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Alabama Divorce Basics

When faced with marital difficulties, many people have a lot of questions about the divorce process and their options. Having some basic information about Alabama family law can help you start focusing and planning ahead. The information provided on this page addresses some introductory issues that you may encounter. Once you address these issues, more specific and serious divorce planning should be undertaken as soon as possible. An experienced Alabama divorce lawyer can answer your questions and help you plan for a successful outcome in your case. The Burleson Firm, located in Birmingham, Alabama routinely handles divorces throughout the entire state. Call our law firm for answers to your divorce questions.

Residency and jurisdiction

To obtain a divorce, the court must have jurisdiction. To get jurisdiction, you must meet certain basic requirements. The first requirement under Alabama law is residency. At least one of the parties to the marriage must live in the state of Alabama. If the defendant does not live in Alabama, the plaintiff must have been a resident of Alabama for at least six months prior to filing for divorce.

The second requirement is that the court must have personal jurisdiction. The court automatically has personal jurisdiction over the plaintiff when the plaintiff files for divorce in Alabama. Even if the defendant is a non-resident, you must get personal jurisdiction over the defendant. Personal jurisdiction exists if the defendant has ever lived in Alabama or had significant contacts with the state of Alabama. For example, frequent visits to a relative, such as a child or parent who lives within this state, may be enough for personal jurisdiction. You may also get personal jurisdiction by serving the defendant with a divorce complaint while the defendant is physically present in Alabama. You can get personal jurisdiction this way even if it was the first time that the defendant ever came to Alabama.


Venue is the county in which you file your divorce case. Once you have determined that you will be able to satisfy the residency and jurisdiction requirements, you must decide where to file for divorce in Alabama. Under Alabama law, you may file in the county in which the defendant lives or the county in which you both lived at the time of the separation. If the defendant is a non-resident, you may file for divorce in the county in which you currently live. Sometimes you will have a choice between more than one county. If this occurs, you should consider the pros and cons of each county before filing. As the plaintiff, you get to choose the county that you believe will be best for you.

Contact The Burleson Firm

From a central location in Birmingham, Alabama, The Burleson Firm has helped families in Alabama with divorce issues for over 20 years. If you are thinking of filing for divorce or believe that your spouse is, we can help you determine the best course of action. Let The Burleson Firm schedule a no-obligation conference with a serious family law attorney. Our law firm can answer your divorce questions and assist you in any county in Alabama.

For a free phone consultation, call us at 1 (205) 795-2033.



(205) 795-2033
(888) 852-3952

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