Rarely are any two divorces exactly alike, although they might follow similar protocol. Your feelings are your own and solutions are not one-size-fits-all. You have the right to try to negotiate with your husband for a settlement that suits you and accommodates your concerns, and Alabama law encourages the process.
Complete a petition for divorce. You can find forms for an Alabama petition on the Internet and they are available at some county courthouses as well.
File your divorce petition in the county where you and your husband last lived together or where he lives. If he’s not a resident of the state, you can also file in your own county. Alabama allows him to waive service of the petition. If the two of you are on civil terms, you can give him your petition yourself and he can sign the waiver. Otherwise, ask the court to serve it on him when you file your petition. He has 30 days within which to file an answer with the court.
Meet with your husband to try to work out a divorce agreement. If you think you need help, you can ask the court to order mediation. The court can also order mediation even if you don’t request it. The Alabama courts don’t want to settle your divorce for you; judges prefer you to do it. Try to address every conceivable issue, including property division, custody, visitation and support.
Prepare a marital settlement agreement if you can come to terms with your husband that incorporates all the details of your understanding. Although you can usually find a form for this on the Internet, you might benefit from having an attorney prepare it for you. Your agreement will be binding on both you and your husband as a court order, so you’ll want to make sure you don’t shortchange yourself by giving up something you don’t necessarily have to.
Notify the court if you and your husband are able to reach an agreement. The clerk will schedule a hearing with a judge. He’ll review your agreement and sign it into a decree unless it's grossly unfair or at odds with the state’s laws. If you have not reached an agreement, the clerk will set your matter down for trial in about six months.