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Divorce Laws in Alabama

The State of Alabama has a thirty-day waiting period, after the time of filing, before divorce can be granted. Mediation can be court ordered.
Residency and jurisdiction
Both spouses must currently live in Alabama or one spouse must have lived in Alabama for at least six months immediately prior to filing. If one spouse is filing for divorce it must be filed in the county where the non-filing spouse lives or in the county where both spouses lived together when the separation occurred. If both spouses are filing an uncontested divorce they may file in any county in the state.

Grounds for Divorce
Alabama allows fault and no fault divorce. Grounds for divorce are as follows:

  • In favor of either party, when the other was, at the time of the marriage physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state.
  • For adultery.
  • For voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year next preceding the filing of the complaint.
  • Imprisonment in any state penitentiary for two years, the sentence being for seven years or longer.
  • The commission of the crime against nature, whether with mankind or beast, either before or after marriage.
  • For becoming addicted after marriage to habitual drunkenness or to habitual use of opium, morphine, cocaine or other similar drug.
  • Upon application of either the husband or wife, when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together.
  • Confinement of a spouse in a mental hospital for a period of five successive years, if that spouse is hopelessly and incurably insane at the time of the filing for the divorce.
  • Upon application of either party, when the court finds there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family.
  • In favor of the husband, when the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage, without his knowledge or agency.
  • In favor of either spouse when the other has committed actual violence on his or her person, attended with danger to life or health, or when from his or her conduct there is reasonable apprehension of such violence.
  • In favor of the wife when the wife has lived, or shall have lived separate and apart from the bed and board of the husband for two years and without support from him for two years next preceding the filing of the complaint, and she has bona fide resided in this state during said period.

Property Division
Alabama is an “equitable distribution state”, meaning the property is not divided 50/50 but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. In marriages which have endured ten years or longer retirement benefits are usually divided 50/50 between spouses.

Child Custody and Support
Alabama prefers joint custody, but not necessarily equal time between parents. Regardless of custody arrangements both parents have access to all information and records for their children, unless prevented by court order.

Alabama child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. Over half of Alabama child support arrangements involve garnishment of wages known as an Income Withholding Order, meaning that support payments are withheld from pay.

Spousal support
The judge has more discretion in determining spousal support than child support. The goal of spousal support is to maintain the same standard of living that was enjoyed during the marriage. Many factors are taken into consideration when calculating support, including misconduct during the marriage. Spousal support ends when the payor dies or the payee remarries or cohabitates. Alabama law does not allow spousal support arrangements to include payments after remarriage or cohabitation even if both parties desire it.

If you are facing or contemplating divorce in Alabama, contact an experienced Alabama divorce attorney today.

Click here to select from Alabama divorce lawyers in your area.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Alabama and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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