Legally speaking, marriage exists as a contract between two people. Like any contract, it has terms that are set that the two parties, the spouses, agree upon.
In Alabama divorce law, a divorce filing is fundamentally a dissolving of that contract, and like any contract, that involves the legal process of coming to some kind of agreement on how to end the contract, including how to divide assets, who to place the children with, and what visitation rights each person has, as well as alimony settlements.
Most times, the divorced couple agrees on those terms and comes to an easy settlement that allows them to move on quickly. But other times, that’s simply not possible. That’s when we must enter the process of a contested divorce. Contested divorces are what comes to mind when you think of divorce and typically are best navigated with an experienced divorce lawyer. This is the alternative to a quicker path referred to as an uncontested divorce.
At this point, the legally contested divorce process begins. This step is called discovery. Your contested divorce lawyer will begin gathering evidence, documents, and interviews supporting your position. After discovery, you and your attorney will begin negotiating outside of court with an independent mediator. Ideally, most of, if not all terms, can be settled at this point in the process, such as child custody and child support. If an agreement can’t be made during negotiations, those items will be taken to trial where a judge will rule on them as the final resolution.