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DO IT YOURSELF ONLINE DIVORCE IN ALABAMA

Alabama is an equitable distribution state, and the courts can distribute all property if need be. This means that the courts have jurisdiction over all the property that both spouses have, marital and separate. Equitable means fair, not equal, or even half; fair is what the Superior Court says is fair. The appreciation of separate property remains separate property and alimony may be awarded. If you and your spouse can agree on the property distribution as well as any issues regarding children, then you have what is called an uncontested divorce. This is the most simple type of divorce and often times spouses choose to file for divorce on their own under this circumstance.

Alabama Grounds for Divorce

Alabama offers no-fault divorces based on incompatibility, irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and voluntary abandonment, and fault divorces based on physical incapability, adultery, imprisonment, drunkenness and addiction, insanity, wife's pregnancy by another man, domestic violence, and living separate and apart from the bed and board of the husband for two years.

Alabama Residency Requirements for Divorce

Residency requirements fro divorce in Alabama require that at least one spouse must live in Alabama for six months before filing for divorce. The Complaint is filed in the Circuit Court of the county where the defendant resides, or in the circuit court of the county where the spouses resident when they parted, or in the Circuit Court of the county in which the other party to the marriage resides if the defendant is a nonresident. Either spouse must reside in the county where the plaintiff files for at least six months.

The Divorce Filing Process in Alabama

In order to file for a divorce in Alabama, the plaintiff must complete the Complaint for Divorce, which provides basic identification information as well as the grounds for divorce, such as irrevocable relationship breakdown (this is the most common for uncontested divorces in Alabama). In a marriage with children, additional forms related to child support must be completed, and the parents must attend a seminar called Children Cope with Divorce.

Alabama online divorce process The plaintiff files the divorce paperwork in the clerk's office or the Circuit Court in the county of filing. The clerk keeps a copy of the signed Complaint and returns a copy with a date stamp and notation showing filing in the court.

After filing, the plaintiff serves the defendant a copy of the Complaint. If the defendant or his or her attorney agrees to accept delivery of the Complaint, he or she can return an Acceptance of Service. The acceptance is in writing, and signed by the spouse and a witness. Acceptance of Service is easiest way to serve process. Here is more information regarding the process of filing uncontested divorce papers in Alabama.

Some counties require certain financial disclosures including income, assets and liabilities, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, personal financial statements, and any other documentation that the defendant or the court should know. Uncontested means not only that both parties agree to a divorce, but that both parties already agree on the division of property, child support, and child visitation. Their signed Settlement Agreement memorializes these agreements.

Alabama requires a 30-day waiting period before any divorce is finalized. The wait is designed to keep couples from rushing into a divorce, and it gives the couple a chance to potentially reconcile. Learn the best ways to save money when doing your own divorce in Alabama.

Do It Yourself Online Divorce in Alabama

Our online divorce makes it easy to file your own divorce in the state of Alabama. In as little as 20 minutes you can have all your completed divorce forms and filing instructions ready for signing and filing. Instantly access your completed divorce forms after a short online interview. It is that easy, no lengthy completion or delivery times. See if you qualify below:

Alabama Property Division Upon Divorce

Marital fault may be considered in the division of the marital estate.

The court accepts any fair and reasonable property division that the spouses reach.

Alabama is an equitable division, and can be all property ("kitchen sink") state. Alabama is one of eight jurisdictions that include separate property in the marital estate "providing the court finds a special showing of need by the non-titled spouse." Thus, the courts have jurisdiction over all the property that both spouses have, marital and separate.

Alabama recognizes prenuptial agreements, which set out the terms and conditions of a property settlement when the marriage fails. The courts uphold and divide property as the prenup dictates, even when the division is at variance from the state laws as long as the couple executed the agreement properly.

Before the court can divide the marital estate, it distinguishes marital property from any separate property owned independently. Generally, separate property is property owned before marriage. Under some circumstances, it also includes property acquired during marriage, like a gift, an inheritance, or a personal-injury award.

In dividing property, the court classifies assets and liabilities as marital or separate, then places a value on assets and debts, and then makes an assignment. In dividing property, the court considers the duration of the marriage; the conduct of the spouses in the marriage; their age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability; estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties, and "the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income."

Property acquired from the date of the marriage through the date of separation is marital property and subject to distribution. Property each spouse brought to the marriage or acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance is separate. Gifts and inheritances used to benefit both spouses as a married couple become marital property. Separate property mixed with marital property becomes marital. Untainted separate property obtained before or during the marriage remains immune to distribution. Although courts may look to all assets in the division of property, judges typically award spouses their separate property, unless it would be inequitable or unfair. To establish an asset as separate property, it must remain under the control of the spouse claiming it. Property combined with joint property for the benefit of both spouses becomes marital.

As in other jurisdictions, divorcing couples normally sell the marital home and divide the profits, or sell the home to one party and refinance, or the custodial parent occupies the house until the last child leaves school and then sell it.

The court may include the retirement benefits and plans earned by both spouses as marital assets available for division; however, Alabama places several limitations on the inclusion of retirement benefits as divisible marital assets. Retirement plans are either Defined Contribution Plans (DC), such as a 401(k), or Defined Benefit Plans (DB), which is the company pension. That part of a pension accumulated during a marriage is community property and subject to distribution. When spouses share in each other's pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be prepared. The QDRO spells out the terms and conditions of the pension distribution.

Once handed down, an Alabama property division order cannot be modified unless there are "exceptional and compelling" circumstances for the sake of "fairness and justice."

Alabama Alimony in Divorce

In Alabama, the court may award or decline alimony based on a consideration of the income disparity between the spouses and the standard of living enjoyed by the couple during the marriage. In deciding alimony, the court considers the length of the marriage; each party's respective earning ability and future earning prospects; the ages and health of the parties the value and type of property; the conduct of the parties; and "any other factors the court determines relevant."

Alimony can be awarded to either spouse even when neither requests it. It is rarely awarded in marriages of less than twelve years and is generally reserved for situations where one spouse has been economically dependent upon the other during a long-term marriage.

Courts award alimony based on the showing of need by one spouse and the ability to pay by the other spouse. Unlike child support, no statutory formula exists to calculate the amount alimony.

Misconduct by either spouse may be considered in the decision to award alimony and may prohibit any maintenance, but property acquired before the marriage or by inheritance or gift may not be considered for alimony.

Alabama Child Custody Arrangements

The court grants any type of custody that is in the best interest of the child. In determining child custody, the court considers the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the child if the child is of sufficient age to appreciate the situation, the child's relationship with siblings and extended family, the educational needs of the child, and the mental and physical health of the child.

In Alabama, joint custody has two forms: joint legal custody and joint physical custody. Joint legal custody means both parents share equal rights about major decisions, such as health care, and education. Both parents maintain equal rights and responsibilities, but the court may appoint one parent to have a sole capacity to make certain decisions for the best interest of the child. Joint physical custody means that each parent has scheduled contact with the child but not necessarily for equal amounts of time.

Alabama Child Support Guidelines

Child support is determined under the Alabama Child Support Guidelines, unless the Court finds grounds to deviate from the guidelines. In Alabama, the Department of Human Resources enforces child support obligations. The court retains jurisdiction to modify child support, up or down, until the children reach the age of 19.

The court bases the child support order on the Alabama Worksheet, which determines child support based on the gross monthly income of the parents, the cost of day care, and the cost of health insurance.

Sometimes, after calculating support, courts permit adjustments up or down that are called deviation factors. Courts may consider extraordinary expenses, independent income, seasonal fluctuation in parents' income, special needs as well "any other reason that should be considered to make child support more equitable." Likewise, extraordinary expenses can be either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment paid by the noncustodial parent, or a deduction, where it is subtracted.

Extraordinary expenses can be either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment paid by the noncustodial parent, or a deduction, where it is subtracted.

Alabama Child Support Guidelines and Worksheets:

Alabama Service of Process for Divorce Cases

A Process Server, who is a sheriff or constable, or a designated person over 18, who is not a party to the action usually serves process - the divorce papers.

The server delivers the divorce papers to the party authorized to receive them or leaves the papers at the recipient's home or with a competent person living there.

In personal service, the server locates the recipient and delivers process directly to him or her. When process is delivered, the server endorses that fact on the process and returns it to the clerk, who makes the appropriate entry on the docket sheet. The return of process means process has been served.

The server must serve process within 30 days. In the event of failure of service, the clerk notifies, by mail, the attorney of record or if there is no attorney of record, the party at whose instance process was issued. The clerk enters the fact of notification on the docket.

If the recipient refuses to accept process, the clerk can mail the papers to him or her at the address to where they are to be served. Service is then considered complete.

When the recipient cannot be located and with the approval of the court, the clerk directs that a notice by publication be made in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the complaint is filed.

A Simple Divorce Process
Step 1 See if you qualify & create account!
Step 2 Answer the questions at your own pace.
Step 3 Print, sign and file your divorce forms with your local court (instantly review & print your forms online or have them sent US Priority Mail at no additional charge).

START HERE

Only $299 (flat-fee)

or 2 monthly payments of $157
or 3 monthly payments of $109
or 4 monthly payments of $84
Payment Options Do Not Delay Divorce
Instant Delivery - Instant Changes
100% Guarantee of Court Approval
or Your Money Back
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Disclaimer: This is a quality non-lawyer self-help online divorce solution. The 3StepDivorceTM Documentation software and service is not a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. 3StepDivorce does not practice law and does not give out legal advice. This online divorce software and service allows you to represent yourself in doing your own divorce. If you need or desire legal representation, we recommend that you hire a lawyer. Click here to learn more. There may also be other pro se divorce options available by contacting your court.

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