Alabama Alabama

Divorce Law Guide

Alabama Divorce Overview

Residency Requirement
Living Separate & Apart
Processing Time
Filing Fee
6 months
24 months
210 days

The facts about divorce in Alabama

Divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is the legal process of severing a marriage contract, which is overseen by a court of law in the state in which one or both of the divorcing spouses live. The process for getting a divorce and acceptible grounds for divorce vary from state to state.

In Alabama, a divorce can be completed on average in a minimum of 210 days, with court fees of $154.00. The state has divorce residency requirements that require the spouse filing for the divorce to have lived in Alabama for a minimum of six months.

On this page, you can learn about Alabama's grounds for divorce, how the divorce process works, and about other parts of the divorce process, such as Alabama alimony calculation, the property division process and more.

Alabama Divorce Law Summary

What are the Grounds for Divorce?

The circuit court has power to divorce persons from the bonds of matrimony, upon a complaint filed by one of the parties, for the causes following:

  • In favor of either party, when the other was, at the time of the marriage physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state.

  • A divorce judgment is awarded to both parties, upon application of either the husband or wife, when the court is satisfied from all the testimony in the case that there exists such a complete incompatibility of temperament that the parties can no longer live together. A judgement is awarded in favor of either party, when the other, after marriage, shall have been confined in a mental hospital for a period of five successive years.

  • If such party from whom a divorce is sought is hopelessly and incurably insane at the time of the filing of the complaint; provided, however, that the superintendent of the mental hospital in which such person is confined shall make a certified statement, under oath, that it is his opinion and belief, after a complete and full study and examination of such person, that such person is hopelessly and incurably insane.

  • Upon application of either party, when the court finds there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and that further attempts at reconciliation are impractical or futile and not in the best interests of the parties or family.

  • In favor of the husband, when the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage, without his knowledge or agency.

  • In favor of either party to the marriage when the other has committed actual violence on his or her person, attended with danger to life or health, or when from his or her conduct there is reasonable apprehension of such violence.

  • In favor of the wife when the wife has lived, or shall have lived separate and apart from the bed and board of the husband for two years and without support from him for two years next preceding the filing of the complaint, and she has bona fide resided in this state during said period.

The following is a list of additional at-fault grounds for divorce upon application by an injured spouse:

  • For adultery

  • For voluntary abandonment from bed and board for one year next preceding the filing of the complaint

  • Imprisonment in the penitentiary of this or any other state for 2+ years

  • Convicted of a crime against nature, either before or after marriage

  • For becoming addicted after marriage to habitual drunkenness or to habitual use of opium, morphine, cocaine or other like drug

When a judgment of divorce is entered, in effect, it is awarded to both parties to the marriage.The circuit court shall have the power to divorce persons from the bonds of matrimony in favor of either party where there has been a final judgment of divorce from bed and board or of separate maintenance, when such judgment has been in force and effect for more than two years.

Alabama Divorce Guide - Frequently Asked Questions

In state of Alabama a number of factors are taken into account when ending a marriage.

1. Alabama Grounds for Divorce FAQ

Is Alabama a no-fault divorce state?

Alabama allows no-fault divorces, which means that a divorce is granted without establishing the fault of either spouse for causing the divorce. Grounds for a no-fault divorce in Alabama may be "irreconcilable differences", or similar grounds.

Does Alabama allow at-fault divorces?

In addition to no-fault grounds for divorce, Alabama is a fault divorce state which provides the option to file for a traditional at-fault divorce. Suing for an at-fault divorce alleges that the filer's spouse is the cause of the divorce due to engaging in one of Alabama's at-fault divorce grounds, such as adultery, abuse, or insanity.

In some cases, an at-fault divorce is pursued because it can entitle the suing spouse to a greater share of marital property or even punitive alimony payments if their partner's fault is proven. If their spouse contests these allegations, they may be challenged in court, which can lead to a lengthy and expensive legal process.

Does the state of Alabama allow incompatibility as grounds for divorce?

Yes, Alabama does allow incompatibility to be used as grounds for having a divorce.

Can you get a divorce in Alabama for living separate and apart?

In divorce law, "living seperate and apart" refers to married spouses who are living separate from each other, not engaging in a traditional marital relationship, and do not intend to repair the marriage.

In Alabama, married couples who have been living separate and apart for a minimum of 24 months may be granted a divorce on these grounds when sued for by either spouse.

2. Alabama Divorce Process FAQ

Does state of Alabama allow legal separation?

Legal separation (otherwise known as "judicial separation") is a legal process that enables spouses to be de facto separated while remaining legally married.

In some cases, Alabama will grant a judicial separation court order to a married couple who wishes to live separately. This order may settle issues generally handled in a divorce such as property division and alimony. A legal separation may be followed up by a full divorce, or the spouses may later reconcile and end the separation while remaining legally married.

What's the difference between a divorce and an annulment in Alabama?

While a divorce is the process of exiting a legally valid marriage, an annulment is the process of rendering a marriage null and void. An annulment makes it legally as if a marriage never took place to begin with.

Generally, annulment is used to conclude a marriage that should not have been legally recognized in the first place, such as a marriage where one of the spouses was unable to consent (by virtue of being underage, due to mental incapacity, or even intoxication), a marriage that was entered into under duress or via fraudulent means, or when one of the spouses was already legally married.

How long do I have to live in in the state of Alabama to get a divorce?

The state of Alabama requires that spouses suing for divorce to have lived in the state for a minimum of six months prior to filing divorce papers. Otherwise, Alabama courts are not considered to have jurisdiction over the divorce case.

What is the filing fee for a divorce in Alabama?

The court fees for filing the paperwork for a basic divorce in a Alabama court is $154.00. However, the total costs for a divorce can be much higher - especially in the case of a contested divorce, where attorney fees and mediation costs average from $15,000 to $20,000 or more.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Alabama?

If the process moves along without holdups, the paperwork for a divorce in Alabama can be processed in a minimum of 210 days. However, if the spouses are not in agreement about the divorce process, a contested divorce can take significantly longer.

3. Alabama General Divorce FAQ

Can my spouse stop me from getting a divorce?

Even if one spouse is opposed to getting a divorce, they cannot stop their partner from filing for and receiving a divorce in Alabama. While filing a non-contested joint petition for divorce speeds up the process, either spouse can file for divorce individually at any time.

Alabama permits spouses to sue for an at-fault divorce, and in this case their partner can contest the allegations in court. A non-fault petition for divorce, however, can generally not be contested by an unwilling spouse in Alabama.

Does Alabama have any limitations on remarriage after a divorce?

Alabama requires there to be an interval of at minimum two months between the finalization of a divorce decree and either one of the former spouses getting remarried. If either spouse remarries before the 2 month waiting period is completed, the marriage may be declared invalid. Remarriage following a divorce may affect the continued payment of alimony.

What is the divorce rate in Alabama?

According to the most recent CDC study, the yearly divorce rate in Alabama is 13 per 1,000 total population. The national divorce rate is 6.9 per 1,000 total population. Various studies suggest that nationwide, 30% to 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Does Alabama recognize same sex divorces?

Since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015, all states that previously did not allow same sex marriages, including Alabama, are required by federal law to perform both same sex marriages and same sex divorces. In some cases, court forms or procedures may still need to be updated to support same sex couples.

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