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What is an Alabama Default Divorce and How to Prevent One?

Without a hearing or response from the divorce defendant, a default divorce is one that is given to the petitioner or the person who filed the divorce case. In Alabama, divorce proceedings begin with the submission of a divorce complaint together with the required filing costs for the county where the complaint is being filed. 

The filing party is then required to serve the divorce documents on the defendant who did not file for divorce after the divorce petition has been submitted filed and fees have been paid. This is known as a notice, which gives the divorce court jurisdiction. You cannot obtain a divorce, not even a default one, without notification. You can seek help from a divorce lawyer in Birmingham, AL

When divorce papers have been served on the defendant spouse by the filing party, they must be returned within 30 days otherwise, the divorce may proceed by default. The defendant’s non-filing spouse will be in default if they fail to respond to the divorce action. After filing for default, the plaintiff will appear in court, give testimony, and effectively get everything they want in the divorce.

The burden of case management falls on the party involved; notice of a default hearing is not the court’s responsibility. Divorce litigants must keep track of their cases and speak with an expert divorce lawyer as soon as they can after receiving service. It is actually a good idea to speak with a lawyer even before filing for divorce if you are aware that you are getting a divorce or believe you could be getting one soon.

Trial Court May Set Default Aside with Broad Discretion

If any post-judgment motions have been submitted, you have even more time to file an appeal before the divorce decision is finalized, typically 30 days after the court has issued the divorce decree. Trial courts typically disapprove of default judgments since everyone has a right to a fair trial.

A defaulted party may have a good cause to have a default judgment overturned if they can show that they have a strong defense and that the other party would not suffer undue harm as a result of the default being removed. Courts must use the three-factor analysis outlined in the Kirkland decision and presume that a divorce dispute should be determined on the merits rather than based on a procedural rule. Defaults that trial courts do not set aside typically result in reversal.

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