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Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

Alabama Divorce Jurisdiction

Alabama is like most states in that if both parties are bona fide residents of the State of Alabama; then Alabama has jurisdiction to divorce them.  Alabama also has jurisdiction to dispose of all their property where ever it might be and grant a full range of remedies.

To be a bona fide resident of Alabama one must show that this is the place they intend to live and return to each time they travel.  A factual determination must be made to decide if a party is a bona fide resident.  It hinges on the concept of domicile.  A person may be a bona fide resident after just one day in Alabama as long as they have the intent to remain in Alabama.  It is sort of a state of mind.  When deciding whether a person is a bona fide reside your lawyer may look at several factors but none of them are a deciding factor alone.  Some factors to consider are:  1) where are the bank accounts; 2) where do they receive mail; 3) where do they store their stuff; and 4) where do they have a driver’s licence from.  These factors are helpful but neither one can decide the ultimate decision alone. 

For divorce purposes, at least one party must be a bona fide resident for not less than 6 months for Alabama to take jurisdiction over the marriage and grant a divorce.  In the state of Alabama if one party files for a divorce and is a bona fide resident, a divorce will be granted.

After deciding that Alabama has jurisdiction over a marriage, then venue must be decided.  Venue is what county the divorce will be filed in and carried out in.  Venue is proper in either: 1) the county where the defendant resides (and when in doubt, file it there); 2) in the county where the couple last resided as husband and wife.  This is important in that venue can be agreed to by both parties and filed anywhere the parties want to submit to jurisdiction if done by agreement.  If it is a contested divorce, the proper filing venue would only be either where the defendant resides or where the parties last resided as husband and wife.  If the filing party has moved out of the county and never lived in their current county as husband and wife, the current county whre they reside would not be proper venue. Only the county were the defendant resides or where they last lived as husband and wife would be proper.

Obtaining jurisdiction over the parties and marriage is the first step in any divorce process.  It is generally an easy step since it revolves around only two questions.  However, if it cannot be easily resolved the case may be transferred to the proper jurisdiction or dismissed and refiled.  Call our attorneys today if you have questions about where to file your divorce action.  (205) 623-1001

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