Alabama Divorce Laws
Alabama Residency and Requirements: If the defendant is not a resident of Alabama, the spouse must be an Alabama resident for at least six months before they can file a complaint.
A divorce complaint can be filed in:
1) the circuit court where the defendant resides,
2) the circuit court where the couple resided when the separation occurred, or
3) the circuit court where the spouse resides (if the defendant is a nonresident)
Grounds for Filing A Divorce: The Divorce Complaint must state why the divorce is being sought. The divorce grounds are as follows:
A No-Fault Divorce:
(1) The parties can no longer live together b/c of incompatible temperament
(2) Irreversible collapse of the marriage
(3) Abandonment from bed and board for one year (must precede the filing of the divorce complaint)
(1) A party is physically and/or mentally debilitated from entering into the marriage state.
(4) Chronic drunkenness or to regular use of drugs.
(5) In party is confined in a mental hospital
(6) If wife was pregnant at the time of marriage, without his knowledge or agency.
(7) Abuse or domestic violence
Property Distribution: Alabama is an “equitable distribution” state. Therefore, the marital property is divided by what is fair. The court encourages the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the court will intervene.
The court will fairly split the couple’s assets if the spouses do not instruct how to divide assets and property. The court will put a value to property that is considered martial and divide accordingly. Any separate property obtained before or during the marriage falls outside the scope of the court.
Spouse Support: In a divorce proceeding, the court can establish maintenance for either spouse an the amount is at the judge’s discretion. The judge will consider:
1) the value of each spouse’s estate
2) the value of their family’s estates
3) if the marriage lasted 10 years or more, up to 50% of any retirement benefits.
The spouse’s misconduct may be considered in determining the amount of child support.
Child Custody: Alabama courts will try to help lessen the emotional trauma if minor children are involved in a divorce. The court will decide custody rights if the parents cannot come to an agreement.
Child Support: Guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model. The monthly support is divided proportionally according to each parent¹s income. From there, the two support amounts are used to establish which parent must pay the other parent for support of the child and income is verified by past W-2’s statements.