Division of Property.
One of the major undertakings of divorce is dividing property – Property includes not only assets, but also liabilities accumulated over the course of your marriage. When a couple divorces in the State of Alabama, the Court is tasked with dividing all property equitably.
It is not uncommon to feel financially vulnerable and overwhelmed when considering how intertwined your marital assets are, nor is it unusual for you to feel anxiety at the thought of losing assets or depleting funds. Much of this anxiety and stress can be alleviated through companionate legal advice that educates you about the process.
Some states require that all community property be divided equally upon divorce. In Alabama divorce cases, the court is only required to divide property “equitably,” which does not necessarily mean 50-50 or “equally.” Alabama does not have an equitable distribution statute, rather the statutory authority for division of property came as an incident to an absolute divorce and is presently codified in Sections 30-2-51 and 30-2-52, Code of Alabama.
Alabama case law provides a wide range of elements and factors to be considered when handling the division of marital property and debt in a domestic relations matter. Application of said elements and factors indicates that there are no fixed standards or mathematical formulae to division, so long as the outcome is “equitable.”
At the Law Office of Bill G. Hall, P.C., we attempt to obtain a thorough and complete list of any and all assets and liabilities at the initial client interview. This information, including how the asset is titled, how and when it was acquired, and its current fair market value will be of upmost importance in providing legal advice, proposing settlement, or preparing to litigate.
We understand that dividing assets and debts can be a difficult issue in divorce. Most couples are able to negotiate and reach an agreement on how to split assets and debts of a marriage in a settlement agreement outside of court. Frequently, however, couples are unable to reach an agreement on how to equitably divide assets and debts, in which case the court will decide. It is our policy that it is always best for you to resolve these kinds of issues if common ground can be found, but in the event an agreement cannot be reached, we are prepared to litigate to protect and promote your best interests.
Variety of Assets.
Assets divided upon divorce differ drastically from case to case and we often have to remind clients that marital assets and debts are not limited to real property, personal property, and credit cards. Marital assets and debts can include any, or all, of the following:
Money – Financial assets that can include the funds in your checking, and savings accounts, for example.
Real Property – Fixed property, principally land and buildings attached thereto – e.g. the marital residence, a vacation property, the family farm. These are all considered real property and are assets that are commonly divided upon divorce.
Retirement – This includes funds such as 401(k) accounts, pensions, and even military benefits, in some cases.
Investments – This includes brokerage accounts, such as an IRA or stock options.
Business Interests – Any business owned, as well as business-owned property and the business’s accounts receivable.
Other common assets divided in divorce included credit cards, insurance policies, trust accounts, household furnishings and related valuables. Property division questions may be more complex when dissolving longer marriages or marriages with substantial assets and/or debts.
It is vital that you understand the scope of your property and the true value of the sale in order to achieve a fair division of assets. Normally, the true value of an asset is simple to determine. During a complex divorce, however, assets may require value appraisals, input from certified accountants, or other experts. The attorneys at Bill G. Hall, P.C., stand able, ready, and willing, to take the necessary steps to determine the scope of your property and the true value of the same.