The following are common
questions about the divorce process, as well as helpful
answers. If you still have questions, please call us
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Q: How long is the divorce
A: A divorce, if contested, frequently takes 6 months or
longer from the time your spouse is served (legally notified)
with the documents. The minimum time is 30 days.
Q: Do my spouse and I both have to hire attorneys?
A: No. You may certainly want to hire an attorney for a
consultation, and to represent your each individual interests.
In an uncontested divorce, both parties allow an attorney to
draft the settlement agreement previously agreed to by the
Q: Do we necessarily need to have an attorney at all?
A: Yes, it is recommended. After the initial consultation, you
may need the attorney to handle your case, and to represent
you on any issues not previously agree to.
Q: Am I required to go to court?
A: No, if you and your spouse can reach an amicable settlement
agreement. Often times, when the parties have worked out their
own settlement, the agreement is signed and notarized by each
party and submitted to the court without a personal
If, on the other hand, you
and your spouse cannot reach an amicable settlement through
this process, you may need to appear in court where the judge
will decide the contested issues.
Q: Should I move out of the marital residence?
A: Be sure to consult with an attorney before leaving the
marital residence. Leaving the home is typically defined as
actually taking personal items with you (clothing, automobile,
sentimental possessions, etc.) and acting as though you are
going to declare a new residence for a significant amount of
time, and may be looked upon as abandonment.
Q: How do I obtain a divorce?
A: Before filing for divorce, you should decide if this is the
right decision for you. It is important to realize that the
road is sometimes very long and can be a difficult one to
travel. Initially, a complaint is drafted.
This includes the reasons
for the divorce and the relief the court is asked to grant.
After the spouse is served with the complaint, he/she will
normally have 30 days in which to file an answer.
Q: What if I do not want a divorce?
A: The law does not require spouses to remain married. Divorce
is not a decision that needs to be reached overnight,
especially where children are involved.
Q: Can child support be modified?
A: Making changes to an existing child support order is not
uncommon. Alabama law allows a child support modification
where there is a 10% differential in what is currently being
paid by the noncustodial parent. In most cases, support is set
as required in Alabama statutory guidelines.
Q: Can I deny my ex-spouse visitation?
A: Unless the court has denied visitation with the
noncustodial parent, you can not and should not deny
visitation! Denying visitation is one of the biggest mistakes
made by most custodial parents. You may believe you have a
justifiable reason for denying the visitation, but by law, you
are not permitted to do so.
Q: How do I get custody of my child(ren)?
A: The first and most important step to getting custody of
your child(ren) is to be a great parent and to be honest.
Being a great parent is not always the easiest task during
divorce, but it is important to acknowledge each and every
action concerning the divorce and how it may or may not effect
Remember, even during the
divorce process, put the children first. Under Alabama law,
the mother and father are both presumed to possess equal
parenting skills, and no priority is given to either parent in
establishing physical custody of the minor children.
Q: What if I do not agree with the courtís decision?
A: The purpose of the settlement agreement is to establish
what exactly should be stated in the Final Divorce Decree.
Once the attorneys have drafted the Settlement Agreement and
it has been approved by both parties, it will be presented to
the judge to be incorporated into the Final Order.
Post-trial motions and
appeal are always options where one party disagrees with the
courtís equitable distribution of the marital assets.
Q: What is fair spousal support or alimony?
A: If you and your spouse can not reach an agreement on the
amount of spousal support to be paid, the length of time, and
the conditions of payment, the court may set the amount of
alimony and include it in the final order. Alimony is monthly
support meant to continue the standard of living a spouse is
accustomed to since the marriage began. Alimony can be awarded
in a marriage of only 3 years, and may include things other
than monthly monetary support.