What are Grounds for Divorce in Alabama?
When filing for divorce, there are a number of reasons why a marriage could be being dissolving. The complaint for divorce must have causes, or grounds, that are recognized in the state of Alabama. When you file and choose the grounds of your divorce, you must have enough proof in court that your marriage should be granted a divorce based on those grounds. These grounds for divorce are agreed upon by both parties or the grounds must be proven in court by the filing spouse.
These grounds are divided into two groups: “fault” and “no-fault.” The following are the statutory grounds that may be recognized by a court to divorce person from the bonds of matrimony in the state of Alabama, per Alabama Code, Title 30, Chapters: 2-1 and 2-2:
Fault Divorce Grounds
- One spouse has become physically and incurably incapacitated from becoming married;
- A spouse has been imprisoned for two years or more and sentenced to a minimum of seven years;
- A spouse committed a crime against nature, either before or after marriage;
- After marrying, a spouse becomes addicted to hard drugs (e.g., cocaine) and/or alcohol;
- Incurable insanity for five successive years;
- A premarital pregnancy that was unknown to the husband;
- An occurrence of domestic violence; or,
- A wife has lived separately without support from her husband for two years.
Fault divorces may be particularly complex and emotionally painful, not only because of the various situations that have caused your marriage to end, but also because of where the burden of proof lies. Living with a partner who battling alcohol or drug abuse or in a domestic violence situation may require extra attention and care for the safety of you and your children.
If you choose a fault divorce, you must remember that you must prove in court the cause of your marriage’s dissolution. You will want to work with an experienced Alabama divorce lawyer who has a thorough understanding of Alabama family law if a fault divorce is the best way to dissolve your marriage.
No-Fault Divorce Grounds
- An irretrievable breakdown of the marriage; or,
- Voluntary abandonment of the marriage occurring for at least one year
Most divorces in Alabama are granted on no-fault grounds. With these causes, you do not have to prove in court why the divorce needs to be granted. The court will determine whether the facts are true.
Generally speaking, whether a fault divorce or a no-fault divorce is chosen, the judgement is awarded to both parties. There are some reasons, however, where the judgment is based on the fault of the offending party. For example, this becomes important when the judge needs to order a judgment on property division, i.e., the non-offending party would receive a larger share of the marital property. Alabama generally distributes marital property equitably, but in this case marital property will not be split 50/50.
Again, when working with an experienced Alabama divorce lawyer, you can strategize about what cause would be the best fit for you and your family’s needs. Some reasons are very cut and dry and easy to determine, while others may fall under broader circumstances and be more complicated.
Filing for divorce can be an excruciatingly painful and confusing time in your life. You may be feeling overwhelmed by the complexities of Alabama family law and the cause of your divorce. Attorney Ginger Poynter understands all that you may be going through as you are weighing the decision to end your marriage. If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Alabama, you’ll want a seasoned, experienced divorce attorney who knows the intricacies of Alabama family law and statutes. The Law Office of Ginger Poynter, LLC can assist in this major life transition, giving you guidance and support along the way. She will passionately fight for you and your rights and will work toward the quickest and most amicable resolution possible. To learn more, contact us at 251-433-5860 today.