An uncontested divorce is one in which both parties agree on all aspects of the divorce. Divorces where both parties disagree on some aspects such as property or debt division or child custody are contested divorces and involve lengthy and expensive litigation. Uncontested divorces are quicker, smoother and less expensive because there is no reason for the divorce to go to trial and lawyers are either not needed or have a limited role to play. It is sometimes recommended to hire one for at least part of the process. You may sometimes feel the need for a lawyer when filing out forms because court clerks are not permitted to advise you on that. In an uncontested divorce one spouse files for divorce citing no-fault (also known as incompatibility or irreconcilable differences) and the other spouse also agrees. Child support is determined on the basis of existing guidelines. So it is rarely subject to negotiation and agreement on it is not a precondition for uncontested divorce. This is a much less expensive and faster way of ending a marriage.
Requirements and eligibility for an uncontested divorce in Alabama
- At least one spouse must have resided in Alabama for at least six months before filing for divorce.
- Both spouses must be willing and available to sign all paperwork.
- Both spouses must agree on settlement of all issues.
Alabama is a no-fault divorce state and the couple can claim irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and file for divorce. See clause nine below.
These are the possible grounds for divorce in Alabama1
- 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 the penitentiary of this or any other state 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 like 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.
- In favor of either party, when the other, after marriage, shall have been confined in a mental hospital for a period of five successive years, if such party from whom a divorce is sought is hopelessly and incurably insane at the time of the filing of the complaint; provided, however, that the superintendent of the mental hospital in which such person is confined shall make a certified statement, under oath, that it is his opinion and belief, after a complete and full study and examination of such person, that such person is hopelessly and incurably insane.
- 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 party to the marriage 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 that period.
When a judgment of divorce is entered, in effect, it is awarded to both parties to the marriage.
Complaints for divorce may be filed in the circuit court of the county in which the defendant resides, or in the circuit court of the county in which the parties resided when the separation occurred, or if the defendant is a nonresident, then in the circuit court of the county in which the other party to the marriage resides.
There is a waiting period of 30 days from the the date of the filing of the summons and complaint. It is only after this thirty day period elapses that the court can grant a divorce. The court can however enter any temporary orders necessary prior to the expiration of the waiting period. The temporary orders may include, but shall not be limited to, temporary orders on custody, spousal or child support, visitation, exclusive occupancy of the marital residence, or restraining the parties.
Documents required for filing a non-contested divorce when you have no minor children2:
- Plaintiff’s Complaint for Divorce
- Defendant’s Answer, Waiver and Agreement for Taking Testimony
- Plaintiff’s Testimony (must be notarized)
- CS-47 Child Support Information Sheet
- Agreement signed by both parties
- Final Judgment or Decree
- Vital Statistics Form or Certificate of Divorce (This is supplied by the Clerk’s Office)
When you have minor children, you also need these documents:
- CS-41 Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit (both parties must submit one)
- CS-42 Child Support Guidelines
- CS-43 Notice of Compliance
Both parents must attend a KIDSCOPE Parenting Class and file the Certificate of Completion with the Court.