Grounds for Divorce

Alabama recognizes divorce on both “fault” and “no fault” grounds.   While the large majority of divorces in Alabama are granted on “no fault” grounds, Alabama does recognize the following grounds for a “fault” divorce:

Fault Divorces

  1. One spouse being physically and incurably incapacitated from entering into the marriage state,
  2. Adultery,
  3. Pregnancy at the time of the marriage unknown to the husband,
  4. Imprisonment for two years, with total sentence of 7 or more years,
  5. The commission of the crime against nature, before or after marriage,
  6. Alcohol or drug abuse after the marriage,
  7. Incurable insanity for a period of 5 years, and
  8. Domestic Violence.

No-Fault Divorce

  1. Incompatibility of temperament such that the parties can no longer live together.
  2. Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage such that attempts to reconcile are futile.
  3. Voluntary abandonment of the marriage.

There is little practical difference between a “fault” and “no fault” divorce as Alabama law states that “When a judgment of divorce is entered, in effect, it is awarded to both parties to the marriage.” However, in some instances, if one of the parties behavior is particularly egregious in comparison to the other spouse, the domestic relations judge may Order the divorce based on the fault of the offending party.  The primary reason the divorce judge would make this finding is to support the equity of whatever property division he Orders.

In other words, the judge may want to Order more of the marital property be given to the non-offending spouse, and will justify this decision to the Court of Civil Appeals by finding the divorce was the fault of the offending spouse.

If you find yourself considering a divorce, or going through a divorce, contact the Birmingham divorce law office of Parkman White, LLP to assist you through the process.  Call us today at 205-502-2000 to discuss your divorce options.