How Much Does Divorce Cost In Alabama?

When your marriage doesn’t turn out as planned and you decide to call it quits, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the sudden legal to-do list you have to check off. Between grappling with the emotional implications of divorce and making informed decisions about your future, it’s important to understand the financial costs associated with the legal process.

This may be something you haven’t yet considered, or it might have been a concern from the start. From the beginning of the process to the end, there are a variety of expenses to take into account.

So, how much does divorce cost in Alabama? Let’s find out.

Average Cost of Divorce

It’s difficult to determine an exact cost for divorce, as each one is unique. According to Unbiased, the average cost of divorce in Alabama is between $15,000-$20,000. FindLaw, on the other hand, says that each spouse can be expected to spend about $10,000 on their divorce. It’s important to understand that even with estimates like these you may find online, the cost of divorce can vary due to a number of factors.

4 Factors That Influence The Cost

1. The Complexity Of Your Case

The complexity of your case is one of the biggest factors influencing the cost of divorce. In Alabama, there are two types of divorce you can pursue: contested and uncontested.

A contested divorce is the more traditional method that takes place when a couple cannot agree on matters such as how assets and debts should be divided. In these instances, the couple will have to go to court to resolve their disputes, where a judge has the final say. This process typically takes longer and is more expensive due to the involvement of resources such as lawyers, court proceedings, and potentially even witnesses. Additionally, a contested divorce can be an emotionally taxing process, causing more stress than may be necessary.

An uncontested divorce is a simpler divorce method where a couple works collaboratively to set the terms of their divorce, meaning they agree on every aspect of their separation without the need for court intervention or litigation. While enlisting the help of a lawyer for uncontested divorce is still recommended, this method is more cost-efficient as you forgo other resources like court hearings, extensive negotiations, and litigation altogether. This streamlined approach will help you resolve your divorce case quicker and usually with less drama involved.

2. Legal Representation

Legal representation is a necessary cost to carefully consider in divorce. Divorce lawyers typically operate at an hourly rate or on a flat-fee basis. In Alabama, the average divorce lawyer costs about $259 per hour, but other factors, like the lawyer’s level of experience, can influence their rate. Additionally, the number of hours an attorney spends on your case depends on its complexity.

It’s important to take your time when searching for a divorce attorney. You don’t want to measure a quality candidate based on their rates alone. Higher rates don’t always mean a better attorney, but they may reflect a lawyer’s experience and skillset. Consider an attorney’s qualifications, client reviews, and success rate before deciding who will represent you.

3. Court And Service Fees

Another factor that might affect the cost of your divorce is court and service fees. Below are the various fees associated with Marshall and Madison county, where our two offices are located.

Fee Types Marshall County  Madison County
Domestic Relations Docket Fee $214.50 $324.00
Modify/Enforce (Contempt) $305.00 $427.00
Service By Sheriff For Any Civil Papers $25.00 $20.00
Subpoena Fee $12.00 $12.00
Garnishment Fee $30.00 $30.00
Execution $30.00 $30.00
Motion For Judgment, Default Judgment, Or Summary Judgment $50.00 $20.00
Income Withholding Order $28.00 $28.00
Withholding Termination Fee $28.00 $28.00

 

4. Alternative Dispute Resolutions

Alternative dispute resolutions are methods that can be used in place of traditional divorce. Two common types are mediation and arbitration.

In mediation, a couple makes all of the decisions, instead of a judge, with the help of a neutral third party (a mediator), and they are never forced to settle. In addition to being a generally more private alternative dispute resolution, mediation is also less time-consuming and less expensive, making it worth considering if money is a concern.

In arbitration, a process similar to a traditional divorce trial is followed, but without being bound by the rules of the court. When parties agree to arbitrate, they select an arbitrator to facilitate trial-like proceedings where each party presents their side of the story, supporting evidence, and more. Before proceeding, both spouses must sign an arbitration agreement outlining the rules to be followed, including the issues the arbitrator will decide, the time allotted for the decision, and whether it will be binding. Since arbitration occurs outside the courtroom, it can be a more cost-efficient process. However, arbitrators are typically retired lawyers who charge by the hour.

Additional Expenses To Consider

In addition to the above divorce expenses, there are other costs to consider, such as the possibility of having to pay alimony or child support. There may also be miscellaneous costs to account for, such as appraisals, valuations, and more. A family law attorney can provide guidance on navigating these financial obligations.

How Foxtrot Family Law Can Help

While the cost of divorce in Alabama is undeniably an important factor to consider, it’s even more crucial that you focus on achieving an outcome that will best support your future. Divorce is challenging—legally, emotionally, and financially—but prioritizing a solution that allows you to move forward is imperative.

If you know it’s time to part ways with your spouse, remember that you don’t have to face this alone. The team at Foxtrot Family Law is here to explain your legal options and guide you through every step of the process. We are passionate about helping you close this chapter of life so you can begin anew. Call now to request a consultation and discover how our family law attorneys can assist you.

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