There are generally two types of divorces: contested and uncontested. In a contested divorce, couples have multiple areas where they cannot come to an agreement, and must involve lawyers and multiple courtroom visits in order to resolve their issues. This process can be fairly expensive, both in terms of finances and emotional exhaustion.
An uncontested divorce, also known as a “simple divorce” in Alabama, is when both spouses come to an agreement on all or most of the major issues of their divorce. In these situations, court visits can be largely avoided, and with that, many of the significant costs that would be associated with it.
Overview of Uncontested Divorces
Generally speaking, the process of an uncontested divorce begins when one spouse files for divorce based on no fault grounds, meaning incompatibility or irreconcilable differences, then the other spouse agrees. You also need to provide basic information about you, your spouse, and if necessary, any children you have who are under the age of 19.
As previously stated, the couple must be in agreement on the major issues of their divorce. This includes alimony (spousal support), child custody, the division of property, and resolving debt issues. Child support is considered on a case by case basis, though it is usually set by the court which determines a minimum amount according to child support guidelines. Of course, if you and your spouse can agree to a different figure and are able to resolve it, then you can still move forward with your divorce. If there is an issue that cannot be resolved, then a court hearing will be required and a judge will issue something called a deficiency which will allow you to address the issue. It would also be useful to consult an attorney or mediator at this point if the issue is too difficult to resolve.
Having an Attorney on Your Side for Your Uncontested Divorce
Now, it is not necessary to hire an attorney if you are going through an uncontested divorce in Morgan County or wherever you reside. Spouses can often handle the issues themselves, or turn to an online divorce service to help with the process. An uncontested divorce does not involve multiple court appearances, so you would not necessarily need an attorney to represent you.
If you choose to work with an attorney at any stage of your uncontested divorce, you will gain a general advantage by having someone who can offer advice, make sure your paperwork is properly completed, and ensure that you file your documents on time.
An attorney can often be hired for a flat rate, but in some cases additional fees might come up, particularly if there are property or tax considerations involved, business interests, paternity issues, or other complex concerns that would necessitate additional time.
In either case, you will have to deal with court filing fees. These will vary from county to county in Alabama. Your divorce attorney will be aware of this, and once you pay your filing fee, they will get your paperwork signed, notarized, and returned to the court. To the extent that judges are involved, they will approve of your agreement once all of your documents have been completed and filed.
An uncontested divorce is the best possible way to move forward with a divorce. You will avoid expensive court fees, and the months, or even years, of disagreements with your former spouse.