Divorce and Property Division in Alabama
When a couple divorces, one of the more difficult matters that require settlement is the issue of dividing property between the two spouses. Property acquired during the marriage is considered joint property, and most of the time, determining which property is shared by the couple is fairly straight-forward. Exceptions to this idea appear when one of the spouses believes that a particular piece of property or money should be considered separate. This gives rise to many of the disputes that occur during a divorce, especially when the end of the relationship has been acrimonious. In this case, the court must determine which parties are entitled to particular pieces of the marital estate. The court will include property that was used “for the benefit of the marriage” in order to determine what will be included in joint assets to divide.
Alabama courts give judges power and mandate to make the division of assets in a divorce as fair and equal as possible. In this way, Alabama is an example of an “equitable division” state as opposed to a “community property” state. For the courts, it is preferable for divorcing couples to reach a settlement themselves as opposed to having the courts determine what is best.
Settlements in a divorce case are preferable for a number of reasons. An out-of-court settlement saves both parties from contentious time in court, as well as the additional attorney- and court fees. Settling out of court also provides the ability for each party to negotiate for what is important to them and compromise about what is less important. In this way, both parties are more likely to be satisfied with the agreement and walk away happy.
Although these are general rules regarding divorce in Alabama, each court decision is made on a case-by-case basis. If you or someone you know is involved or will potentially be involve in a divorce, contact family law attorney Lana Hawkins in Guntersville, Huntsville, and Arab for a free consultation.