Please understand how a divorce works. It may be contested or uncontested.Contested
is when he does reply, an challenge your custody request/asset division/anything else. Then, the divorce may take a long time to process.Uncontested
means that he either (1) does not challenge it or (2) does not even reply. Either way, then you can get whatever you ask the Court.
If he is not challenging it, it would behoove you to have him sign and file a waiver
of summons, essentially telling the Court that you can ask for whatever you wish. You can see a sample of this here
If he simply does not file an answer, then this is also good
. Essentially, he would then default, and you can get a DEFAULT JUDGMENT, receiving from the Court whatever you ask for in the divorce.
First of all, one should file the proof of the receipt of the summons with the court
and save a copy for one's self.
IF HE FILES THE WAIVER...
Then, wait 30 days after filing, and then, one may call the Court and ask for when the "uncontested" hearing docket is - it is usually a few times a week in the morning. Then, one may show up without even him being there, bring the waiver that he signed (if it has not yet been filed already), and a copy of the proposed DECREE for the divorce. Then, the Judge will review the decree and assuming that no errors are found, will sign it, and then the divorce is complete.
IF HE DOES NOT FILE THE WAIVER...
Then wait until he has defaulted, and then file a Motion for Default Judgment
with the Court and set it for a hearing (also making sure it has been 30 days since the divorce has been filed, which my the time of hearing, it should be). On the hearing for the Motion for Default Judgment, one should explain that he did not answer, and then the Court may grant default judgment and sign the (proposed) divorce decree, a copy of which should be submitted to the Court prior to or on the hearing.Do I file the settlement agreement with only my notarized signature?
Yes.Do I file my platiff testimony now?
One may. The Testimony of Plaintiff must be filed in either case, before the Court entertains the decree.
Now, with the actual Petition that one would be submitting with the Court, there are a few other documents:(proposed) Decree
Standing Pre-Trial Order;
Vital Statistics Form - the clerk should have this;
Affidavit of Residency - if not filed already;
Testimony of Plaintiff - already discussed;
Child Support Guideline Notice of Compliance (CS-43) - if asking for child support;
Child Support Guideline Form (CS-42) - if asking for child support;
Child Support Obligation Income Statement (CS-41) - if asking for child support;
Child Support Information Sheet (form CS-47) - if asking for child support;
Certificates of attendance of the Children Cope with Divorce seminar - check with the clerk if the Court requires you to attend a class for this.
All these should be filed at the time that the Court reviews the proposed Decree before signing it, be it via the course of him waiving summons, or, defaulting.
The issue is that even with this information, the procedural steps may be daunting. Even if you cannot afford counsel, I can recommend three resources. First, here is a list of all pro bono work in the state...http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/directory/alabama.html
…and another list:http://www.lawhelp.org
Finally, you may call your local law school and see if they have a legal clinic place available. The legal clinic is a free service the school(s) provide to the community. While they are often overbooked, they have openings sometimes. Here is the list law schools in your state:http://www.hg.org/law-schools-alabama.asp
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