What Is an “Uncontested Divorce?”

What Is an “Uncontested Divorce?”

by | Aug 4, 2022 | Case Information

Most clients desire to proceed through the divorce process by means of an uncontested divorce, but what does an uncontested divorce really mean? 

Uncontested Divorce in Alabama

In Alabama, when a party files for divorce, a reason or legal ground for the divorce must be stated. There are several fault-based grounds for divorce, but only two no-fault grounds for divorce: Specifically, incompatibility of the spouses and an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. 

In order to proceed with an uncontested divorce, both spouses must agree that the grounds for the divorce are for incompatibility and due to an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This is irrespective of any fault that may have actually occurred during the marriage (e.g. adultery, abuse, abandonment, etc.). Accordingly, if a party is insistent that a Final Judgment of Divorce state that the reason for divorce is anything other than incompatibility and an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, then the divorce cannot be uncontested. 

Further Considerations

In addition to the grounds for divorce, an uncontested divorce requires both parties to agree on all terms of the divorce, including division of property, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony. Sometimes this will require a back-and-forth negotiation between the parties and/or their respective attorneys. Only once an agreement has been made on every issue can the court grant an uncontested divorce without the need for a trial. Agreeing to most—but not all terms of the divorce—will require the parties to appear in court for a trial before a Final Judgment of Divorce can be granted. 

Once a final agreement has been made by the parties and the uncontested divorce is filed with the Court, there is a period of thirty (30) days before the Court is permitted to enter the Final Judgment of Divorce. This thirty (30) day period begins once the Complaint for Divorce is filed with the Court and expires on the 31st day thereafter. 

In an uncontested divorce, the Defendant is not served with the Complaint. Instead, the Defendant signs and files an Answer and Waiver.  Once all required documents are received by the Court and the thirty (30) days expire, the Court may then enter the Final Judgment of Divorce without the need for a trial or any appearance in court by the parties and/or their attorneys of record. 

Contact Vella & King, Attorneys at Law

If you are interested in speaking to an attorney in our firm about a possible uncontested divorce from your spouse, please contact us or give us a call today.

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