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Property Division After a Divorce

Handled by Experienced Divorce Attorneys in Foley

Divorce not only results in the end of a marriage but also results in the evaluation and distribution of the property between the spouses. In practice, this means that the court must make an assessment of the value of the assets, properties, and debts of the spouses and equitably distribute them according to state law. Without the assistance of competent legal counsel, this equitable distribution can be financially devastating. When considering a divorce, it is important to have a basic understanding of how the court will likely assess and distribute assets, properties, and debts related to the marriage. This requires knowing the difference between marital and separate property.

Traditionally, marital property includes all income, assets, and debts gained by either spouse during the marriage.

This may include:

  • Pension plans
  • 401(k)s
  • Stock options
  • Life insurance
  • Mutual funds
  • Shared bank accounts
  • Real estate investments
  • Savings accounts
  • Automobiles
  • Boats
  • Recreational vehicles
  • Mortgages

Importantly, marital property is recognized as property of the marriage and will likely be subject to an equitable division in the event of divorce.

Separate Property Vs. Marital Property in an Alabama Divorce

In the alternative, separate property may include property owned prior to the marriage, property inherited by only one spouse, property received as a gift to one spouse, or pain and suffering damages received from a personal injury judgment. In the event of a divorce, the court will likely find that separate property will not be subject to the same equitable division as marital property. Courts recognize the valuable distinction between separate and marital property to protect those individuals who entered into a marriage with property earned or received without the support of the remaining spouse. Courts typically allow separate property to remain separate after a divorce—however, in some circumstances, the court may find that separate property became marital property during the course of the marriage.

Property originally determined as separate property may later become marital property through the actions of the spouses. For example, if a spouse enters a marriage with individual ownership of real estate but during the marriage re-titles the property to include his or her spouse, the court may find that the property was effectively shifted from separate property to marital property.

Contacting a Foley Divorce Lawyer

Protecting your assets from the equitable divisions required for marital property requires legal guidance and good planning. The best way to protect your property from division by the court is through a marital agreement. Commonly known as a prenuptial agreement, marital agreements may come both before marriage and after the marriage, but before divorce (postnuptial agreement).

These agreements are voluntarily entered in to by the spouses and allow husband and wife to discuss and outline how property, debts, and assets would be divided in the event of a divorce. They provide predictability to an otherwise unpredictable division of property by the court and can potentially protect your most cherished assets. If you are interested in learning more about asset and property division, marital agreements, and for a general discussion about the emotional and financial ramifications of divorce, please contact the Daphne divorce attorneys at Caldwell, Wenzel, & Asthana at any time.

Set up your free consultation and call us today at (251) 444-7000 or contact us online.

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