An uncontested, or simple, divorce is a relatively easy process to complete. Couples resolve the major issues of the divorce between themselves, including alimony, division of assets, and child custody. They can complete their divorce with or without the assistance of attorneys, and mostly avoid courtroom visits and the costs that go along with it. Indeed, the most laborious part of this process is the paperwork that is involved. This article will outline and provide a brief survey of the most commonly filed documents that couples will need to complete in order to get divorced in Alabama.
The Complaint, or PS-08, identifies the plaintiff (the one seeking the divorce) and the defendant (the individual who will be receiving the documents), outlines the marriage history, and identifies the reasons why the parties can no longer continue in their marriage. The language will state something to the effect that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that the parties are beyond the ability to fix it. The PS-08 is often filed with a Marital Settlement Agreement in cases where both parties agree to the divorce, and it must be signed in front of a Notary Public.
The Answer, Waiver, and Agreement for Taking Testimony document is an acknowledgement by the defendant, wherein they waive the “right of service of process,” while demanding proof of the allegations against them.
The Testimony of Plaintiff, or PS-09, is a notarized affidavit that offers the grounds for the dissolution of the marriage. This is where you will see language like “irreparable breakdown of the marriage,” and the need to pursue lives apart from one another. And, if necessary, the PS-09 will state that the defendant is not a member of the military.
The Affidavit of Residency states that the plaintiff fulfills the residency requirements for a divorce in Alabama (in that they have lived here for at least six months).
A Request for Divorce Judgement by Default, or PS-10, is filed by the plaintiff in the event that the defendant does not respond to the summons and/or PS-08 within a 30-day deadline.
For couples with children, there are a number of documents that relate to custody and support. The first is the Child Support Information Sheet (CS-47), which is like the PS-08, in that it identifies the members of the household, dates of birth, residency, and employment location of the parents. The Child Support Obligation Income Statement, CS-41, outlines the earned income, or lack of income by each spouse. It also states what, if any, insurance coverage exists for the child(ren). The Child Support Guideline Form (CS-42) calculates child support payments based on the adjusted gross income for the month, the percentage of combined income, and any insurance premiums or costs.
The CS-43, or Child Support Guideline Notice of Compliance, is a document that both parties will sign, acknowledging the role that the judicial system holds in the determination of child support, that these standards have been met, and if they have not been met, the document will outline the reasons why. A Standing Pre-Trial Order prevents parents from harassing the other, or from removing children from the state. This order may also require parents to take a Transition in Parenting course to help them make the adjustment to being co-parents. An Order of Child Support establishes the amount of money that the noncustodial parent is required to pay in child support, while the Withholding Order Payment of Child Support (CS-23) is designed to withhold a percentage of wages from the noncustodial parent. The Instructions for Employer, Answer to Order of Withholding, and Order of Service and Return, relate to how wages are garnished from the noncustodial parent. The first informs the individual’s employer that wage garnishment will be occurring in accordance with the Order of Child Support, while the second and third documents put the process in motion.
As mentioned earlier, the documents that couples need to file for an uncontested divorce in Shelby County are numerous, but they are not impossible to complete. With a little effort, and the assistance of a family law attorney, this process can be relatively smooth.