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When a marriage is irretrievably broken, and the spouses are ready to part ways with one another, managing the legal requirements associated with a divorce could become a hassle. To simplify the process and help reduce some of the stress, we have put together the answer to some of the most pressing questions couples face during a divorce. 

How soon can one get divorced?

A range of factors determine how long a divorce takes—chief among them being whether the divorce is contested. An uncontested divorce is typically much faster than a contested divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the couple is in agreement over all matters involved, such as child custody, spousal support, and property division. Since there is little left for the court to decide, the case is simplified. Hence, the divorce proceedings do not take that long. Further, this is usually a much more affordable option.

In an uncontested divorce, all the couple is required to do is sign a settlement agreement, which would cover each of their marital issues, and then submit it to the court.  

If the judge approves your agreement, there will be no hearing involved with your divorce case, and your divorce will become quick and easy. 

In the case of a contested divorce, however, when the divorcing couple does not find themselves in agreement on the terms of the divorce, the process becomes complicated. Their differences need to be sorted out before the divorce is finalized. If they can’t do it themselves, the court is forced to do it for them. Hence, the couple takes the aid of lawyers to present their case in court. The divorce proceedings correspondingly take longer.

Similarly, state laws regarding divorce have slight differences among them. Thus, the duration of divorce also depends on the state of jurisdiction. Overall, it is difficult to generalize the matter and define the duration of the divorce process, as each case is unique.

Filing fees for an uncontested divorce in Alabama

In Alabama, the filing fees for a divorce will be $390 and $290, respectively, depending upon whether a petitioner has minor children. The fees can also vary slightly depending upon the county where one files for divorce. To get an exact amount, you can contact your local courthouse. In circumstances of financial hardship, the filing fees may be waived.

Divorce over the internet

In the case of an uncontested divorce, a couple may choose to go for a do it yourself online divorce in Alabama. Many reliable online divorce companies offer to handle divorce document preparation and assist couples with filing. Since this will be without an attorney, the cost of divorce will be lower. But to be on the safe side, some couples opt to have an attorney check over the completed documents before filing.

Factors that lay an effect over the timeline of an Alabama divorce

A range of factors has the potential to slow down the divorce process in Alabama. Characteristically, an uncontested divorce in Alabama may be finalized in as little as 30 days (the mandatory waiting period). But it could take a year or longer, depending on your circumstances.

  1. Residency

Filing for divorce in Alabama requires either the petitioner (the spouse who files for divorce) or the respondent (the other spouse) to be an Alabama resident. If the defendant is not a resident of Alabama, then the petitioner should have resided in Alabama for at least six months before he can apply for divorce.

Correspondingly, in case you and your spouse are newcomers in the state of Alabama, you’d have to wait for six months before you can file for divorce.

2. Fault vs. No-Fault grounds for divorce

A factor that has a significant effect over the time taken to finalize your divorce is the grounds over which one files a divorce. In Alabama, both fault-based and no-fault divorces can be filed.

Grounds under which a fault-based divorce may be filed include unrevealed pregnancy at the time of marriage, imprisonment for a couple of years, a mental illness that results in institutionalization, abandonment, violence while a marriage lasts, adultery, habitual drunkenness, and incapacity.

Similarly, a no-fault divorce may be based upon incompatibility or a marriage that has broken down irretrievably. 

Filing a fault-based divorce does bring some advantages for a petitioner, but it also depends upon the circumstances surrounding one’s life. 

Overall, no-fault divorces are much faster, as there is no need to provide evidence or prove fault.

3. Contested issues

A divorcing couple will need to be in agreement over certain issues before a divorce can be finalized. This is regardless of whether it is a fault or a no-fault divorce that one is pursuing. 

It is quintessential for matters such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property division to be finalized before divorce proceedings can move forward and divorce can be finalized. While these matters are not settled, a divorce cannot be finalized. 

An uncontested divorce is faster because all matters are already agreed upon. Contested divorces may last for weeks or months at a stretch. And if a court trial is necessary, the cases will last longer still.

4. 30-day waiting period

It is important to note that even if the spouses agree on the no-fault divorce and each issue concerned, a 30-day waiting period is mandatory. This will initiate from the time that the petitioner files for a divorce. After the 30-day waiting period, the divorce can be finalized.

When can the aid of a professional Alabama divorce attorney be priceless for a divorcing couple?

Being in control can do a lot towards speeding up the divorce process. Having a qualified attorney assisting will ensure that the finalization for your divorce is quicker. The aid of a professional Alabama attorney is priceless in this regard.

A divorce lawyer will make it easier for you to manage the paperwork. Similarly, a professional divorce attorney will be thorough with the legalities involved with a divorce and make it easier to understand the pros and cons of going for a fault or a no-fault divorce.

With a professional divorce attorney’s aid, someone seeking a divorce is going to be surer about all important matters. Beyond litigation, the aid of an experienced divorced attorney will make it easier for one to negotiate or mediate with one’s spouse.

If the matters do not sort out at this stage, a couple may then choose to litigate for a divorce. A proficient and vigilant divorce attorney will speed up the proceedings and ensure that your interests are safeguarded in the finest of ways.    

If a couple can reach an agreement without having to pay for a lawyer, they have a few things to worry about with regards to their divorce. Few things work as well as when a professional divorce attorney is involved. The attorney will know the best option for any given situation, as they are familiar with all local rules. Hence, with an attorney’s aid, one can get the quickest possible divorce in Alabama.

The obvious downside to hiring an attorney is the cost and being held captive by their schedules. Therefore, when choosing the best way to get a divorce, a lot depends on how simple your divorce is. 

For uncontested divorces, couples have many options, from DIY to online divorce services to legal support. Therefore, it is always better to go for an uncontested divorce while a contested divorce does not become a must.

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