Divorce Lawyer in Hoover, AL
Divorce takes a toll on all parties involved—a financial and emotional toll. But when you’ve decided that it’s time to move forward and move on, you have the chance for a fresh start. By working with an experienced Hoover, AL divorce attorney and creating a clear plan for what you want out of the divorce, you can play an active role in your divorce and do what is best for you.
The path to a fair divorce begins with an attorney who is focused on your best interests. Set up a consultation with Kirk Drennan Law now by calling us at 205-803-3500.
An Overview of Divorce Requirements in Alabama
It’s important to file in the correct county and ensure that you meet all residency requirements. When you file, you must verify that you or your spouse (or both) have lived in the State of Alabama for at least six months. Also important is the county in which you file. You must file in the county where your spouse resides or where the parties separated. This is one area where Hoover, AL divorces can be complicated, since the city lies in both Jefferson County and Shelby County. Verify that you are filing in the proper county to avoid unnecessary delays and extra expenses.
Alabama is one of the few states that recognizes fault divorce. While most states do not require one spouse to prove the wrongdoing of the other spouse to file for divorce, Alabama does not have that option. The closest thing Alabama has to a no-fault divorce is a divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences or incompatibility. Note, filing on grounds other than irreconcilable differences or incompatibility often takes more time and money than filing for no-fault divorce. Some of the other grounds for divorce in Alabama include:
- Abandonment for at least one year
- Deviant sexual behavior
- Habitual drug use or drunkenness
- Imprisonment for at least two years and a minimum sentence of seven years
If you are unsure what grounds to use when you file for divorce, discuss your options with your attorney. They can guide you to the best choice for your circumstances.
Hoover, AL Division of Assets and Debts
Like many other states, Alabama follows the principle of equitable distribution. This does not mean that everything is split down the middle; it means that assets are divided in a way that is fair, based on each spouse’s circumstances and abilities. Relevant factors include:
- Each spouse’s income and earning capacity
- Each spouse’s health and age
- Sacrifices made for the benefit of the marriage
- The length of the marriage
Only marital property is divided in a divorce. Non-marital property primarily includes property that one spouse had prior to the marriage and kept separate for the duration of the marriage. If assets began as non-marital but were eventually used for the benefit of the marriage, they may then be considered marital property.
Debt is divided in a similar manner. The court will determine each party’s ability to repay the debt, which individuals benefited from the debt, and who will keep any property tied to the debt.
Spousal Support in Hoover, AL
If a marriage involves one high-earning partner and one low-earning partner or homemaking partner, it’s likely that alimony will come up during divorce negotiations. If you believe you are entitled to alimony, you can ask for interim support until the divorce is final. This allows you to meet your financial obligations and keep up your standard of living while a final agreement is reached.
Most Alabama divorce agreements that include alimony allow for periodic payments of spousal support. This requires the higher-earning partner to pay a set amount on a set schedule to their ex-spouse. Alimony is often paid weekly, biweekly, or monthly. However, in most cases, this is not meant to be permanent. It is meant to be rehabilitative support, meaning that it will last long enough for the lower-earning spouse to get the job training and education they need to enter the workforce and support themselves.
A change to Alabama law in 2017 set a five-year time limit for rehabilitative alimony. The court can deviate from this standard if they choose. While permanent alimony used to be relatively common in Alabama, it is rarely awarded now. It is only considered if the divorcing couple has been married for at least 20 years.
Hoover, AL Child Custody Factors
Like most other states, Alabama courts look at what is in the child’s best interests when deciding custody. The court values the child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents, so shared custody or primary custody with significant visitation are both likely outcomes.
If both parties want primary custody, the court must decide what is in the child’s best interests. They look at each party’s parenting role in the past, other obligations in each parent’s schedule, the relationship each parent currently has with the child, and other factors.
Child Support Payments in Alabama
Alabama uses a shared income model to determine child support payments. This involves adding the total amount that each party would spend supporting their child if they remained together, then splitting the cost proportionately based on income. In most cases, this results in the lower-earning parent receiving child support from the higher-earning parent.
This model does have its limitations. The current chart used for this model tops out at $20,000 per month, so any income above that would need to be decided by the court or between the parents based upon the economic needs and lifestyle of the children.
Why You Should Work with Kirk Drennan Law
As you can see, divorce is an extremely complicated process. On top of that, emotions are high among all involved parties. The best way to protect your future and make decisions that are right for you and your children is to work with an experienced attorney. We can remain objective while advocating for you, ensuring that you don’t make rash decisions based on emotion. Furthermore, we can look at the long-term effects of your divorce agreement and ensure that you are not being treated unfairly.
The healing process takes time and patience. Trying to navigate divorce with your ex-partner on your own will only draw it out and make this time even more challenging for you. Set up a tine to talk with us—we’ll find out more about what you hope to get from the divorce and make a plan going forward. Our priority is to make sure that you and your children are taken care of and treated fairly during the divorce process. Get started now by calling us at 205-803-3500 or contacting us online.