Divorce Attorneys in Baldwin County, AL
Divorce is a difficult situation. When issues divide a household and people can no longer stay married, the road ahead may seem worrisome. You are not alone. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. The first step is picking the right attorney to guide you through your legal matter. Stone Crosby, P.C. has been a staple in the Alabama legal community for over 100 years. Our established family law practice is dedicated to clients who need legal guidance and representation through the divorce process. Before a divorce can be finalized, there are marital issues that need to be resolved, including child support, child custody, alimony, and property distribution. While some people can work out these issues by avoiding litigation, others are not able and find themselves in court. In either situation, our firm is ready to serve. Contact Stone Crosby, P.C.
Residency requirement & waiting periods for divorce in Alabama
Alabama law requires that one spouse be a resident and reside in the state at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce. The waiting period for a divorce in the state is 30 days from the filing of a summons and complaint.
Grounds for divorce
In order to file for divorce, one party must cite grounds, a reason for the split. Alabama allows residents to file either “fault” grounds or “no-fault” grounds. Fault grounds, according to Alabama code include:
- Cruelty/ violence
- Pregnancy unknown to the husband
- Incarceration for 2 years, with total jail time exceeding 7 years
- Crime against nature before or after marriage
- Substance abuse
- Institutionalization (mental hospital) of at least 5 years
No-fault grounds provide a person the means to a divorce without having to prove or even allege wrongdoing, but that there is no reconciliation to be had by either party. No-fault grounds include:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage of 2 years
- Voluntary abandonment for 1 year
- Incompatibility of temperament
A contested divorce occurs when a couple cannot come to terms and litigation is necessary. The couple will often choose between fault grounds and no-fault grounds to get a divorce. The difference lies in the ability to answer or defend oneself against fault grounds. Simply put, fault grounds are a case of their own in a way. If a person cites fault grounds as a means for the divorce, the other party could defend themselves against the accusation, including stating that they were forgiven by evidence of the couple having relations after the accused incident. For this reason, many people turn to no-fault grounds, providing a path towards divorce that circumvents many of these issues.
A divorce complaint will be filed with the court. The non-filing party must be served, and the complaint can be answered. With no issue, discovery should commence, and motions filed to obtain information and evidence. Discovery is a time-consuming process that can involve investigation, depositions, subpoenas for documents, interrogatories that must be answered, and more. During discovery, parties may file for temporary custody, support, or visitation during the course of the case.
The court may explore the practicality of alternative dispute resolution. If possible, the state wants couples to resolve their matter without litigation. If this is not feasible, a final court hearing will enter a final divorce judgment, also known as a decree, and resolve contested matters. Once the divorce decree is granted, the marriage is dissolved. Parties can appeal decisions within 42 days.
Alabama provides two types of divorce; contested and uncontested. An uncontested divorce can occur when couples can agree to terms and file a divorce agreement. Generally, a couple will employ no-fault grounds and work through their issues, whether through mediation or otherwise, coming to an agreement on all relevant marital issues. Once everything is addressed, a divorce agreement can be executed and filed with the court. The couple will need to wait around 30 days from the date of filing before the court will review the case. Without issue, a judge should issue a final divorce decree, ending the marriage.
Stone Crosby, P.C. provides effective mediation services for couples who wish to avoid the pitfalls of litigation and work out their marital issues in a series of constructive negotiation sessions. Acting as a neutral facilitator, one of our certified mediators will work to help the couple resolve issues and sign a settlement agreement to be used in court by way of an uncontested divorce if they so choose. Mediation often saves time and money while mitigating the impact of the divorce on the couple and their children.
Contact Stone Crosby, P.C.
If you are getting divorced, you have choices to make. Having quality legal support is important when making significant decisions about your future. If you have children, mitigating the impact of the divorce should be a paramount issue to consider. Our firm believes in tailoring our legal services to meet the needs of our clients. Our goal is to help you dissolve your legal matter in the most efficient and practical manner. For a consultation with one of our attorneys or mediators, contact Stone Crosby, P.C.