How Quickly Can You Get a Divorce in Alabama?
The quickest way to get a divorce in Alabama is an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which parties sign a settlement agreement that includes all the terms that will be incorporated into their decree of divorce before either party files a complaint for divorce with the court.
When the parties agree on all the terms of the divorce, an attorney can draft the settlement agreement and other documents necessary for an uncontested divorce. Once the signed documents are filed with the court and 30 days have passed, the decree of divorce can be finalized by the court.
The Role of an Attorney in an Uncontested Divorce
It is important to have a licensed attorney prepare the settlement agreement and other documents necessary for an uncontested divorce. Otherwise, important issues could be left out, portions of the agreement could be unenforceable, the agreement could be rejected by the court, and/or the parties could end up with much more expensive and complex litigation later to correct problems created by a poorly drafted settlement agreement.
In Alabama, an attorney can only represent and give legal advice to one party. Even when a divorce is uncontested, it is preferred that the parties each have their own attorney to represent their interest and at least review the terms of the divorce prior to signing. Otherwise, the party without an attorney could end up with an agreement that they do not fully understand or that is not in their best interest.
If a complaint for divorce is filed before there is a settlement agreement between the parties, the divorce is technically “contested.” It is very common for a complaint for divorce to be filed first and the parties to later enter into a settlement agreement before the case goes to a trial. Sometimes this is done even when the parties expect to reach a settlement agreement, just to start the necessary 30 days between the filing of the complaint for divorce and the divorce being finalized.
Anyone who is served with a summons and complaint for divorce should immediately take steps to retain an attorney to file an appropriate answer, even if they believe they are working out terms for an agreement with their spouse. Failure to timely file an answer following service of a summons and complaint for divorce can result in a default judgment.
While an uncontested divorce may be the quickest way to get a divorce in Alabama, it is not the best way to get a divorce in every case. Some situations are simply not appropriate for an uncontested divorce. A licensed attorney who specializes in family law can help you decide whether an uncontested divorce is right for you.
To speak with a member of the team at Rebekah L. Graham & Associates, call (256) 792-6075 or complete a contact form on our website.
Disclaimer: This blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the attorneys at Rebekah L. Graham & Associates. The blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.