Division of marital property and other assets is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. Separate property division in the divorce process should be fair, but in a contested divorce, an Alabama court decides which assets are “marital property” and what constitutes “equitable distribution.”
“Equitable” does not mean “equal.” If you are involved in a divorce in Alabama without legal representation capable of protecting your right to assets, “equitable” division of your property may not even be fair. In fact, even the most amicable divorce can cause you financial harm if it is handled incorrectly. You need an experienced and objective Alabama divorce attorney to weigh the stakes and help you make reasoned decisions as you end a marriage.
At New Beginnings Family Law, our team aims to facilitate an equitable and fair division of property without judicial involvement. However, as your divorce attorneys, our focus will be on protecting your right to retain assets that are properly yours ─ even if that means going to court.
Schedule a consultation now by calling (256) 518-9529 or filling out our online contact form.
Division of Property During Divorce in Alabama
At New Beginnings Family Law, our compassionate divorce attorneys will listen to you to understand your needs from a divorce settlement. We will help you make decisions about your future, including about your property and financial assets, and fight for your rights in a divorce settlement. You can count on our team to:
- Identify and document the value of personal property, real estate, financial holdings, and other assets accumulated during the marriage
- Negotiate on your behalf based on knowledge, not emotion
- Seek a temporary injunction, if necessary, to prevent conversion, depletion, or disappearance of property or assets before the court can take up your divorce
- Prepare extensive documentation and strong arguments for the fair distribution of marital property in case your divorce and property division must go before a judge
If you are considering divorce and want to discuss how your assets should be divided, contact us today to schedule a consultation. We will conduct a review of your martial property and outline all your options for moving forward.
What Does a Judge Consider When Dividing Assets in a Divorce?
In an amicable divorce, spouses who are separating can work out how to divide martial assets – personal property, real estate, investments, etc., that were acquired while they were married – without the court’s involvement. However, when a divorce is contested, or a party is at fault, division of assets may be left to the judge.
Alabama divorce law calls for “equitable distribution” of property by the presiding judge when a divorcing couple cannot come to terms and enter into a settlement agreement. However, even though Alabama is an equitable distribution state, it is not necessarily a 50/50 split. A judge has wide discretion and may consider several factors when dividing property and assets, including but not necessarily limited to:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s financial condition, or potential ability to earn a living after the divorce
- Either spouse’s sacrifice of career or other opportunities
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including who provided primary child care
- Each spouse’s proportional contribution to the enhancement and production of income
- Preferences for excluding the other spouse from interfering in or influencing a particular asset, such as a business interest
- The state’s preference that the marital home be maintained as a residence for minor children
Alabama law also allows a judge to take into account either spouse’s conduct during the marriage, such as incidents of abuse or adultery, when dividing property. As you can see, most of the judge’s considerations as he or she divides your property are subjective, i.e., a matter of the judge’s personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
At New Beginnings Family Law, our Huntsville Alabama divorce attorneys believe it will be far better if you can come to agreement with your spouse about the division of property instead of leaving it up to a judge who has never met either one of you. Our initial approach is to facilitate cooperative work toward a truly equitable division of marital property as part of a divorce agreement.
However, we also understand that it is not always possible to reach agreement. Some divorces are highly contentious, even bitter. Our dedicated contested divorce lawyer will always be prepared to protect your interests and put them first. Contact us now to learn how we can help you.
What Is Considered Marital Property?
Typically, a judge will only consider marital property to be property the couple acquired during marriage. Property either spouse owned prior to marriage, or acquired as a gift or inheritance, will usually be excluded. Additionally, by law, retirement accounts or pensions earned during the marriage by either spouse are not divided unless the couple has been married for at least 10 years.
However, property held for the benefit of both spouses for many years of a lengthy marriage, such as an inherited home, might be considered marital property.