We're Hiring! Click Here to Learn More

Timelines For Divorce Processes In Alabama

The decision to get a divorce should never be taken lightly. Even when you finally know that ending your marriage is right for you and your children, the decision will be very emotional. Anyone who has gone through it will attest to how much it affects multiple aspects of their life, including their emotional stamina, financial strain, and family dynamics. If you’re navigating this difficult journey in Alabama, you’ll want to know what to expect regarding the timeline. Because many people are eager to begin the next chapter of their lives and heal, it is important to understand how long a divorce can take. 

Before we begin, remember that a divorce may take as little as 30 days or last for a year or more. These extremes are on either end of the spectrum, but most people will land somewhere in the middle. We aim to provide you with some tips on how to make the process more efficient. 

Uncontested Divorces

A divorce is termed uncontested when couples see eye-to-eye on pivotal issues such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. This agreement speeds up the process considerably. After filing the divorce petition and agreement, the court will grant you a divorce after a 30-day waiting period. While this may seem like an unnecessary wait, keep in mind that some states require couples to live apart for at least a year before they will get a divorce. 

Contested Divorces

Conversely, when couples have disagreements on one or more specific issues, they have what is commonly referred to as a contested divorce. Here, the timeline can extend substantially, often due to the complexities of the problems.

General Steps for a Contested Divorce in Alabama 

  • Filing the divorce petition: The divorce process is initiated when your attorney files a petition with the court. The location is determined based on where you and your spouse live. 
  • Serving the petition: Following the filing, your spouse must receive the divorce petition, which can be done through personal service, certified mail, or even publication. Publications may be used when someone has lost contact with their spouse and doesn’t know where they live but must be allowed by the court. 
  • Waiting for a response: After receiving the divorce petition, your spouse has a response window of 45 days. If they do not respond, the divorce process will still proceed so long as you have perfected proper service. If your spouse doesn’t reply, the court may issue a default judgment in your favor. 
  • Discovery: In this phase, both parties exchange essential documents and information, prepping for the trial. Whether one feels that the other is hiding assets, or the other parent is unfit, the discovery process allows your attorney to gather information supporting your position and knowledge about the other side’s position and evidence.
  • Mediation: Before going to court for a formal litigation process, the court might order both parties to try mediation, aiming for an amicable agreement. Some cases that begin as contested may be resolved during this step, eliminating the need to go to trial. 
  • Trial: If mediation doesn’t bridge the gap, the case proceeds, where the judge evaluates the evidence and resolves the contested matters. In terms of a timeline, you should expect that it may take a year to get to your trial date. 
  • Appeal: When one side is unhappy with an outcome, there’s an option to appeal, though this further stretches the timeline.

Optimizing the Divorce Process

A few actionable steps can help expedite the divorce procedure:

  • Collaboration with your attorney: Ensure you promptly provide your legal representative with all vital details and documents quickly.
  • Flexibility: A willingness to adjust on some matters could lead to a quicker consensus with your spouse.
  • Mediation: Embracing mediation might sidestep the trial, leading to faster resolutions.

Though the timeline for a divorce process in Alabama can swing based on numerous variables, being proactive and adaptive can curtail the duration and strain. The faster you can provide your attorney with information, the quicker the process. 

How often should you speak with your attorney during long waiting periods? It is unlikely that you will get weekly updates. However, contacting your attorney is a good idea if new issues surface. Attorneys will send their clients new information as soon as they have it. Generally, if you haven’t heard anything from your attorney, there likely hasn’t been any progress to report. 

A Message for Empowered Family Law Clients

Navigating a divorce can be emotionally taxing. At Empowered Family Law, our approach focuses on holistic healing. Understanding the profound impacts of familial issues, such as addiction, enables us to connect empathetically with our clients. We have extensive experience in the domestic courts, especially in handling cases related to domestic violence.

We maintain an extensive network, including therapists and resources for financial advice and meditation, to offer holistic support throughout your journey. Divorce doesn’t just end with the dissolution of a marriage; it’s the start of healing and rebuilding. If you’re contemplating divorce, reach out to Empowered Family Law. Schedule a consultation today.

The following two tabs change content below.

Empowered Family Law, PC

With Empowered Family Law, you get an advocate who sees difficulties as opportunities for growth and emphasizes healing and problem-solving no matter how challenging your case.

Latest posts by Empowered Family Law, PC (see all)