How to get divorced without going to court in Mobile, Alabama
After married couples decide that staying married is no longer desirable, many often wonder how to get divorced without going to court in Mobile, AL.
The answer is yes. It is possible in Alabama to get divorced without ever stepping foot in a courtroom.
However, whether it is practicable in your unique situation depends.
When filing an uncontested divorce, both parties must be in complete agreement upon the terms of their divorce. If one married individual hires an attorney to draft uncontested divorce papers, that attorney can only represent one of the married people.
The other spouse would either be without an attorney or would need to hire their own counsel. Sometimes spouses are mistaken and/or hopeful that they have an agreement but in actuality, they do not.
After an agreement is drafted dividing up the marital assets, debts, financial accounts, real estate, and designating the terms of child custody, visitation, and child support if applicable, the parties would both sign the agreement and have the same notarized.
Other forms and filing fees are also required by the court in certain situations. The failure to have all the necessary forms filed with your agreement could result in a judge refusing to issue the judgment of divorce in your case, thereby requiring you to actually go to a court hearing and costing yourself and your spouse time, money, and days off of work.
This misfiling can also further delay your desire to be divorced and move on with your life.
When divorcing with minor children, child support forms are required to be filed along with the agreement. The judge is required to follow the child support guidelines as provided for in Rule 32 of the Alabama Rules of Judicial Administration unless he accepts that following the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate.
Child support under the Rule 32 guidelines is a formula that takes into account both parties’ gross monthly incomes, monies spent on providing health-care coverage for the minor child(ren), and money paid by either party for work-related child-care costs.
The State of Alabama issued a Schedule of Basic Child-Support Obligations in January 2022 delineating the basic child support obligation based upon the number of minor children the parties have and the amount of the parties’ combined adjusted gross incomes.
The State of Alabama published new child support guidelines effective May 1, 2022 for situations where one parent has custody and the other visitation and also published new child support guidelines regarding joint physical custody effective June 1, 2023.
The court has to have jurisdiction over the parties, there has to be an answer from the defendant, testimony of the plaintiff, sworn affidavits of income and child support forms, and a proposed order.
Any failure to have the necessary documents could result in the Judge refusing to grant a divorce to the parties. The court is not allowed to give legal advice, therefore they cannot tell parties what was misfiled, not filed, or what needs to be corrected.
Once filed, an uncontested divorce must sit for 30 days before a judge can issue the judgment of divorce. If an agreement is filed in a previously filed contested divorce, the judge can enter the judgment of divorce at any time.
The easiest way to ensure a successful agreement and give you the best chance of getting divorced without going to court is by hiring a competent attorney(s) who will help you avoid the many mistakes and pitfalls that many often make when divorcing.
At Herlihy Family Law, we can advise you every step of the way to help you try and avoid the courtroom if that is your desire.
Author: Walter Gewin
Attorney Walter Gewin is a native of Mobile, Alabama. After graduation from law school, Walter clerked for Circuit Court Judge John Lockett before pursuing a career in the private practice of law. Initially, practicing a wide variety of law; Walter’s practice has become more focused on family law, including juvenile, probate, and domestic relations matters. Walter also currently serves as a certified Guardian Ad Litem in Dependency, Delinquency, and Domestic Relations matters.