Alabama divorce law is quite extensive. If you are getting a divorce in Alabama, it is prudent to familiarize yourself with its divorce laws including recent Alabama divorce law updates. Knowledge is a proven effective weapon that can help ease your burden. It is common knowledge that divorce by itself is a difficult process; do not complicate it even more by going to battle unprepared.
Alabama Divorce Law Basics
The process of getting a divorce in Alabama is straightforward. Under its laws, divorce can be based on fault grounds or it can be a no-fault divorce. Title 30, Chapter 2, Section 1 of the Code of Alabama enumerates 12 grounds for divorce, which includes adultery, voluntary abandonment, substance abuse or habitual drunkenness, irretrievable breakdown, and incompatibility among others. After filing for divorce, there is a 30-day waiting period before your divorce decree will be finalized.
Alabama divorce law inevitably includes issues of property division, child custody, alimony, and child support. It is in these areas that changes normally occur.
Alabama Divorce Law Updates
Here are a few Alabama divorce law updates that you should know. Throughout your divorce process, the following information may prove useful to you.
Bayliss vs. Bayliss is a popular 1989 case that dwelled on child support issues. Payment of college expenses was considered by the Alabama divorce law as part of child support for divorced parents. The said case made post-minority support for college education applicable to custodial and non-custodial parents. However, the Bayliss ruling had been criticized in that it allegedly violates the equal protection embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment since it covers only divorced parents.
The issue was finally resolved by the Alabama Supreme Court in the divorce case Christopher vs. Christopher, wherein it reversed the 24 year old Bayliss doctrine. The Supreme Court ruled that indeed the Bayliss decision violated the legislative power because there was no legislative enactment that authorizes post-minority support for college education. It further explained that the Bayliss decision departed from the common law and statute definitions of age of majority. In light of the Christopher vs. Christopher case, the application of Alabama laws for divorce is drastically changed. Now, the choice to pay for your children’s college expenses, whether you are a custodial or non-custodial parent, depends entirely on you.
Getting an Alabama divorce is no longer inexistent for same-sex couples as it previously was. This update is a consequence of the 2015 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell vs. Hodges, which essentially legalized same-sex marriage across the United States. Through the case, same-sex marriages are now deemed valid under the law. But Alabama was actually ahead of the Obergefell ruling because gay marriage was already recognized in the state on February 9, 2015. In fact, Judge Karen Hall of the Madison County Circuit had approved the divorce of same-sex couples Shrie Michelle Richmond and Kirsten Allysse Richmond, whose initial divorce request she denied.
The Obergefell ruling is still important because it once and for all ended the confusing disparity in decisions of the Federal District Court and Alabama Supreme Court. Presently, married same-sex couples, whether wedded in Alabama or out of state, may get an Alabama divorce provided they comply with the residency requirement.
Now that you are well-informed of Alabama divorce laws, you are on your way to a new beginning. While the journey has struggles, be comforted by the fact that your divorce will teach you special lessons that will mold you into a stronger individual.