Jurisdiction and Venue

You want to file for divorce, but you are not sure if you can file in Alabama.  To be subject to the jurisdiction of the domestic relations court in Alabama, either you OR your spouse has to have been a resident of Alabama for at least six months, or you both will need to have established Alabama as your legal residence.

Once you have determined you are eligible to file for divorce in Alabama, a decision must be made as to which county to seek your divorce.  You can file for divorce in the county in which your spouse lives, or the county you lived in together at the time of separation.  If your spouse does not live within the State of Alabama, and you’ve lived in Alabama for at least six months, you can file for divorce in the County in which you reside.

Once you obtain a divorce, the Court that granted the divorce will maintain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the provisions of the Order.   This includes requests to modify child custody and visitation.

Venue refers to the County in which the divorce is filed.  If you are eligible to file for divorce in Alabama, you can file in any county you would like.  However, if you file for divorce in a county in which neither party lives, the other spouse could petition the court to transfer the venue of the case to their home county.  If both parties agree, a couple living in Birmingham in Jefferson County could file for divorce in Columbiana in Shelby County.

However, most divorces are filed in the county in which the parties live.  This saves time and expenses, and is usually more convenient to the parties.  If you have any questions about where your divorce case should be filed, contact the Jefferson County divorce attorneys of Parkman White, LLP at 205-502-2000.