All assets that are in my name are mine forever… and other common misconceptions about divorce in Alabama (including the fallacy that divorce is always hard)
One of the most common misconceptions people have about divorce is that whatever property is in their name is automatically theirs when it comes time to part ways, regardless of whose money was used to buy it. This is not the case. If the two parties are unable to reach a settlement on their own, the state of Alabama will enact the “equitable distribution” policy, which is when the court will divide the properties equally amongst both parties.
You may be wondering, “How does the court decide what property is to be divided if they disregard titles?” In the U.S. at state-level, the distinction between an individual’s assets and marital property is as simple as when the property was purchased. If the property was acquired by either spouse during the course of their marriage, the property is considered marital property. Property can include anything and everything, from the big television set in the bedroom to the couple’s retirement fund. As you can see, this can have major negative implications if the property is not divided equally, which is why at my firm, I encourage soft divorce (the commitment to handling divorces in the most healthy and low-stress way imaginable) to the fullest extend whenever possible. By encouraging soft divorce, I am also encouraging my clients to reach a settlement agreement on their own, with their ex-spouse (as they’re the only two who know the real value of their properties).
However, the soft divorce approach isn’t always doable, and while I am prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve the fairest resolution for both parties, the court has its own process it likes to adhere to in difficult times. They begin with a discovery process, in which the property and debt are classified; once classified, all assets are given a monetary value and, lastly, distributed between the two parties in an equitable fashion. It is important to note that “equitable” doesn’t mean equal – it just means what is deemed by the court to be fair. Too many times, individuals automatically assume that all marital property will be divided 50/50, and these individuals are sorely disappointed once all is said and done.
As your Alabama divorce attorney, my job is to not only make sure that everything goes as smoothly as possible for you during your divorce, but also to make sure that you’re not blind sighted during any part of the process.