Getting a Divorce in Alabama: Part II (Grounds for Divorce)
In Alabama, divorces are either contested or uncontested. An uncontested divorce is possible when both spouses agree that divorce is necessary, and also agree about child custody, visitation, debt distribution, and splitting of assets. Obviously, if a divorce is uncontested, it is usually easier and quicker to obtain and certainly less stressful for those involved. However, when the parties cannot agree, the court must get involved and decide how these issues will be resolved.
When petitioning for divorce, grounds (a reason) for the divorce must be stated in the Complaint. The statutes in Alabama that govern divorce proceedings list the following as possible grounds for divorce (not a complete list):
• imprisonment in the penitentiary for certain prolonged periods
• addiction to alcohol or drugs
• mental incapacity
Incompatibility is the most common ground claimed and, in practice, is generally the easiest to prove. Citing “incompatibility” is usually referred to as a “no fault” divorce, because the reason for the divorce is not the fault of either spouse in particular. No fault divorces can also be obtained when one spouse has voluntarily abandoned the other.
Is a finding of fault even necessary?
Depending on your situation, a finding of fault may be important. It becomes relevant when there are issues such as child custody, alimony and division of assets. A fault-based divorce is based on evidence that one spouse committed some type of misconduct during the marriage that has affected the marriage; adultery is the most common example. In Alabama, when one spouse has committed adultery, that fact can be considered when determining if and how much alimony should be paid and how the marital assets and debts will be divided.
If you have any questions regarding divorce proceedings or any other family law issues, please do not hesitate to call our office at (205) 988-5570.