Persons seeking a divorce in Alabama must reside in the state for 6 months or 180 days. Petitions can be filed in the county where one of the parties resides or in the county where the separation took place.

Alabama uses Fault and No-Fault grounds for divorce. Alabama No-Fault based grounds are:

  • Incompatibility
  • Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year. This means the parties are no longer living in the same house; or if still residing in the same home, no longer sharing a bed.

Fault based grounds in Alabama are:

  • Incapacitated from entering into the marriage state
  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment
  • Habitual drunkenness or drug use
  • Insanity for five successive years
  • In favor of the husband, when the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage, without his knowledge or agency
  • Domestic abuse

Fault grounds are generally used when filing a divorce action in Alabama in order to obtain an advantage over the other spouse in contested custody cases, property division, or the determination of the amount of alimony. Custody of children in Alabama divorces is determined by the best interest of the child standard. The court assumes that it is in the best interest of the child to maintain contact with both parents. Custody is usually given to the primary caregiver in cases involving young children; however, it is no longer true that the wife always gets custody of the children when they are older.

Alabama like every state in the union requires that both parents provide financial support for the child. The court attempts to maintain the standard of living the child enjoyed during the marriage. The amount of support is determined by a formula that calculates the earning potential of each spouse and the amount of time each spouse spends with the child.

Alabama is an equitable division state in determining the division of the marital estate. At the time an action is filed, the parties to the divorced are enjoined from disposing of any property without court consent until property division is decided. All property obtained during the marriage regardless of how it is titled is considered part of the marital estate. The judge divides the property in a way that is considered fair but not necessarily equal.


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