Exclusively handling complex divorce and family law matters for individuals throughout Birmingham

Grounds for a contested divorce in Alabama

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2019 | Divorce |

Couples that strongly disagree often enough sometimes finally agree on one issue. It is time for an uncontested divorce.

Although the disagreements usually continue, such as how to divide assets and how to think about their future relationships with the children, the couple in an uncontested divorce at least commits to finding ways to settle things.

In a way, this agreement might seem surprising, but the reason can be simple. Contested divorces are usually more expensive and stressful and they take longer.

Grounds tell a court why it should declare a marriage over

Decades ago, U.S. courts saw marriage as permanent unless someone had a complaint so important it justified filing a suit in a court of law. Someone needed to state good enough reasons, or grounds, for the state to act.

Alabama divorce law keeps a list of grounds serious enough that the court will consider the suit. They include adultery, alcohol or drug addiction and committing or threatening dangerous violence.

The court also may accept other reasonable predictable grounds, such as one spouse’s imprisonment or confinement in a psychiatric facility for a certain number of years. Alternately, the judge could find the couple cannot live together or reconcile, and that trying is not in the family’s best interest.

Other grounds may seem more surprising:

  • A spouse being “physically and incurably” unable to enter “into the marriage state.”
  • A spouse committing a “crime against nature, whether with mankind or beast, either before or after marriage.”
  • The wife being pregnant at the start of the marriage without the husband knowing or being involved.

Proof and possible counter-charges

Grounds often affect custody, alimony and other settlement issues. And because divorces are public court actions, offering grounds from the list can be serious public accusations. When they are, some spouses quick stop contesting the divorce.

However, it is no wonder that counter-charges sometimes result and the battle quickly escalates in intensity.

In any case, simply stating the grounds is often not enough. The spouse making the charges must offer the court evidence that the grounds are valid.