If you and your spouse have done all of the hard work of reaching an agreement, then you can do something called an uncontested divorce in Alabama. An uncontested divorce is the easiest way to get a divorce with no court in most cases. It is where both spouses sign an agreement dividing up all marital assets, addressing all custody and child support, and any other issues in the marital dissolution. Once you have reached a verbal agreement with your spouse, you retain a local law firm to prepare the paperwork. Then you both sign it, the law firm files it with the court, and you get your decree quickly and easily. In Alabama, when the judge approves your agreement, then there are usually not any hearings and you get the divorce decree by email and mail.
In an uncontested divorce, there is a filing fee that must be paid to the court when a divorce is filed. Other than the filing fee and the attorney fee, in an uncontested divorce there should be no additional costs in most cases. This means you can usually get divorced for less than a thousand dollars without having to go to Court.
So, how can you do this? Well, it can be done this way because a signed agreement is filed when the divorce is filed. The judge just has to review the agreement and, since an attorney prepared it, there is no need for a hearing if the agreement is in order. Since it is only paperwork, the costs are much lower and no court is needed.
That is called an uncontested divorce, but any other way a divorce is filed is called a contested divorce. Contested divorce is where you pay a divorce attorney something called a retainer (which can be anywhere from $3000 to $10,000 or more) to file your divorce and serve the other spouse. The attorney will bill hourly out of this retainer at a rate of $250 to $400 or more. Therefore, the more hours the attorney works on your case the quicker the retainer will be exhausted and you will have to refill it. This is why divorces can get very expensive very fast.
Once the other spouse is served by the sheriff or a private process server, then they pay a lawyer a retainer and file a reply called an Answer. At this point, your attorneys will negotiate, go to hearings, conduct something called discovery, attend mediation, then go to trial. This process can take well over a year. At some point during this process, most spouses reach a settlement. The attorney fees, time involved, court appearances, stressful discovery process, and other factors usually make it easier to just settle unless the assets being fought over are very valuable or the parties are arguing over custody of their children.
Every county has a different process for getting an easy uncontested divorce. Their local rules may change depending on the judges that get elected every so often, but your local attorney should be able to keep up with these changes.
An uncontested divorce in Autauga County is always the simplest and easiest way to get a divorce without dragging it out in court. If you live in Alabama, or anywhere else where an uncontested divorce is possible, then you can get a fast divorce with no court in most circumstances.