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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Residency Requirements For Alabama Divorce

Residency Requirements For Alabama Divorce


When an employer offers you an employment contract, you keep rereading the line that tells you how much your new job will pay, but you may ignore the most important sentence of the contract, namely the dispute resolution clause.  It should say, “The courts of Alabama have jurisdiction to rule on disputes arising from this contract.”  If it doesn’t, you could be in big trouble if you later try to sue your employer for breach of contract.  Likewise, when you file for divorce, you worry about things like how you will survive financially and whether you will get enough parenting time with your children.  Whether the courts of Alabama have jurisdiction to dissolve your marriage is the farthest thing from your mind.  Each state has its own eligibility rules for getting divorced.  In the 1950s, people used to use the expression “going to Reno” as a euphemism for divorce, because Nevada law allowed its courts to dissolve the marriages of out-of-state residents, and Reno, Nevada is just across the border from California, making it the obvious destination for unhappily married Californians.  If you want to divorce your spouse, but you just moved to Alabama or are only staying here temporarily, contact a Birmingham divorce lawyer.

At Least One Spouse Must Be an Alabama Resident

To meet the residency requirement for getting divorced in Alabama, at least one spouse must be an Alabama resident.  This means more than just being present in Alabama for at least six months; it also entails intent to stay.  In 2015, an Alabama court ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to dissolve the marriage of an international student enrolled in a master’s program in Alabama.  The couple had married in Saudi Arabia, their country of citizenship.  When they filed for divorce in Alabama, the husband had an F-1 student visa, and the wife had a visitor visa.

Alabama Divorce and Your Immigration Status

You do not have to be a U.S. citizen to meet Alabama’s residency requirement from divorce, but if you are not, then keeping your immigration status understandably looms larger in your mind than whether the Alabama divorce court has jurisdiction in your case.  If your immigration status has nothing to do with your spouse, such as if you got a green card through your employer and then married your spouse, divorce will not affect your immigration status.  If your immigration status is tied to your spouse, such as if you have an H-4 visa because your spouse has an H-1B visa, or if you entered on a fiancée visa and got a temporary green card after marrying your U.S. citizen spouse, you are in a more vulnerable position.  A family law attorney can help you get divorced without losing your immigration status.

Contact Peeples Law About Divorce for Newcomers to Alabama

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you navigate the requirements for getting divorced in Alabama, even if you have only lived here a short time.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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