Sometimes, spouses can no longer live together, remain as a couple, and stay married. Whatever the reason, if this is the case for you and your spouse, you need to file for a divorce. Continue reading to learn more about Divorce for Adultery and Incompatibility in the State of Alabama.
In Alabama, two of the most common reasons for divorce are adultery and incompatibility.
Both of which mean different things and require different approaches to pursue. However, it’s important that you are able to explain the reason why you’re getting a divorce for a judge to grant it.
It’s important to note that the grounds for divorce can greatly impact how your assets will divide, alimony payments, and some other financial implications.
In this article, we’re looking at how to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery and incompatibility. As well as what the implications are and what you should do next.
Filing for Divorce in Alabama – Where To Start
When you and/or your spouse have decided you want to file for divorce, the first thing you should do is seek representation from an experienced divorce attorney.
Divorce can become particularly complex and is often emotional. You need an experienced lawyer fighting for your rights if you’re going to receive everything you’re entitled to.
The person filing for divorce is called the ‘plaintiff.’ The plaintiff is responsible for citing a legal ground for the divorce.
In Alabama, couples have the option to file for a fault-based divorce or a no-fault divorce. Here is a closer look at what each of these types of divorce means:
Grounds for a No-Fault Divorce in Alabama
There has to be a legally acceptable reason for a judge to grant a divorce in the state of Alabama. After all, marriage is a legal contract.
However, sometimes it’s hard to define the exact reason or place blame on one spouse. Under these circumstances, you’re able to file for a ‘no-fault’ divorce. This essentially means you’re citing one of the following two reasons:
Incompatibility – this means that either one or both of you agree that you’re not able to get along any longer.
Irretrievable breakdown of your marriage – this means that either one or both of you say that your marriage is simply beyond repair.
No-fault divorces are typically easier and quicker to resolve than fault-based divorces and less expensive.
Grounds for a Fault-Based Divorce in Alabama
As the name suggests, a fault-based divorce is filing for divorce by placing fault on your spouse. This form of divorce is often more demanding, as it requires you to prove your allegations to a judge.
It also means airing your ‘dirty laundry’ in a public forum and confronting your spouse. This form of divorce is typically a more drawn out and expensive process than a no-fault divorce.
Some of the grounds for a fault-based divorce in Alabama include:
- Habitual drunkenness
- Physically and incurably incapacitation of a spouse while getting married
- Discovering the wife was pregnant at the time of marriage without disclosing it
- Being in prison for at least 2 of a 7-year sentence
- Mental illness that has resulted in at least 5 consecutive years in an institution
- Performing a crime against nature, human or beast
- Abandoning the marriage for at least 12 months
Filing for Divorce on the Grounds of Adultery
Adultery is the most common reason cited in a fault-based divorce. In Alabama, adultery is defined in section 13A-13-2 of the Alabama code as:
A person commits adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is not his spouse and lives in cohabitation with that other person when he or that other person is married.
If you can prove your spouse committed adultery, there is a good chance you will be granted a divorce on those grounds.
How Proving Adultery Affects Alimony and Division of Assets
When two people are granted a divorce and go their separate ways, their assets have to be divided fairly and reasonably.
This doesn’t mean everything will be split 50/50. Neither does it mean if one spouse has contributed a lot more during the marriage, they will receive more from the settlement.
A judge has to make a determination on how the assets should be split. This also includes whether or not the judge will award alimony and how much it should be.
The main factors a judge will take into account when deciding on how to divide assets and award alimony are:
- The conduct of the spouses during the marriage and the grounds for divorce
- The earning ability of both spouses
- How long the marriage lasted
- The age and health of both spouses
- The current living situation and standard of living of both spouses
- Values of the property and assets each spouse has to their names
- Any other facts and circumstances the judge thinks are relevant to the case.
As you can see, the grounds for divorce and the conduct of both spouses are factors judges take into account when deciding on how to award both spouses.
This doesn’t mean the court will award you more favorably if your partner commits adultery. But it does mean it can be taken into account.
There is also a limitation when granting a divorce on the grounds of adultery in Alabama; Judges cannot award the plaintiff any of the adulterous spouse’s non-marital property.
Is There a Homewrecker Law in Alabama?
The ‘Homewrecker’ law, which is also called the alienation of affection lawsuit, is a law that enables someone to sue a third party for damages incurred due to the break up of their marriage.
At the time of writing this, however, legislation has been passed to abolish alienation of affection laws in Alabama.
There are currently only six states that currently have some form of Homewrecker law.
About Warren Freeman Attorney at Law
If you’re considering divorcing your partner on either grounds of adultery or incompatibility, hiring an experienced attorney is the only way to seek your most favorable settlement.
Going through a divorce is an emotionally draining experience. It would be best if you didn’t try to also navigate the legal process yourself, especially with so much on the line.
Attorney Warren Freeman has more than two decade’s experience representing clients in Alabama. He’s represented many clients on both sides of divorce proceedings and has a comprehensive understanding of the legal system in Alabama.
If you want the very best outcome in your case, call the office of Warren Freeman, Attorney at Law, today on (256) 253-3169, or contact us by filling out a form here.