Overview of Divorce in Alabama

The following is an overview of divorce in Alabama. Divorce in Alabama may be filed as either fault or no fault, with property divided equitably and spouse and child support determined by a number of factors.

Residency and Filing Requirements

In order to file for a divorce in Alabama, at least one party must have been a bona fide resident for the six months prior to filing.

Grounds for Filing

The grounds for divorce in Alabama are that which both parties can agree on, or that which the filing spouse desires to prove in court. The divorce may be a no-fault, voluntary divorce, based on incompatibility, irretrievable breakdown of marriage, or voluntary abandonment. A fault divorce may be based on adultery, imprisonment of two years or more, habitual drunkenness or drug use, mental illness resulting in institutionalization for five or more years, domestic violence or other causes at the discretion of the court.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal assistance with a divorce, please consult with a Divorce Lawyer in your area to discuss the details of your case.

Property Distribution

Alabama is an “equitable distribution” state. Equitable doesn’t mean equal, but it does mean fair. The court will encourage both parties to reach a settlement regarding properties and debts; otherwise the court will award property in an equitable manner. The court will value the property then decide on an equitable distribution, giving a portion to each spouse. The court does not have a right to distribute any separate property obtained before or during the marriage. Separate property may be, but is not limited to, gifts and inheritances unless they were given to benefit spouses as a couple. Marital misconduct may affect property distribution.

Restoration or Name Change

The court may allow the wife the use of her former name, or maiden name, upon divorce.

Spousal Support

Spousal support isn’t stipulated in all cases. Temporary or permanent support is decided on a case-by-case basis, as agreed upon by the parties or at the discretion of the court. The court may award maintenance to either spouse, and will consider the value of their estates as well as their families, and up to 50 per cent of any retirement benefits if the marriage lasted ten years or more. The misconduct of either spouse may be considered in determining the amount.

Child Custody and Support

Alabama courts will do everything possible to minimize the emotional trauma of children during and as a result of a divorce. If the parents cannot agree on issues involving children, the court will establish custody at its discretion. It may grant custody to either the father or the mother, but in cases of abandonment are likely to award the children to the abandoned party if the children are older than seven, if the abandoned party is a fit parent.

Alabama bases determinations of child support on the Income Shares Model, which determines child support proportionally by income of the parents.

The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. If you need legal assistance with a divorce, please consult with a Divorce Lawyer in your area to discuss the details of your case.
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