Grounds for Divorce in Birmingham, Alabama

About Alabama Divorce & Family Law

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What are the grounds for divorce in Alabama

Alabama law has 12 grounds for divorce, and the divorce grounds must be plead as a jurisdictional requirement. However, the divorce complaint need not state with any real particularity the details of any divorce grounds.

Incapacity

This is basically the inability to facilitate copulation, such as impotency, and being unable to perform sexual duties of a marriage.

Adultery

This is sex with someone outside the marriage bed. There must be proof of at least one act of sexual intercourse with the intent to continue having sex outside the marriage. Technically, one instance of sexual misconduct outside the marriage is not enough to constitute legal authority to grant a divorce based upon adultery.
Adultery is one of the most plead actions for divorce in Alabama. Adultery may be inferred from the circumstances. Evidence cannot simply be a conclusion. If adultery is alleged in the divorce complaint itself, acts of adultery after the filing of divorce may be admissible in court as evidence of adultery. A divorce defendant who has been accused of adultery may decline to answer questions about the affair as a privilege against self-incrimination and their Fifth Amendment Rights.

Abandonment
A divorce in Alabama may be granted if a party has abandoned the marital home for 1 year previous to the filing of a divorce complaint. To constitute abandonment, the spouse must leave without the other party’s consent, without cause, and have no intention to return.

Imprisonment
Yes, you can get divorce if your spouse goes to prison for two years and has a sentence of over seven years.

Habitual Drunkenness/Addiction
A marriage in Alabama may be dissolved and a divorce granted if a spouse becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs after the marriage. Frequently drinking in excess has been held sufficient enough to grant a divorce based upon drug addiction and habitual drunkenness.

Incompatibility of Temperament
A divorce in Alabama may be granted after testimony that the parties can no longer live together as husband and wife. Incompatibility refers to deep conflicts in personalities and dispositions that make it impossible for the parties to continue the marriage.
A common ground for divorce cited in Alabama proceedings, neither party must be guilty of misconduct or responsible for the divorce. Also, a spouse cannot deny a divorce in Alabama simply because they do not wish to be divorced if incompatibility has been established.

Insanity
No surprise that you may seek divorce from your spouse if they are confined to a mental hospital for five successive years.

Irretrievable Breakdown
A divorce may be granted under this section when there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interest of the parties or family. Most complaints for divorce in Alabama include this subsection along with the Incompatibility of Temperament pleading.

Pregnancy
If your wife gets pregnant at the time of the marriage and you didn’t cause it, you can get divorced. The child becomes bastardized. Obviously, this will likely require a DNA test if the wife contests the paternity of the child at the time of marriage.

Violence
If you commit violence against your spouse, not surprisingly, this is ground for divorce in Alabama. Even the apprehension of violence is enough to utilize this section.

How an Alabama Divorce Begins

An Alabama divorce begins by filing a divorce complaint in the proper jurisdiction. A divorce may be filed in the county where the defendant resides, the county where the parties resided at the time of separation, or if the defendant is a non-resident, in the county where the plaintiff resides. When both parties are residents, a divorce complaint may be filed in either county in which defendant resides or where the parties separated.
The divorce complaint must then be served upon the defendant to establish jurisdiction over the divorce.

Service of Process
After a divorce complaint is filed the defendant must be served with the complaint. Service is often made by the County Sheriff or private process server. Service is completed by delivering a copy of the divorce complaint and summons to the divorce defendant. Service may also be accomplished by certified mail. If the whereabouts of the divorce defendant are unknown, service by publication is available.

Default Divorce

A plaintiff who has filed for a divorce in Alabama may file for a default judgement 30-days after service of process on a non-responsive defendant. Thus, a defendant who has been served a complaint for divorce must answer the divorce complaint with 30 days or risks a default judgement being entered against them without further notice from the court.

Hire an Experienced Alabama Divorce Lawyer

The lawyers at Alabama Divorce and Family Law, LLC have successfully practiced law for decades and have handled thousands of divorce cases, from simple uncontested divorces to highly complex litigation. If you are thinking about a divorce in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Shelby County, or anywhere in Alabama, please contact us today for a confidential assessment of your case. If you have been served a divorce complaint you have a limited time to protect your rights, children, assets, and reputation. We regularly help clients in divorce proceedings from Mountain Brook, Vestavia, Hoover, Chelsea, Alabaster, Pelham, Bessemer, and across the great state of Alabama.