PROFILE OF A DIVORCE
A divorce can be broken down into basically twelve (12) “issues” – well, actually
eleven (11) issues plus a miscellaneous category. These issues are discussed below in
paragraphs 1 through 12. Obviously, not every issue will apply in every divorce.
If each of the applicable issues can be resolved by agreement between the parties an
uncontested divorce can be achieved and thousands of dollars can be saved. However, if
one or more of the issues must be litigated a contested divorce must be instituted with the
filing of a divorce petition.
In an uncontested divorce, often one party will hire a lawyer to “draw up the papers”
reflecting the agreement of the parties. While it is not necessary for the other party to hire
a lawyer it is important to note that the lawyer represents only the party that hired his or
In a contested divorce, each party will need to hire an attorney. Alabama does not
provide for appointed lawyers in divorce proceedings accept in rare circumstances and
then the attorney appointed is a Guardian ad Litem appointed to represent only the child.
There are two types of custody in Alabama:
1) Legal Custody; and,
2) Physical Custody.
Physical custody is the type of custody that comes to mind when people discuss
custody and visitation. That party in whose home the children live the majority of time
(except for every other weekend, for example) is the party who has primary physical
Physical custody can be either joint or primary. Joint physical custody is a true
sharing of custody and is generally shared on a weekly basis. Some courts prefer this
arrangement while other courts simply will not enter an order such as this if the case goes
to trial. Generally, any type of custody arrangement can be made where the parties are
able to agree to the arrangement without a trial.
Primary physical custody is where one party is “awarded” custody and the other
party is awarded visita