State Divorce Code – Chapter 3, Section 30-3-150, 30-3-152]

Child support is determined using the Income Shares model, with the theory that children should continue to receive that same amount of support as if the parents were still together. In making a determination of child support, the court shall apply Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration. [Based on Alabama State Divorce Code – Chapter 3, Section 30-3-155]

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BROWSE OUR HELPFUL LINKS BELOW:

  • Administrative Office of the Courts: Providing Alabama law, legal forms and court information; includes child support and juvenile resources.
    http://www.alacourt.gov/
  • Child Advocacy Center of East Alabama:Providing a safe and friendly environment for children of sexually and physically abused children and their families to help deal with the effects of abuse in a manner that promotes healing.
    (334) 705-0770
    http://www.cacea.net/
  • East Alabama Mental Health:Providing outpatient services such as day treatment, counseling, family and children services and psychiatric services.
    (334) 742-2700
    http://www.eastalabamamhc.org/
  • Domestic Violence Intervention Center:Providing intake screening, emergency housing, confidential counseling, and referral to needed services.
    (334) 749-1515
    http://www.dvic1.org/
  • Lee County Department of Human Resources:Providing child/adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation services, child support programs and other family assistance programs.
    (334) 737-1100
    (334) 737-1111 Child Abuse Hotline
    http://www.dhr.alabama.gov
  • Lee County Probate Office: Providing services such as notary fees and filing, wills and estates, adoptions, name change, licenses, recordings, and wills.
    (334) 745-9761
    http://www.leeco.us/probate/
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