Some Facts You Must Know In An Alabama Contested Divorce

All divorces can be messy, emotional, and filled with stress and legal complexity. However, if you don’t see eye-to-eye with your partner, a contested divorce makes critical decisions, such as child support, significantly more challenging to agree on.

In a contested divorce, you must fully understand your legal options and have all the information needed to prepare for the road ahead after your divorce is finalized.

In an uncontested divorce, many major decisions can be made ahead of going to court, and you and your skilled, knowledgeable divorce lawyer will commonly have a plan already drawn out for the court to ratify. In a contested divorce, you usually will go before the court with information and disputes that the court may have to decide; therefore, you must arm yourself with legal knowledge and support ahead of time.

Every contested divorce is unique, but decisions about custody, child support, alimony, etc., will significantly impact your future life and finances. Therefore, you and your Birmingham divorce lawyer must prepare all the critical financial (and other pertinent documentation) to fully support your financial, custodial, and other significant issues.

For example, in a contested divorce, you and your spouse may not agree on the amount of child support to be paid. So, an Alabama judge will hear the financial facts and use Alabama’s child support guidelines to decide on the matter.

In all these cases, the child support amount in Alabama is based on the “Income Shares Model.” This financial guideline considers the combined income of both you and your spouse. Using both parents’ combined adjusted gross income, the court will decide on the amount needed to support your child.

So, in the end, almost all significant issues in a contested divorce are negotiations, and your Birmingham divorce lawyer’s expertise, knowledge, and proficiency will be invaluable to achieving the success you hope for.

Important Facts About Alabama’s Child Support Guidelines You Should Know.

In a contested divorce, issues such as alimony, custody, asset distribution, and more must be decided, and rarely do you and your partner agree. However, child support in most divorces can be more easily resolved due to Alabama’s very specific child support guidelines.

Using the previously mentioned “income share” method to calculate child support payments, both parents contribute to the well-being and raising of their child.

The court dictates the amount of support based mainly on the number of children and your and your partner’s combined income.

Some of the financial factors that the court will consider are;

  • The combined gross income of both parents.
  • The percentage of your total gross income.
  • How many of your children are under 19 years of age.
  • If you or your partner have pre-existing obligations to pay alimony and child support.
  • What funds are needed for your child’s health insurance, and who is responsible for this payment?
  • Any amount paid for work-related childcare and other pertinent factors.

The Alabama court attempts to estimate the amount of support your child would have had if you had not divorced and tries to emulate that amount and lifestyle. Essentially, the court wants to maintain your child’s quality of upbringing as if you had not divorced.

To Solve Child Support Issues, Can the Alabama Court Deviate From the “Guidelines?”

The simple answer is yes; the Alabama courts have some latitude to alter these guidelines if you and your spouse’s incomes are below or above the guidelines. However, this latitude is restrained and must relate to the specific needs of raising the children.

The courts may consider many factors if they feel the guidelines should be altered, such as;

  • The extreme cost of transportation if one of you must travel a long way for visitation.
  • Additional education expenses incurred before your child reaches the age of majority.
  • If you have shared physical custody or visitation rights, but one parent cares for the child much more of the time.
  • If the child has been provided with assets or outside unearned income.
  • The court may determine various other circumstances that contribute to the child’s best interest for whom support is being determined.

So, although these guidelines are stringent, they can be altered for specific reasons, and your experienced and thorough Birmingham divorce lawyer will thoroughly explain the child support guidelines and exceptions if applicable to your case.

What Additional Steps Are Needed In an Alabama Contested Divorce?

In an uncontested Alabama divorce, both parties may come to a more amiable and rational agreement on major issues before they get into court; this is not the case in a contested divorce.

In a contested divorce, you and your partner cannot usually arrive at critical decisions, and the entire process becomes significantly more challenging and legally complex.

Your lawyer will explain that the contested divorce process is quite complicated, and there are crucial steps that must be followed before your divorce can be finalized.

Some examples of these steps are:

  • One of you must establish the grounds for divorce and correctly file a complaint with the court. In the complaint, your lawyer commonly mentions your requested terms on asset distribution, property, child custody, financial support, and more.
  • Your complaint will officially be served on your partner, and they (or their lawyer) will almost always respond with a counterclaim; then, the period of discovery begins.
  • You can file information and evidence to support your case in the discovery phases. However, the legalities have particular time periods and deadlines, and you must have the professional and knowledgeable guidance of a Birmingham divorce lawyer well-versed in this process.
  • When discovery is concluded, the negotiations (and possibly mediation) will start, and the Alabama court will analyze both sides of the case and issue a final decision.

All these steps are critical, and the court’s decision will significantly impact your future life and finances, so expert, thorough, and empathetic professional legal guidance is mandatory.

I May Be Facing a Contested Divorce; How Should I Proceed?

Contested divorces in Alabama are stressful, emotionally exhausting, and legally complex. Therefore, you should never attempt to enter into these situations without thorough professional, empathetic, and knowledgeable legal guidance. Your Birmingham divorce lawyer must have the successful and winning history and knowledge required to face and overcome the many obstacles you must overcome.

The Rose Law Firm, LLC has one of Alabama’s most outstanding and winning reputations for managing complex divorce cases. They are passionate and caring about you, your child, and your future and will stand by your side every step of this arduous process.

Call them today for a free consultation on your case at 205-858-9224, and they will carefully and thoroughly analyze all aspects of your case and proceed in a manner that always has your and your family’s best interests in mind.