Filing for Divorce Without a Lawyer in Alabama
Undoubtedly, divorce can be the most painful and bitter reality of one’s life. But it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering the current rate of dissolution of marriage. People tend to get very emotional during weddings, and it's far off any couple's imagination that there may be a time when your significant other or better half may not stay as perfect as they are.
What do you do then? There may come a time when the divorce papers are steps away, and you end up signing and marking your independence from a bad marriage. Divorce proceedings in Alabama are regulated as a civil suit, with a filing party (the Plaintiff) and a second party (the Defendant).
To apply for divorce in Alabama, one of the spouses must have been a citizen of the state for six months before filing the case. This must be claimed and proved in the lawsuit. Through their past experiences, many people share that they later felt they should have gotten an experienced Alabama contested divorce attorney to put up a strong fight against their ex.
Uncontested Divorce in Alabama
In recent years, there has been a more progressive approach by divorcing couples to handle things independent of legal counsel and agree on the divorce terms before ending the relationship. It is known as uncontested divorce when the couple agrees on the terms of their divorce.
Some of the crucial matters that you must negotiate during uncontested divorce include alimony, child custody, property division, and debt allocation.
One of the perks of an uncontested divorce is that it is far less costly than a contested divorce, as there is no need for a trial or frequent court appearances. Uncontested divorces are also considered a fast way to get out of your unhappy marriage. However, for your guidance, there is no harm in getting professional consultation from an uncontested divorce attorney who can share their expert knowledge to help you clear your paperwork in the first attempt.
Divorce Process without a Lawyer in Alabama
When you have an uncontested no-fault divorce, you can file for a do-it-yourself divorce by completing the entire divorce process yourself. But to do that, you have to be eligible for a no-fault divorce. The grounds for a no-fault divorce in Alabama are:
Irreparable breakdown of the marriage
Voluntary separation for at least one year
If you are eligible to get a no-fault divorce, then you can file for a divorce yourself. Since no-fault grounds for divorce do not need to be proven in court, the process is much faster. For your comprehensive understanding, we have broken down the divorce process in different steps:
Ensure that either you or your spouse has been a resident of the state for at least six months before applying for a divorce. Another condition required by the state is that the court you file in should have personal jurisdiction over one of the spouses.
Under Alabama law, the "Plaintiff" is the partner that files the divorce papers, and the spouse reacting to the papers is the "Defendant." In Alabama, divorce starts with a complaint or summon, which can be found at the county clerk's office. These are your initial divorce papers officially requested for a formal divorce.
At this point, to move forward with an uncontested divorce, you must put in writing the details of the property division, child custody, and spousal support settlements.
Submit your initial divorce papers with the county clerk along with your Divorce Settlement Agreement outlining your divorce conditions. Keep two copies of everything. Keep one copy for yourself, and serve the other to your partner.
Send a notice to your Spouse
Considering that you and your partner are on the same page, your spouse should be ready to sign an "Acceptance and Waiver of Service" accepting that the documents have been acquired by him/her. You may use the Sheriff’s department or a professional server to hand the documents to your spouse or send them by regular mail.
Copy of Proof for the Court
The court needs proof that your spouse has received the divorce papers. An Affidavit of Service must be submitted to the court as proof.
Fill Other Divorce-Related Forms
Additional forms that must be filed with the court for a divorce in Alabama include:
Vital Statistics Form
Testimony of Plaintiff
Affidavit of Residency
If the couple has children, they will need to fill out and file the following forms:
Child Support Obligation Income Statement
Child Support Guideline Notice of Compliance
Child Support Information Sheet
Child Support Guideline Form
Records of attendance of the Children Cope with Divorce seminar
Standing Pre-Trial Order
Finalizing Your Divorce
After you file the necessary documentation and certificates in the county court, you and your spouse will be summoned by the court for a final hearing to review your paperwork and your finalized divorced.
This method of divorcing does not require you to hire a divorce lawyer or attorney. You can do it yourself and get an easy and quick divorce.
Divorce over the Internet
The internet offers many advantages in modern society, including easy and affordable divorce paperwork preparation. This is a great way to avoid the hassle of the paperwork and avoid the exorbitant costs of legal assistance. With online divorce, it is much more convenient for one to submit their application for divorce as the forms are readily available and just a click away.
Benefits of Getting a Divorce without an Attorney
You may leverage various benefits when filing for divorce without an attorney in Alabama. Some of these benefits include:
It saves you the lawyers’ fees.
You avoid wasting time meeting with attorneys and visiting the court.
Lower cost of divorce.
It is more private and cooperative, reducing the chances of conflicts and bitter confrontations.
Finish your application for divorce online at your own discretion and convenience.
You don’t rely on someone else to call the shots for you, making it a truly amicable divorce.
In the end, we would like to highlight that getting a divorce is just as life-changing as getting married, and if you've been married long enough, the new life as a single person may seem frightening.
However, you need to understand the importance of getting out of a toxic relationship. And the best way to do it effectively is to avoid hostile situations and part ways on civil terms rather than on a sour note.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes