Alabama is one of the states that would prefer you take your divorce matter more slowly, and they enforce this with a mandatory waiting period. How long a divorce takes in Alabama, however, depends on several factors, chief among them whether you and your spouse can agree on major issues.
Alabama’s Cooling Off Period
Alabama law requires that couples have a cooling off period, also called a waiting period, that lasts for 30 days and begins on the day you file for divorce. Under the most ideal and quickest scenario, you will never have a divorce in Alabama that is concluded in under 30 days. The state has this rule to make sure that you aren’t going to change your mind after you file the legal paperwork to end your marriage.
A Spouse’s Time Limit to Respond
Another time limit to consider is the other spouse’s period to reply to a complaint for divorce. This period is also 30 days, which can overlap with the state’s mandatory cooling off period.
When just one spouse files a complaint for divorce, they are required to “serve” the paperwork on the other spouse. If the divorce is amicable, the other spouse can just sign for the paperwork at the courthouse, which will speed up the process.
Otherwise, there is a slight variation to this time. This process can be a challenge if they have trouble finding the other spouse or if the spouse avoids the service.
Once the other spouse has been successfully served, it is only then that the 30-day clock will begin to run for a response. For example, if it takes two weeks to serve your spouse with the paperwork, you are already six weeks into the divorce before you can ask a judge to sign the final order.
If you are considering divorce, give our experienced family law office a call at 334-737-3718 or online via our website contact form to request a free review of your divorce case. Your attorney will guide you on how to proceed from there.