Obtaining a divorce in Alabama, just as it is in most states, involves satisfying certain requirements pertaining to residence and jurisdiction. This means that one of the individuals had to have resided in Alabama for a minimum of six months; otherwise, both must currently reside there. There are similar requirements concerning the county as well, for example, if you are filing for divorce you may either file the papers in the county where you both lived at the time you separated or file the papers in your spouse’s county. If the spouse does not currently reside in the state, you will have to file papers in your county.
If the divorce is uncontested then it may be filed in the county of your choice and since there is a waiting period of 30 days before the divorce can be final some people decide to go ahead and file even while they are still negotiating their terms for the uncontested divorce.
In Alabama there is not a great amount of time spent on trying to figure out on what grounds the divorce should be filed, there are many of them listed in the statute, however many require finding one person at fault, such as adultery, abandonment, drug use, violence, etc. However, most divorces of today are given on what is considered “no-fault” grounds of irretrievable breakdown and incompatibility. Those are two different grounds, or reasons, in the statutes, however, you will often hear attorneys use the terms interchangeably.
The state of Alabama does not automatically assume property needs to be divided 50/50, the state follows the equitable distribution law, meaning the liabilities and assets should be divided fairly and equitably, but not always equally. There is no set formula used for the division of property, it may be who contributed more, who needs the most help and possibly even who did something bad (adultery, violence).
When it comes to child custody, theoretically both parents start on equal ground, but Mothers are usually favored, especially if the child is young. If a father has objections then he will need to prove that the mom has done something that has placed the child in danger and is apt to do it again. Or, the mom has done something that is a signal to the child and will continue to send those signals that are completely unreasonable. Of course there are a number of factors involved when deciding custody and actually Alabama favors joint custody, meaning joint legally and physically, including jointly making decisions. No matter what the custody agreement says, unless there is an order from the court that states differently, both parents will have complete access to any and all information pertaining to the child.
The state of Alabama uses certain guidelines to calculate child support, starting by looking at the total income and then figuring what portion of the income each parent provides. Then they take that figure and consider how many children are involved and add in any extra calculations that may be necessary such as child care costs and health insurance; and that becomes the monthly figure.
Alimony is designed to assist the spouse that has the lower earning potential to be able to remain as close as possible to the type of standard of living that they had as a married couple. The amount of alimony is more up to a judge’s discretion than the amount of child support and as a general rule alimony is not normally awarded when the marriage was short term. Alimony is usually awarded when one partner was more dependent economically on the other one for most of the marriage.