Category : State Divorce Law

Home»Archive by Category "State Divorce Law"

6 Steps to an Alabama Annulment


Alabama is a state that does recognize annulments, upon the right grounds and qualification. The difference between an Alabama divorce and an annulment is that a divorce will only dissolve the marriage, meaning it is over in the eyes of the law, but still on file and record in the state in which it occurred. An annulment makes it as though a couple was never married at all. Alabama divorce law allows you to annul your marriage only under a few specific sets of circumstances.

Step 1

First, it is important that both parties establish grounds for an annulment. In Alabama, there are only six grounds under which you can get an annulment: If one spouse entered the marriage fraudulently; if one spouse was underage; if one spouse agreed to the marriage under duress; if the relationship is incestuous; if either spouse did not have the mental capacity to agree to marriage; or if one spouse was already married to another person at the time of the marriage. You must petition the court and provide evidence backing up your claims; then you must attend a hearing in front of a judge, who will assess the claims put forth by both parties and assess accordingly.

Step 2

Prepare a petition for annulment using Alabama’s standard form. This form is available through the office of the court clerk, private websites and attorneys. The petition for annulment will ask you to list the names, dates of birth and addresses for each of the spouses and list your grounds for annulment. Once properly completed you will need to submit your petition to the Alabama Unified Family Court in the jurisdiction where either you or your spouse resides. You will also need to pay a fee to file, the fee is dependent on the rates of the court.

Step 3

You will need to have the annulment served to  your spouse or their attorney. In Alabama, you can serve the petition by delivering it to your spouse’s place of residence and leaving it with either the spouse or another adult at the home. Alabama does allow you to serve the petition using registered mail.

Step 4

Once filed, you need proof to show the courts that this has been done. File proof of service with the Alabama Unified Family Court. This proof may include an affidavit from your process server or a signed receipt indicating that you sent the petition by registered mail.

Step 5

In order for valid proof to be gathered, it is in your best interest to gather witnesses to back up your claims as far as the grounds for an annulment. If you are filing on grounds of duress, fraud, mental incapacity or other grounds which may not have written documentation supporting them, you may need to call in witnesses to support your case. If you call witnesses, you will need to issue them subpoenas asking them to appear in court.

Step 6

Attend the annulment hearing. At your hearing, the judge may ask you to explain the grounds on which you are asking to annul your marriage. After your hearing, the judge will determine whether you adequately meet the legal standard for annulment in Alabama. If the judge decides that you meet state requirements for annulment, they will sign an order voiding your marriage.

So there you have it. Remember to follow these steps closely in order to have the procedure go smoothly. All divorce forms and documents must be gathered and proper grounds must be had for the annulment.

Divorce Procedure 101: How to File for Divorce in Texas


One of the most frequently asked questions among those looking to file for divorce is “how do i go about starting the process?”  Each state has different requirements and laws to abide by in the process. In the Lone Star State of Texas, the procedure has a number of steps to properly complete filing for divorce. This blog will break down the steps in simple easy to understand points to assist you in the procedure.


First, the Petitioner, otherwise known as the filing spouse, files an Original Petition for Divorce with their local court. Once a petition is filed,  Texas divorce papers will be issued to the petitioner. Then the papers must be personally served to the Respondent, or the other Spouse in question. If needed, at the initial filing, either spouse may request a restraining order if the court deems it necessary.

Waiting for the Judge

Commonly, the court will also consider temporary orders, which will be in effect while the divorce is pending. Temporary orders usually involve temporary use of property and servicing of debt. It can include temporary spousal support and the payment of interim attorney’s fees as well. It is important to have all proper divorce documentation when attending the initial filing as Texas courts are legally inclined to ask for all proof of assets or debts. The process known as “Discovery” can also occur during this time. This is where both parties must exchange copies of all documents, this can be done between spouses or between legal council.

Settlement Procedures

Texas divorce courts always try to settle divorce matters with as little in court sessions as possible. Therefore, once all documents have been exchanged the spouses discuss settlement of the case, either directly or with the help of attorneys or mediators. If they can work out an agreement on everything, one of the spouses or attorneys will prepare an Agreed Decree of Divorce, which will contain all of the terms of the agreement. The spouses and their attorneys sign it, and eventually the judge does as well. however, if a mutual agreement cannot be concluded, a trial date will be set to have the matters handled in court.


Texas Law requires spouses to participate in mediation if they absolutely cannot come to an agreement and a trial is put into effect. Mediation is an informal process allowing the divorcing couple to work with a neutral third party, usually a court appointed therapist or counselor, to negotiate and settle all terms of their conflict. Then if mediation is not successful, the trial will take place. A Final Decree of Divorce is then drawn up by the courts. This contains the ruling passed down in the trial, and the rules and stipulations that both parties must adhere to.

The process can be swift and relatively easy or the exact opposite, all dependent on both parties and their willingness to cooperate with one another and the courts. There is a small amount of paperwork that must be completed in full in order to get the ball rolling on the filing. It is always important to be fully ready for the process that takes place, as divorce proceedings usually take on average, of 6 months to complete.

Omit at Your Own Cost in the State of Oregon


The distribution of assets during a divorce is imminent in the majority of cases. Also in a majority of cases comes the wave of hurt, disappointment and distrust. So what do you do if you think that a spouse is concealing assets during the settlement process? Sometimes individuals are curious about their obligations to disclose assets in divorce. There are many discovery tools available to lawyers to help discover assets a party may own, so it’s never a good idea for anyone to intentionally conceal anything during a divorce. There are also serious ethical consequences for lawyers that assist clients in concealing assets during divorce. Every state has its own varying laws and statutes on this particular matter but Oregon has a finite list of rules to follow in regards to assets.

Oregon Law

Under Oregon Divorce Law ORS 107.452, that states “A court that entered a judgment of marital annulment, dissolution or separation shall reopen the case upon the motion of either party if the moving party alleges that significant assets belonging to either or both of the parties:(a) Existed at the time of the entry of the judgment; and (b) Were not discovered until after the entry of the judgment. However, If the assets were accidentally or inadvertently omitted from the distribution,the court will divide the asset using the same legal standard as if the asset were discovered prior to the divorce. The court will determine whether or not the assets were omitted purposely or accidentally depending on the evidence provided, and this varies on a case to case basis.

Penalties & Distributions

Now, If the court does find evidence of intentional concealment, it can and will, do a number of different things such as:

  • Demand and order a division of the appreciated value of the omitted assets
  • Award the forfeiture of the omitted assets to the injured party (the spouse who had assets concealed from them)
  • Put in place a compensatory judgment in favor of the injured party
  • Order judgment in favor of the injured party as punitive damages; or any other distribution as may be just and proper in all the circumstances.

It is highly important that when going through a divorce, all of the proper paperwork is filled out, all assets, debts and properties are recorded and anything else that you feel may be pertinent to your case, be brought up and documented. No matter how big, or how small you may think the issue is. As you can see, some of the repercussions for not openly displaying everything up front can be harsh. These divorce laws in Oregon are just a few that can drastically and dramatically affect a divorce. Know all information and laws before really delving into anything, just as with being informed on anything, research is key.

Montana Divorce Law: the Declaration of Invalidity

A declaration of invalidity is used in family law to declare a marriage void, essentially declaring that the marriage lacks an element required for a legal union. Montana Divorce Law allows that a marriage may be declared invalid if specific circumstances concerning the marriage are shown to exist. These circumstances must be proven in a court of law. As a general rule, a marriage can be declared invalid if the circumstances of the consent to enter a marriage are shown to be lacking. A Montana court can also declare a marriage to be invalid if the marriage is prohibited by law.

Divorce Law as it Relates in Montana

Law 40-1-402 under the Family Law Statute in the state of Montana, clearly outlines the specifics in order to obtain a court to sign off on a declaration of invalidity in a marriage. The written decree, goes into all of the possible ways in which this invalidity must be shown and thus will be granted by the courts. There are over 16 stipulations in which a couple qualifies, however, they all have sub sections that weed out any couples who do not. Invalidity is not as common as a common grounds divorce, due to these small minute details.

Stipulations in a Nutshell

Of these multiple rules and small addendum’s, they can be comprised under a few easy to read categories, as such.
If one party to a marriage lacks consent, or lacks the ability to consent to the marriage at the time that the marriage occurred, a court may declare a marriage invalid. A person may lack the ability to consent to a marriage because of mental incapacity or illness or if the person is under the influence of an incapacitating substances at the time of the marriage. Once again, proof of this must be had, otherwise the courts will not consent to the invalidity.

A person also lacks consent if he or she was induced to enter into a marriage by force or duress or by fraud. If a person lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse, and at the time that the marriage was entered into, the other party did not know of the incapacity, the marriage may also be declared invalid.

The Marriage of Minors

If a person is under 16 years of age, or if a person was 16 or 17 years of age and that person did not have the consent of the party’s parents or the approval of a district court judge the appropriate consent to bind a person to marriage is also lacking.

A marriage is prohibited under Montana law if:

  • One of the parties is presently married to someone else;
  • The parties are brother and a sister, or otherwise related by the half or the whole blood, or the parties are first cousins;
  • The parties are related as an uncle and a niece or between an aunt and a nephew; or,
  • The marriage is between persons of the same sex.

Always be sure that when you are filing for invalidity of a marriage, particularly in the state of Montana, you know all of the criteria to qualify. Not doing so can lead to unnecessary fees and filing of paperwork that isn’t needed. Be informed and be prepared.

Divorce Law Explained: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act


Many spouses seeking a divorce have a multitude of questions concerning paperwork, lawyers, fees and a laundry list of other things. When children are involved in the mix, the amount of questions and concerns between spouses increases tenfold. Each state has standard guidelines, rules and stipulations concerning custody and child support. However, when it comes to the matter of children and child support when parents are in different states, the rules change a little. There are a number of different laws and addendum’s that have been put in place to ensure that the rights of the children in these cases are not overlooked.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
The UIFSA was put into place to limit the jurisdiction that can properly establish and modify child support orders and address the enforcement of child support obligations within the United States.The act provides a new framework for states to use in collecting child support where the child and the parent reside in different states. It made it easier for state courts to exercise jurisdiction in establishing and collecting child support.

Under the legal definition of the act, support is broad enough to include child support, spousal support, health care, and related costs and attorney fees. More significant, the Act refers to a “tribunal” rather than a court, because its provisions apply to any administrative agency that has the power to establish and enforce child support orders. Many states have child support enforcement agencies with these powers. Each state’s’ Family Law Court will decide who is to rule on matters such as these.

Statewide Implementation

In cases where more than one state is involved in the establishing, enforcing or modifying a child or spousal support order, the Act is implemented to determine the jurisdiction and power of the courts in the each of the states. The Act also establishes which state’s law will be applied in proceedings under the Act. The Act establishes rules requiring every state to defer to child support orders entered by the state courts of the child’s home state.

The Act also provides various direct interstate enforcement mechanisms. This means that, it allows a caretaker parent to have an order mailed to the employer of the obligated parent, which will require that employer to withhold pay for the benefit of the child. Furthermore, it allows the caretaker parent to have an order mailed to an out-of-state court to get the other state to enforce the order. This is only done in severe cases or cases where a parent has failed to pay support for a lengthy period of time.

Child custody and child support laws are some of the strictest and highly enforced. When divorce proceedings take place, these are usually the issues that are highly debated amongst parents. The separation of spouses can sometimes come with an out of state move, for whatever reason. This Act ensures that any child in this circumstance, is protected. The best interest of the child is the priority of the court, no matter which state.

Weird but True Divorce Stories from around the Web


Love can make people crazy; the world provides us many examples. Divorce however can induce behaviors that go beyond the scope of any sense of normal rational thinking. Even though it is the process of breaking up a bad or fruitless marriage people getting divorce sometimes feel to go out with a bang instead of agreeing this was a mistake and parting ways. The tug and war within relationships, even those entering the divorce process, excuse me, especially going through the divorce process can provide some hilariously disastrous results. If you’re going through a divorce or having a rough time processing the end of your marriage take a look at some of these extreme examples when keeping it real at the of the divorce process goes wrong.

Kid-ney or not kid-ney

We’ve all heard of returning wedding rings, or the splitting of assets and other such positions when divorces arise in couples. Here’s that scenario with a slightly organ-ic twist. A long island surgeon donated a kidney to his wife in 2001 which saved her life. After being embroiled in a bitter divorce for 4 years, part of his settlement was that he either wanted his kidney back from his wife or be handsomely compensated for it.  A separation over custody of body parts, that’s a new one. In his defense, the wife did admit to having an affair.

Mommy dearest

Being tight with your family is always a good thing. It’s always nice when you’re close to your parents, even as you get older, move out and attempt to start a family of your own. However there is a line that you generally don’t cross. In the realm of “What in the world were they thinking” marriage moments, an Italian groom decided he wasn’t ready to part with his dear mother yet, so he did what any normal person would do and brought her with him on his honeymoon with his new wife. Needles to say the wife filed for divorce shortly after citing “excessive emotional attachment.” In the man’s defense he claimed he couldn’t leave his mother alone for “health reasons.” But for guys, as a general rule, leave your mom at home when you’re going on your honeymoon, just to be safe.

Bird Chatter

Just when you think no one is listening in. A woman in China filed for divorce after suspecting and then getting confirmation that her husband was having an affair. The odd part is how she ultimately was convinced. The couple owned a pet Mynah bird, after some time she kept hearing the bird say things like “divorce” “I love you” and “be patient.” She also claimed the bird become increasingly talkative whenever the phone rang. Just goes to show you that you can’t always trust your pets with secrets.

Every relationship, failing or not has a different dynamic. Some are just taken to more extreme places then others. Reality can sometimes surprise us in its bizarreness.

Divorce can be no laughing matter to most people going through it. Crazy divorce stories aside, there are many different divorce laws created for divorce proceedings. In the United States each state has separate rules and stipulations involving the divorce process. Knowing the possibilities and preparing the future can help alleviate some of the stress that you might be going through. To learn about the laws in your state, or to begin your divorce process online, visit

Technology: Changing Family Law Forever

Technology rules the world, plain and simple. Technology has its hand in everything in today’s day and age. It was only a matter of time before new laws were drawn up and integrated into the new and rapid growth of electronics and technology in the world. Divorce rates continue to grow in the U.S, just as the laws do. So it should be no surprise that new

Massachusetts Alimony Law Changes

Each state has its own specific and detailed laws in regards to anything that falls under the Family Law tree. Obviously these laws vary state to state, depending on certain instances that only occur and apply to that state, for whatever reason that may be. So, it’s only natural that the state of Massachusetts has its own laws concerning such things as child support and alimony.

However, up until September of 2011, the laws and stipulations concerning alimony were not too kind to those who had to pay it, simply because of the fact that the rules were set in stone and certain circumstances affected those in a divorce quite negatively. That is, of course, until  Governor Deval Patrick signed Chapter 124 of the Acts of 2011. By doing so, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts effectively abolished most lifetime spousal support, thus joining several other states where alimony payment laws have changed. Many of these changes occurred because those who were forced to pay it could not, due to the fact that they were struggling in the current economy.

Significance of the Change

This new change in the measure generally ends alimony either when the payer reaches retirement age or when the recipient has cohabited with a another romantic partner for at least 90 days. With this new law comes a change in how alimony is properly calculated, based on the length of the marriage in question.

This being said the law does still allow judges to award indefinite alimony for long-term marriages. A long-term marriage is defined as a marriage lasting 20 or more years. In the case of short marriages, judges can order “reimbursement alimony” in such situations as when one spouse put the other through school during the length of the marriage.

Why the Change?
This is adjustment to the Massachusetts law was done so to end the previously common practice of judges awarding alimony as a permanent entitlement; such practice is becoming an increasingly rare practice across the U.S because it was seen as highly unjust and unfair. So now, the law sets guidelines for determining the amount of alimony payments. Signed in September 2011, the changes took effect in March 2012, which allows people who are currently paying lifetime alimony to file for modifications starting in 2013.

Divorced: Forever Changed


The definition of marriage has long since been the union of two people in holy matrimony, those two people being clearly defined under law as a man and a woman. However, with change being at the heart of the nation right now, and ever intertwined with the platform of the leader of the free world, it was only a matter of time before the law was changed in order to catch up to the times.

Civil unions and common law marriages have often been the extent to which same sex couples were allowed to be joined under the law, and only in certain states. This is changing, and more traction is being garnered for marriages and divorces alike between same sex couples to be recognized under the law.

One of the key components to any legally binding agreement is the piece of paper telling all those who inquire that it is recognized as such. Divorce papers, marriage certificates, and even birth certificates are all things that tell the world that an event has been recognized under law.

With the mass amount of change coming under many of the clauses comprising family law, the Washington state Health Department will be changing marriage and divorce certificates in response to the same-sex marriage law that takes effect December 6th. This new change means that words such as “bride,” ”groom,” ”husband,” and “wife” will likely be erased from these documents, to not discriminate against any gender or otherwise. The department wants to use gender-neutral terms in order to be more progressive, to adapt to the ever-changing world, and to be correct under the law.

All signs, as of now, point to the replacement words on all certificates being something in the area of  ”Spouse A” and “Spouse B”, with names being inserted next to these titles, to ensure no confusion on any further documentation. But the forms will still include gender so the state can track the number of same-sex couples in the state.

The face of divorce is changing one step at a time. With these new changes to the documentation, the law is seeing changes that are enlarging the umbrella everyone falls under. When these laws were conceived and first instituted, they were closed off and put each person in a box. The bottom line is, this is simply not how anyone is meant to be “categorized.” With the ambiguity of the new documentation, everyone can be free from being squeezed into a predetermined box and can be better identified under the law.

Texas Courts Allow Divorce Without Lawyers

In today’s economy, budgets are often a necessity. Even marriages with two working spouses have trouble keeping up with all the bills and living comfortably. Yet when divorce enters the picture, it can quickly become a very expensive ordeal. However, Texas lawmakers voted on a motion to help low-income families, and those filing for an easy, uncontested divorce to use forms that will allow them to move through the process without hiring an attorney.

Legal Aid

Recently reported from Texas, six of the nine Supreme Court justices have voted to approve the use of forms allowing  couples to file for divorce in Texas without hiring an attorney. After months of back and forth battling it was finally put to a vote, much to the ire of the group of family lawyers who vehemently opposed the motion.

The reason given by the lawyers was that these legal forms could lead to confusion and many legal complications if/when mistakes are made in the filing process. However, it has been reported that pro bono and legal aid attorneys can only reach about 20% of the divorce service demand last year.

In its Infancy

Back in 2011 a group of lawmakers, including lawyers, judges, and other experts, and the Texas Access to Justice Commission came together to help create the newly approved forms. The opponents of these forms, who are mostly made up of practicing attorneys, have stated that citizens will be unable to navigate the legal system without the help of an attorney. However, as you can see by the website, and the recent rise in online divorce forms, that is just flat out untrue.

What’s in a Form?

The forms may only be used by couples without children or real estate who are seeking a divorce without the aid and expenses of an attorney. The forms are said to be simple and straight forward to help make the judicial part of the process more efficient going forward. The forms are available now, but as a result of a public comment period that will last until February they may undergo some changes.

An even better route for couples both with or without children in preparing Texas divorce forms is filing for an online divorce. At we have already helped served many citizens in Texas with a logical and 100% legal way to help file for an uncontested divorce; helping save time, money, and stress for those couples who know they want to move forward but are dreading the process. To find out more about online divorce forms and how to file for an online divorce in Texas, visit today.