Understanding the Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce in Alabama

When going through a divorce, there are many options for how you can proceed. One of the most important is going to be whether you get a contested or an uncontested divorce. While this won’t be entirely up to you, it is important to understand the differences between these two options so you can prepare for whatever comes your way.

Understanding a Contested Divorce in Alabama

A contested divorce in Alabama is when the two parties are unable to come to an agreement on one or more issues related to the divorce. This could be things like how to divide up assets, who will get the children when, or just about anything else. In order to get these contentious issues resolved, your divorce will be heard by a judge in court. When going this route, the divorce process will be as follows:

  • Filing of a Complaint – A complaint needs to be filed with the courts. This complaint will include the grounds for divorce and your request for what you want in terms of property division, child custody, child support, spousal support, and anything else that needs to be covered.
  • Response to the Complaint – The other spouse (or you, if your spouse filed the complaint) will then have 30 days to respond. They will make a counterclaim that includes what they want from the divorce.
  • Discovery Phase – Next, the attorneys involved will construct the strongest case possible to fight for their client. This process will include gathering evidence, taking depositions, filing motions, and more.
  • Negotiations – While you will be going to court to fight for what you want, the judge will almost certainly ask that you try to work out as much of the divorce as you can. Negotiations can include attorneys, and you will try to come to agreements on at least some portions of the divorce.
  • Trial – Finally, anything that can’t be worked out in negotiations will be handled in front of the judge. They will listen to each side’s position, and then make a ruling on how the divorce will conclude.

Understanding Uncontested Divorce in Alabama

In an uncontested divorce, the two parties will negotiate and come to an agreement on all aspects of the divorce including the division of assets, child custody, alimony, child support, and whatever else needs to be done. Once an agreement is reached, an attorney (typically the plaintiff’s attorney) will draft the agreement and file it with the courts. There is then a 30-day “cooling down” period, after which the courts will finalize the divorce, unless either party has changed their mind.

Getting the Right Divorce for You

A divorce is a difficult process whether it is contested or uncontested. When possible, an uncontested divorce is ideal because it will go through much more quickly, it is quite a bit less expensive, and you can maintain your privacy since the negotiations aren’t a matter of public record. Whichever type of divorce you end up seeking, you will need an experienced attorney at your side. Please contact us to discuss your options and get this process started.

Written by John M. Totten

John M. Totten

John's office is in Athens, Alabama, where he has helped thousands of people in North Alabama with everything from family law issues, to catastrophic injury and death cases, to criminal defense.