Divorce is one of those words that come with a lot of emotional baggage the moment it escapes your mouth. Images of husband and wife hurling insults and accusations across a table. Heart-wrenching child custodies hearings. Hired gun attorneys who come in and slice and dice your family without regard for the fact that there are real people involved with feelings. And in truth, sometimes a divorce may play out exactly in such a fashion. But… it doesn't have to.
At the Eversole Law Firm in Birmingham, Alabama, we have a long and successful history representing clients in divorce cases in the surrounding areas and throughout the state, including Jefferson, Shelby and Madison counties. Our number one priority is the protection of your rights and the rights of your family. That may mean going to court, and sure, we can be sharks if you want us to be. Our founder, Steven D. Eversole, is known for his aggressive style in the courtroom. But we find that oftentimes we are able to just as effectively handle a divorce through cooperative mediation, in a non-hostile environment where people don't walk away feeling like they've run the gauntlet. This approach can be especially important in cases where children are involved.
Our legal team is well versed in all the legal issues pertaining to divorce in the state of Alabama. In fact, Steven Eversole is the only attorney in Alabama to publish his own blog on the subject, an ongoing project that allows him to always stay up-to-date on even the slightest changes in the law. Let us take you through some of the issues about which you may have specific concerns:
Alabama Divorce Proceedings
Every state has its own legal requirements that a married couple must meet before a divorce can be granted. In Alabama, a 30-day waiting period is required. Once that requirement is met, there are various paths available to formalize a divorce, but the particularities and cost will depend on, amongst other things, the extent to which the two spouses are willing to cooperate with one another.
General Legal Requirements For A Divorce in Alabama
Before reading any further, keep in mind the issues raised here are not all-encompassing; you should not expect to glean all you need to know about Alabama divorce law from this or any other website. That said, it's worth noting a few things:
- In order to get a divorce in Alabama, at least one of the partners in the marriage has to be a resident of the state. In addition, at least one of the partners must fall under the legal jurisdiction of the court.
- Once the aforementioned issues of residency and jurisdiction are satisfied, the petition for divorce must be filed in the appropriate county and the other partner must be notified. If the petitioner fails to notify, the divorce could be rendered invalid.
- Once the other spouse is made aware of the petition of divorce, he/she has 30 days to respond.
Now, as we've already said, there is much more to the process than this and we welcome you to learn more by contacting us for a free initial consultation.
Misconduct During Marriage in Alabama
The state of Alabama acknowledges certain activities as misconduct during marriage and if one party can prove this, the court can grant a divorce in that party's favor, including awards from the state of the other party guilty of misconduct during marriage (and the misconduct can impact the amount of the award as well). There are, however, two exceptions to this rule:
- Misconduct awards cannot be granted for property owned separately by the accused party before the marriage and kept separate during the marriage.
- Misconduct awards cannot be granted for inherited or gifted property if said property was kept separate during the marriage.
Collaborative and Cooperative Divorce in Alabama
In order to spare yourself and your family from the process of litigation (oftentimes, this means savings in money and less scrutiny on your private lives), there are the options of collaborative and cooperative divorce proceedings. In these types of cases, the two spouses take on separate attorneys (each one there first and foremost to protect their own client's rights and assets) who will help negotiate a final outcome that they will then offer to the court for approval.
In order for an attorney to provide assistance in a collaborative divorce proceeding in Alabama, he must be certified by the Collaborative Divorce Council, whereas an attorney needs no such specific certification to engage in a cooperative divorce proceeding. Our firm's founder, Steven D. Eversole, is currently getting certified as a Collaborative Divorce Counselor, and frequently offers his services in cooperative divorce proceedings as well as divorce mediation.
Divorce Mediation in Alabama
Another option for a couple in dispute over the details of the estate, etc.. – aside from litigation – is divorce mediation. In Alabama divorce mediation, only one attorney is necessary, though each spouse may procure their own attorney if they so wish. The agreement reached at the end of divorce mediation must still be validated by the court, so the value of the attorney(s) is the professional background and knowledge required to ensure the settlement doesn't run afoul of any state laws or court rules.
Divorce Litigation / Contested Divorce in Alabama
In the above sections, we've discussed the many avenues open to couples where both partners are willing to be relatively civil and cooperative. But let's face it – it doesn't always work out that way. If it comes to that, you need a competent divorce attorney with years of experience successfully handling cases in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. You need someone who is known simultaneously for a gladiator style in the arena of the courtroom, and a compassionate, supportive style with their clients outside the courtroom, where – let's be frank – we know the real emotional roller coaster of the divorce process is taking place. That attorney, we humbly submit, is Steven D. Eversole.
Divorce and Taxes in Alabama
Divorce and taxes are complicated enough on their own; when combined, they beget a monster no one should have to face without an experienced and competent attorney at their side. If you have marital property, you're better off bringing in a professional to assess the situation and offer advice BEFORE THE DIVORCE rather than after, because the difference between the two can be enormous (in terms of money saved or lost). Whether you have questions about claiming alimony as a deduction, or how dividing investments will impact your capital gains tax, contact us immediately for a free initial consultation.