If you or your partner is thinking about divorce, it’s important to understand which type of divorce you’re entering in to. There are two types of divorce – uncontested and contested.
Distinguishing your case is the first step towards understanding what legal steps need to be taken.
What is Uncontested Divorce?
Also called “divorce by agreement,” uncontested divorce refers to cases where both parties wholly agree on issues such as property settlement, child custody, child support, visitation, and all other areas affected by the dissolution of the marriage. Only if you and your partner agree on the terms of these areas can you apply for uncontested divorce. Even in uncontested divorces, it’s helpful to have a legal team look over paperwork and make sure you’re not settling for a financial or child custody agreement that you’ll regret down the road.
What is Contested Divorce?
If however, you and your partner disagree on any issue regarding your divorce, you will apply for a contested divorce. All divorces are decided by judges in Alabama, but in the case of a contested divorce, the judge will be deciding exactly how the divorce will be structured under current Alabama law. Contested divorces are the most complicated and require several steps before the process is complete.
On What Grounds?
Discussing with your lawyer your grounds for divorce is the first step, as you will work with your lawyer to understand how to present these grounds in court. There are several grounds for divorce available to citizens of Alabama. The most common legal grounds for divorce relate to incompatibility. When the marriage is ending because both parties agree that the relationship has broken down irretrievably, this can present the grounds for a no-fault basis divorce. “No fault” means that neither party is blaming the other for the divorce. It’s not only the most common basis for divorce, but also results in the simplest process. According to DivorceNet, other legal grounds for divorce in Alabama can include abuse, adultery, habitual drunkenness, abandonment of the marriage, mental illness that requires at least five years of institutionalized hospitalization, certain crimes, imprisonment, and more.
Whichever type of divorce you’re entering into, you’ll need to work with your lawyer to determine your desires and the best situations regarding division of assets, child support, and child custody. The division of marital property includes the family home, retirement plans, other real estate, investments, business interest, and joint debts.
Child support and custody are often hot buttons in divorce, and judges take into consideration the incomes and lifestyles of both parents, combined with the wellbeing and needs of the child.
Is There Another Way? Collaborative Divorce
It’s becoming more and more common for couples to decide that they want a more personalized divorce experience and to write their “own divorce story.” Many couples find the collaborative divorce process helpful in minimizing the harmful effects of divorce. With the assistance of a lawyer, couples can often work out a Collaborative Divorce that is goal-driven, future-oriented, and as Divorce Magazine points out, more focused on the needs of their families.
Whether you’re wanting to know more about Collaborative Divorce, have questions regarding your grounds for divorce, or simply want to get the process moving, the legal team here at The Zwiebel Law Firm is here to guide you. Call us today at (205) 623-1001
The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
826 Columbiana Road
Birmingham, AL 35209
Phone: (205) 623-1001
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