Alabama Legal Grounds for Divorce
Residency is the first requirement that must be met before a person may file for divorce in Alabama. One of the partners must be a proven Alabama resident for six months before filing. Grounds must be selected for the divorce complaint and these grounds must be substantiated or the judge may not hear the complaint.
Most marriage complaints are based on no-fault grounds. These include:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- Voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year
There are times when circumstances dictate that a fault-based divorce is in the best interests of the complainant. Alabama’s code lists such grounds:
- Incapacity of one partner at the time of the wedding
- Imprisonment for two years of a sentence of seven or more years
- A crime against nature, before or after the marriage
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Five years in a mental institution without hope of improvement
- Pregnancy of the wife at the time of marriage without the husband’s knowledge
- Domestic violence
- Two-year separation where the wife has no financial support from the husband
Jonathan Lusk can advise you regarding the grounds that best match your situation.
Filing for divorce in Alabama
An uncontested, no-fault divorce with mutually approved property division and child custody, support, and visitation agreements is most quickly resolved — sometimes in just a few months. However, couples seldom get to that point without legal counsel to protect each party’s rights while drawing up agreements that the court can approve. In contested divorces, spouses unwilling to work together to negotiate terms find themselves at the mercy of the judge — who may make decisions unpopular with all involved — and with much larger lawyer fees.
Dividing assets in an Alabama divorce
Alabama is an equitable distribution state. This means that when a couple does not form their own agreement, property is divided between spouses according to what the circuit court considers fair. There is seldom a 50/50 division of assets. Each spouse may keep property they owned before the marriage, as well as gifts and inheritances personally received during the marriage. Other considerations may include the custodial parent receiving the family home and fault-based grounds.
The process gets difficult when there is a large amount of property such as closely held businesses, stocks and bonds, blended investments, and luxury items. It is important to have legal counsel well-versed in the Alabama code as well as a strong financial background to protect your property and negotiate the best possible agreement. Jonathan Lusk is especially adept at providing creative solutions to seemingly unsolvable financial problems.