Property and asset division in an Alabama divorce case

Alabama follows an equitable distribution of property law, which allows the court to consider certain factors when deciding how to divide marital property.

When couples file for legal separation or divorce, they may be required to discuss some difficult topics, such as child custody, child support and alimony. For many people, however, division of property is one of the hardest issues to deal with during a divorce. Not only are couples required to divide their property and assets, but they must split any debts or liabilities that have been accumulated during the marriage as well. While some people are able to separate their property in a civil manner through divorce mediation or collaborative law, others rely on the Alabama court system to split their property, assets and liabilities for them.

Equitable distribution in Alabama

There are two basic models that states use when separating property in divorce cases, according to the Huffington Post. Community property states split all marital assets equally in half without regard to how long the marriage lasted or who contributed what to the marriage. Alabama uses the equitable distribution of property model, which allows the judge to use his or her discretion when determining who receives what in a divorce settlement. The judge appointed to the case will attempt to divide all marital property and assets in a fair and equitable manner, which does not necessarily mean equal. Each divorce case has unique circumstances and all of them are carefully considered by the judge.

Factors to consider when dividing property

Judges will often take into account the following factors when separating property in a divorce case, according to Forbes:

  • How long the marriage lasted
  • The current and potential income of each spouse
  • How much money and time each spouse contributed to the marriage
  • The standard of living that was established during the course of the marriage
  • Whether one spouse contributed to the career or education of the other spouse
  • What the custodial parent needs to properly care for and maintain the lifestyle of any children involved.

The judge may also factor in any other relevant facts of the case, such as the age and health of each spouse, as well as whether anyone involved has special medical needs.

Marital vs. separate property

In most divorce cases, all marital property is eligible for division. Yet, separate items and assets may remain with the original owner. Separate property may include items that spouses owned prior to the marriage, as well as any third-party gifts given to either spouse during the marriage. This includes any type of inheritance.

Many people don't realize that marital property can include hidden assets, such as art collections, employee compensation plans, life insurance policies, 401K plans, pensions, retirement benefits and classic cars.

Finding legal counsel

Going through a divorce can be extremely emotional, and many people have difficulties making important decisions during these hard times. These crucial decisions will affect you for years to come. An attorney may be able to help you make the essential decisions regarding your separation or divorce. They may also make sure that you receive everything you deserve in your divorce settlement.

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