Residency Requirements for Divorce in Alabama
When 1 of the spouses is a nonresident of the state, the spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of the state for at least 6 months before filing for divorce. The divorce may be filed for in any of the following: (1) the county where the defendant resides; (2) the county where the spouses both resided at the time of their separation; or (3) the county where the plaintiff resides if the defendant is a non-resident of Alabama. [Code of Alabama; Title 30, Chapters 2-4 and 2-5].
Grounds for Divorce in Alabama
Grounds for No-Fault Divorce
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
- Complete incompatibility of temperament such that the parties can no longer live together
- Voluntary separation for over 1 year
Grounds for General Divorce
- Living separate and apart without cohabitation for over 2 years without the husband supporting the wife (divorce must be filed by wife)
- Imprisonment (for over 2 years if the total sentence is over 7 years)
- Unnatural sexual behavior before or after the marriage
- Drug abuse
- Confinement for incurable insanity for over 5 years
- Wife pregnant by another at the time of the marriage without the husband’s knowledge
- Physical abuse or reasonable fear of physical abuse
- Lack of physical ability to consummate marriage
Divorce Mediation Requirements
There is no legal provision in Alabama for mediation.
Custody of any children of the marriage may be granted to either parent. Factors to be considered are:
- The age and sex of the child
- The safety and well-being of the child
- The moral character of the parents.
The wishes of the child are also a factor to be considered. There is a legal presumption against giving custody to any person who has inflicted any violence against either a spouse or a child. In abuse cases, the judge is required to consider any history of domestic abuse and may not consider the fact that a parent or spouse has relocated to avoid abuse. Alabama officially favors joint custody (but not equal physical custody) if in the best interests of the child and the parents agree. Factors to be considered are:
- Parental custody agreement
- Parental cooperation
- Parental ability to encourage love and sharing
- Any history of abuse
- Geographic proximity of parents
Joint custody may be awarded. However, if the wife abandons the husband and the children are over 7 years old, the husband is granted custody if he is suitable. Grandparents may be given visitation rights.
Alabama Divorce Law : Property Division
Under Alabama case law, Alabama is an “equitable distribution” state and the judge has full discretion to divide the any jointly-owned real estate or personal property, but does not have the authority to award the wife’s separate property to the husband (regardless of whether the wife’s separate property was obtained before or after the marriage).