In the best-case scenario, divorcing spouses will be able to agree on all the terms of their separation, making it much easier to finalize the divorce. In an uncontested divorce, the court will usually not need to make any determinations because the spouses will have already specified how property and assets are to be divided.
For one reason or another, a divorcing couple may not be able to manage an uncontested divorce. Many find that they are unable to resolve issues in a friendly and reasonable manner, and they will need to file for a contested divorce.
What Is Contested Divorce?
A divorce becomes contested when the spouses do not agree on one or more aspects of the divorce. A contested divorce does not have to be based upon the fault of one party or the other because Alabama is a “No-Fault” State. The Plaintiff only needs to say, and be able to prove, that the marriage is irretrievably broken or that the Plaintiff and the Defendant are incompatible. However, there are also several fault-based divorce grounds that the Plaintiff can allege as long as he or she can prove those grounds.
According to Alabama Code § 30-2-1 grounds for a fault-based divorce include:
- A spouse was physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state at the time of the marriage
- Imprisonment of two years with a sentence of seven years or longer
- Commission of a crime against nature before or after marriage
- Habitual drunkenness or use of opium, morphine, cocaine, or other hard drugs
- Confinement in a mental hospital for a period of five successive years and a spouse being incurably insane
- Wife pregnant at the time of marriage without knowledge of husband
- Spouse committed actual violence on the other
- Wife has lived separate and apart from husband for two years without support from him but has still resided in Alabama
Reasons to Get a Contested Divorce
Your spouse may be incapable of compromise, have unrealistic expectations about life after the divorce, or may not want a divorce at all. A contested divorce can allow you to move on with your life instead of having to wait for your spouse to come around, especially if they refuse to sign the divorce papers. Sometimes, the spouse and/or the children are the victims of domestic violence. These cases can be difficult to resolve on an uncontested basis due to the balance of power in the relationship. It is often necessary to file a contested divorce in these situations and to also see a Protection Order.
Steps to Filing and Going Through a Contested Divorce
The first step in your contested divorce will be the actual filing of your complaint that states the grounds for the divorce. Once it is filed, you will have to serve a copy of your Complaint to your spouse by Sheriff, process server, or certified mail. Once your spouse is served, he or she will have 30 days to respond to your complaint.
The court will issue the final decree only after all outstanding issues have been resolved by the parties or have been heard by the judge assigned to your case.
How Can Contested Divorce Lawyers at New Beginnings Family Law Help Me?
Do you need to pursue a contested divorce in Huntsville or a surrounding area in Alabama? Make sure you contact New Beginnings Family Law right away for assistance with your case.
Our attorneys can sympathize with your situation, because many of us have been through this ourselves. We are here to provide you compassionate, knowledgeable counsel, and protect your best interests throughout the divorce process.