Can I get divorced by Agreement without Court?
Indeed, you can with an uncontested divorce. An uncontested divorce is an easy way to get divorced in the State of Alabama. There are no court proceedings in most counties as long as you follow the proper procedures. Assuming you and your companion are in a complete agreement about the specifics, including property, children, and all other matters.
What is an uncontested divorce and why do you not have to go to Court? An uncontested divorce is where you and your spouse reach an agreement without lawyers. Then you pay a divorce lawyer to prepare the paperwork, including an agreement, for you and your spouse to sign. Once both of you sign all of the paperwork, the attorney files your divorce and the paperwork with it. Due to the language in the legal documents prepared, it waives certain procedural requirements and the judge is able to issue an Order without any court.
When a civil action is filed, there must be a controversy or disagreement for the Court to decide. A divorce is just a civil action and so there must be something not agreed upon when it’s filed otherwise there is nothing for a judge to do. This is why the first document filed in all civil matters is called a Complaint and it is filed by the person called the Plaintiff. Your Complaint for divorce in an uncontested divorce lays out facts of the case and asks the Court to enter a Divorce Decree ordering that their settlement agreement be followed. Since the agreement was filed with the Complaint, this is easy for the Court to do.
There is something called an Answer and Waiver that is filed in response to the Complaint in an uncontested divorce. This is filed by the other spouse called the Defendant. The Answer waives procedural requirements to appear in Court and testify before a judge as well as other procedural rules. This is what allows the Plaintiff to submit a document called the Testimony of Plaintiff.
The Testimony of Plaintiff is the testimony as to the facts of the case that is normally done on the stand in Court, but instead is put on paper and signed in affidavit form. Because the Answer signed by the Defendant waives this requirement to appear in Court, this Testimony can be submitted this way and no Court is needed.
The Testimony of Plaintiff usually just states facts like marriage and separation date and other facts, but it also states the evidence for the grounds of divorce. If the grounds of divorce is incompatibility which it usually is in an uncontested divorce, then the reasons are usually generic ones such as we no longer have the same friends or interests. This is done to be able to get divorced easily since if you have another reason for why you are incompatible than what is normally used by divorce lawyers, then it needs to be sufficient or the judge might want more evidence in open court and hold a hearing.
This is why it is best to hire a local divorce attorney to help in an uncontested divorce so that it goes through without any issues. For example, let’s say you typed the documents yourself and put adultery as a ground for divorce. Then, you put “she cheated on me” as the evidence of this in your testimony. This would not likely suffice. You would most likely have a hearing for the judge to explain Alabama civil procedure rules and it would not be an easy divorce.
The rules of civil procedure can be gotten around for an uncontested divorce in Alabama, but the documents have to state the correct things. A local divorce lawyer can get you a cheap divorce in Huntsville, or wherever you are in the State of Alabama, without any court as long as the documents are done correctly.