Alabama Divorce and Alimony FAQs

If you are considering filing for divorce in Alabama, you probably have questions and concerns. Below you will find some of the most common questions we receive from clients at Bouloukos, Oglesby, & Mitchell. Of course, if we have not answered one of your questions, feel free to contact our law firm directly. Our Alabama divorce lawyers have extensive experience when it comes to Alabama divorce.

How Soon can I File for Divorce in an Alabama Court?

What happens when one of the divorcing spouses is not a resident of Alabama? One of the spouses can file for divorce in Alabama when the other spouse has been a bona fide resident of Alabama for at least six months before filing the divorce action. When a spouse files for divorce, he or she must state that one spouse has been a resident of Alabama for at least six months.

What do the Terms Plaintiff and Defendant Mean in an Alabama Divorce?

The spouse who files the action for divorce is called the plaintiff. The other spouse is referred to as the defendant. The legal title of the action initiating the divorce is called the Complaint for Divorce.

What Does the Term Venue Mean in Terms of Divorce?

The term venue refers to the court in which you file an action for divorce. The plaintiff, or spouse filing for divorce, must file the action for divorce in a court with the proper venue. The proper venue is the court in one of the following;

  • A court in the county in which the defendant lives, or
  • In a Circuit Court of the county in which the parties lived when they separated

When the defendant is not a resident of Alabama, the plaintiff must file the divorce action in the Circuit Court in which the Alabama resident resides.

How Long do I Need to Wait to Get Divorced in Alabama?

After the initial filing of the Complaint for Divorce, the Court must wait at least 30 days to submit the final divorce judgment. Additionally, neither spouse can remarry another person until 60 days after the final divorce decree. If one spouse appeals to the divorce decree, the parties may not remarry other people during the pending appeal.

What are the Reasons or Grounds for Divorce in Alabama?

The term “grounds for divorce” refers to the legally recognized reasons for getting a divorce in Alabama. A spouse who is filing for divorce needs to use one or more of the grounds for divorce in order to justify their divorce. Alabama law permits a judgment of divorce for all of the following grounds or reasons:

  • For adultery
  • For voluntary abandonment by either spouse for a period of at least one year before the filing of the divorce complaint
  • When either spouse, at the time of the marriage, was incurably and physically incapable of consummating the marriage
  • When either spouse has been imprisoned for a period of at least two years for a felony. The actual prison sentence must be seven years or more.
  • One spouse engaged in crimes against nature before the marriage or during the marriage
  • One spouse has an alcohol or drug addiction
  • The spouses have a complete incompatibility of temperament that so significant that it prohibits them from living together
  • One spouse has been committed to a mental institution for at least five successive years, and a medical professional has declared the spouse incurably and hopelessly insane
  • A husband can petition for divorce when his wife was pregnant at the time of the marriage without the husband’s knowledge
  • Either party can petition for divorce when one spouse has committed actual violence, or one party placed the other spouse in reasonable apprehension of violence
  • The wife has grounds for divorce when she has lived separately and apart from the husband without his financial support for two years prior to filing for divorce, and the wife is a bona fide resident of Alabama.

Does Alabama Offer Simplified Divorce Proceedings?

No, Alabama does not recognize simplified Alabama divorce proceedings, as some other states do. However, defendants can file an answer to the divorce complaint and waive service of process. When a defendant waives service, he or she will dispense with further notice and service issues during the proceedings.

What is Alabama Spousal Support?

Spousal support is sometimes referred to as alimony. Spousal support is money paid from one spouse to the other spouse. Typically, a spouse who loses the benefit of the payor spouse’s income will receive alimony or spousal support.

When can a Spouse Seek Spousal Support?

Alabama courts can order that one spouse support the other spouse while a divorce action is pending. Courts can also order spousal support after the divorce has become finalized. Temporary spousal support only lasts until the final divorce decree has been entered.

How Long Does Alimony or Spousal Support Last?

Temporary alimony lasts until the court enters the decree of divorce. Other spousal support lasts until the court determines that it needs to stop. Divorced spouses can agree in writing to terminate spousal support. Or, the court can terminate spousal support by submitting proof that the spouse receiving support has remarried, or is openly cohabitating or living with a member of the opposite sex.

What Factors do Alabama Courts Consider When Determining Alimony?

Alabama will award alimony when they find that all of the following are true:

  • One party lacks his or her own estate, or his or her own estate is not enough to maintain the current lifestyle of the spouses that they enjoyed during the marriage
  • The party who is not at a financial disadvantage has the financial ability to make payments
  • The payments will allow the financially disadvantaged spouse to enjoy the lifestyle he or she enjoyed during the marriage without any undue financial hardship
  • The circumstances surrounding divorce make the alimony award equitable or fair

How do Alabama Courts Determine the Alimony Amount?

When an Alabama court determines that alimony is appropriate, they use a factor test to determine how much alimony to award. Some of the factors that courts consider include the following:

  • The individual assets of each party
  • Any marital property awarded to each party in the divorce
  • The future employment expectations of both parties
  • The extent to which one party reduced their income or career potential for the benefit of the other spouse
  • The respective faults of the parties when it comes to the breakdown of the marriage
  • The health and age of both spouses
  • The standard of living that both spouses were used to during the marriage
  • The capacity for wage-earning of each party
  • The liability of each party following the distribution of marital property after the divorce
  • The net income of the spouse who would be required to pay the alimony
  • Any other factors deemed necessary and equitable under the circumstances of the case

Contacting an Experienced Alabama Divorce Lawyer

At Bouloukos, Oglesby, & Mitchell Attorneys at Law, our lawyers understand how challenging the Alabama divorce process can be. While we always recommend that couples seek counseling and try to work their marriage out, we understand that divorce is necessary in many cases. It is a wise decision to come to talk with our lawyers as soon as possible.

We can review your situation and help you develop a strategy. We do not charge for an initial consultation at our law firm. Contact our law firm as soon as possible to schedule your initial consultation.