Couples in Alabama who are going through a divorce will have to address how to divide their property. They have the option of doing it themselves and getting the settlement approved by the court or leaving the decision up to a judge.
Dividing property: marital and separate property
When it comes to property, there are two types couples will need to address during a divorce: separate and marital property. Separate property refers to all property acquired before marriage. Marital property includes all property acquired after the marriage, such as:
• Real estate
• Savings accounts
• Retirement accounts
• Investment accounts
There are, however, some exceptions, to the marital property rule, including inherited assets, individual gifts, and some 401(k) accounts. If the couple had signed a prenup before the marriage, this agreement might also establish how some marital property is treated during a divorce. During the division of property process, marital property is divided while each person usually keeps their separate property.
Dividing marital property
There is no specific way of dividing marital property in Alabama. Instead, the goal is to divide it in a fair manner, often as equally as possible. However, there are other factors that might influence how property is divided, including:
• How long the marriage lasted
• The earning potential of each spouse after the divorce
• Each person’s income
• Each person’s mental and physical condition
Couples can also choose to negotiate their own division of property and come to an agreement that is fair and works for them. In those cases, they can present their settlement agreement to the court and normally, the court will approve it. If they cannot come to an agreement, they can leave it up to the court to divide the property.