Alabama is a "no fault" divorce state. That essentially means that either the wife or the husband can get a divorce for any reason. You have likely heard the phrases:
- "an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage"
- "irreconcilable differences"
Those concepts establish the minimum threshold for an Alabama divorce. As you can see, the threshold is not every high. In a nutshell, you are a candidate for an Alabama divorce if you and your spouse argue.
Every divorce case begins with a civil complaint filed in the Circuit Court. In the Birmingham division of the Jefferson County Circuit Court, there are three judges that exclusively hear divorce cases. In Shelby County, divorce cases are assigned to each of the Circuit Court judges.
Before a judge can enter a divorce decree, the case must have been pending in the court for at least 30 days. I call this the 30 day "cooling off period". The 30 day waiting period is effectively not applicable to contested divorces primarily because you cannot get a contested divorce case to trial that fast. However, in uncontested divorces, the 30 day waiting period provides for a minimum amount of time to pass for the parties to contemplate whether they truly want a divorce.
I tell my clients to think of a divorce as breaking up a business, except that it is a "family" business. A divorce case cannot end until all of the family assets have been divided; the payment of debts has been allocated between the parties; provisions have been made for the children (child custody, visitation and child support) and a determination whether there is a dependant spouse such that alimony is required.
Property settlement includes the division of marital assets and the allocation of marital debts. Alabama is an "equitable division" state for the purposes of property settlement. In a nutshell, Alabama does not require that a property settlement be "equal"; just that the marital assets and marital debts be divided "equitably". Factors that the trial court should consider, when making a property settlement include:
- the duration of the marriage
- the parties' age and health
- the couple's accustomed standard of living
- the conduct of the parties as related to the breakdown of the marriage
- the source, value, and type of property to be divided
I recognize that divorce is not all about the money. However, a successful divorce is about establishing the assets and your support from the date of the divorce forward. Clyde Riley will safeguard your best interests by providing sound legal advice and excellent representation from an attorney you can trust. Call me at 205-212-5577 so that I may help you with your divorce.