For most individuals, filing for divorce will be their only formal experience with the legal system, including hiring an attorney, appearing in court, and researching state laws. It can be an intimidating experience for many individuals, especially when formal legal jargon is involved.
The truth is that, even though the legal system essentially exists for your protection, failing to understand and successfully navigate its complexities can be to your severe detriment.
That is why it is important to find a family lawyer in Daphne, AL, to assist you with your case and help you understand the legal process behind a divorce. In addition, doing a fair amount of research on your own is advisable. Start here with the following legal basics. Below are a few points you should know about filing for a divorce, including how to qualify and how you and your spouse will be affected during this complex process.
Believe it or not, divorce is not necessarily a legal right or something you can request on a whim. You need to meet certain requirements in order to qualify. The state of Alabama has dictated how you can qualify. These are some of the basics:
- You must meet residency requirements. One or both of you must have resided in the state of Alabama for a certain minimum period of time before you can be granted a divorce. If both of you are new to the state, then you may consider filing in your home state.
- However, you may have to currently live in the state in which you are filing. There are certain qualities of a "permanent home"—legal proof that you are a tax-paying resident of your state, rather than a temporary resident or visitor.
- You do not necessarily need to live in the state in which you were first married—where you filed for a marriage license or where your ceremony took place.
- Some states require that you attempt a trial separation period before filing for divorce. This is the state's way of requiring that you attempt to reconcile with your spouse after some time apart, or that you test living alone again before legally ending your marriage.
Potentially Problematic Areas
During the divorce process, you and your current spouse will need to resolve several fundamental issues. These can be highly contentious areas, or subjects that can lead to a fierce legal battle. A family lawyer will protect your interests as well as advise you when resolving the following:
- How will your property be divided? Who, if anyone, will maintain your current residence? Will anyone have to forfeit assets to the other spouse?
- How will any debts be divided? Who will be responsible for settling them or paying them off?
- Will one spouse pay spousal support, alimony, or any other fees to the other individual? Who, if anyone, has financial needs that the other will need to help fulfill?
- How will any children under 18 be treated? Will one spouse have full custody or will both share custody of the child or children? How will visitation rights be handled? What rights and responsibilities will both continue to have?
- Remember that the legal system is not a means for enacting vengeance against your former spouse. Attempting to resolve your anger, sadness, or guilt in this way will only cause trouble for both of you.
There is a clear legal framework in the state of Alabama by which you and your spouse can resolve these issues. Should the need arise, a judge can oversee this process in a court of law. The most important tool at your disposal, though, is a family lawyer in Daphne, AL, who can help you qualify, file, and resolve the most important issues during the divorce process. Though it is a complicated legal process, they have the knowledge and skills to make divorce as easy on you as possible, especially when the process is emotionally difficult.
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