For some fortunate couples, dissolving a marriage is a quick and simple process. However, for others, it can be a drawn out battle that often ends up costing thousands of dollars, requiring mediation and the legal services of a Birmingham divorce lawyer like Sid Hughes, and ultimately, causing pain for everyone in the family. If you’re a Birmingham resident and have contemplated filing for divorce, there are a few things you should know about the process before you get started to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. It all starts with determining whether you should file for contested or uncontested divorce.

The difference between a contested and uncontested divorce

The first step in filing for divorce in Birmingham is to determine the kind of divorce that applies to your particular situation. As per Alabama law, spouses can file one of two types of divorce: contested or uncontested. As their names suggest, an uncontested divorce is free from disagreement while a contested divorce involves a dispute or opposition between parties. However, there’s more to each type of case than just a basic agreement or disagreement.  Let’ take a look at the major differences between the two. 

Uncontested divorce – a mutual decision to part ways

The simplest and fastest way to dissolve a marriage is to file an uncontested divorce. Uncontested divorce is the most common type of divorce in Alabama. In order to file an uncontested divorce, both spouses must be in agreement with the dissolution of marriage, along with every aspect that comes with it, such as the division of assets and child custody arrangements. Since both parties have made the mutual decision to part ways and are in agreement over all matters, proceedings can move quickly and parties do not have to deal with the back and forth that usually accompanies a divorce case in which spouses cannot find a middle ground.

Spouses filing for uncontested divorce in Birmingham often tend to abstain from assigning fault. If no major problem has occurred within the marriage that prompted the filing, parties can simply cite “irreconcilable differences” or “incompatibility” as the reason for requesting the dissolution.  

Contested divorce – when someone is at fault

In contrast, spouses who are in disagreement over property, assets, and the custody of their children will file a contested divorce. This type of divorce can take months or even years to finalize. The more issues the couple doesn’t agree on, the longer proceedings will take. Many times, parties who have filed for contested divorce have specific reasons to do so. Legal grounds for filing a fault divorce in Birmingham include adultery, addiction, and abuse. In this case, one spouse will usually cite the fault (or reason) for requesting the dissolution.

Because contested divorces usually arise because of a difficult problem or tragedy within the marriage, emotions tend to run high. For these reasons, it is wise for couples to retain legal counsel with an experienced Birmingham family law attorney who can both keep the peace and ensure that each party’s rights are upheld.

Yet, even in an uncontested divorce, it’s important for each spouse to know what they are entitled to and to ensure that no detail is overlooked. There are times when spouses can inadvertently make a mistake when filing, which can cause delays in court. Family lawyers can also help in this regard, and will take the time to review all legalities to make sure there are no setbacks.

Sid Hughes, located in Birmingham Alabama, has years has over 35 years of experience and can be reached at 205-943-0500, or visit his website at