How do I get a low/no cost divorce when I live in Mobile, Alabama but my spouse lives in Georgia?
January 28, 2008 4:39 PM   Subscribe

How do I get a low/no cost divorce when I live in Mobile, Alabama but my spouse lives in Georgia?

Some states offer something like Alaska's dissolution of marriage, but it appears to me (though I do not know for sure, because I cannot find the actual law) that Alabama doesn't allow this. I know for a fact that Georgia does not. My soon to be ex said he would file but being true to his personality, he has not and that presents a problem. Alabama law requires that the divorce be filed in Georgia, because that is where we last lived together. Although my understanding is that I can file in Alabama if I can prove that we've been separated for six months, which we have. Is there any way to do an interstate dissolution? That's probably a silly question.

I have found "forms" online that can purchased which claim to be legal in Alabama, but this seems suspect to me because the law isn't clear. I don't want to go through all the paperwork to find that it won't stand up in court. Not only that, but there was a large amount of debt incurred during the marriage which I would prefer not to be responsible for. He was notorious for ignoring bills and hiding costs. I want everything declared and divided. Whatever else which was incurred that isn't declared, he should be responsible for.

Am I better off just getting a lawyer? How do I find an inexpensive, but good one? I don't know anyone here so I have no one to ask. He hasn't paid me anything for child support (not that he has much himself) and I have very little money.

The key here is cost, convenience and not having to go into further debt.

Any advice?
posted by magnoliasouth to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Mobile Bar Association has a legal referral service. Call for a referral to a lawyer who can answer your questions. Per the web site, you should be able to get an initial consultation either for free or for extremely low cost (no more than $15).
posted by Robert Angelo at 5:27 PM on January 28, 2008

When I got divorced, I was in California and my ex-wife was in the Slovak Republic. I elected to go through the book from NOLO press that explain the process and in addition, I hired a woman whose sole responsibility was to make sure that paper work was filed on time and with all the t's crossed and i's dotted. This is called a typing service. It was worth every penny to have someone else do this - probably more if you are going through a fair amount of emotional distress.

NOLO Press publishes "How To Do Your Own Divorce" for California and Texas, but they also provide some fairly interesting information here.

In looking for this, I ran across a link to this book for Alabama. I don't know the product, but the thumbnail sketch appears to include things that you will need to know for Alabama.

As far as dealing with someone in a different state or someone who is not responsive, IANAL, but it strikes me as a very human, very likely thing to happen. One person wants the divorce, the other refuses and flees the state. It would be absurd if the law didn't allow for this case. It may involve a summons or for your husband to be served with papers.
posted by plinth at 5:36 PM on January 28, 2008

Oh, and when you get it done, make sure you keep extra copies of everything including information on how to get real legal raised seal copies. My ex-wife needed that twice: once when she got remarried, because the German government apparently flips out when you check the "divorced" box, and a second time when she had a child, because apparently the proof that she was really divorced for her marriage wasn't sufficient when they had a child.
posted by plinth at 5:38 PM on January 28, 2008

Those forms only work when you and your ex agree on everything. Will he agree that you get full custody? That all the debt is his?

posted by Monday at 7:18 AM on January 29, 2008

Response by poster: He will agree that I'll have full custody. I didn't say that all debt would be his. I said, "I want everything declared and divided. Whatever else which was incurred that isn't declared, he should be responsible for." This means that any debt he doesn't declare (or mentions that we owe) would be his. He will likely agree to that as well, though I'm not positive.
posted by magnoliasouth at 4:46 AM on January 31, 2008

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