Alabama Property Division Attorney
The property settlement is an important aspect of any Alabama divorce. Unlike other matters such as custody or support, which can be modified post-divorce if circumstances change, the property division is generally final and not modifiable. Mobile family law attorney Ginger Poynter is sensitive to the issues which are most relevant to the division of marital property in an Alabama divorce. The Law Office of Ginger Poynter can help you to negotiate a fair settlement that meets your needs, or represent your interests in court when a reasonable settlement is not forthcoming.
Some Facts about Alabama Marital Property Law
In a divorce, the judge will distribute the couple’s marital and separate property. A person’s separate property includes assets the person had before entering marriage, along with certain gifts, inheritances or legal awards/judgments which are given specifically to that person during marriage. Marital property includes basically all assets (and debts) acquired by either spouse during marriage, with certain exceptions. Upon divorce, each person keeps his or her separate property, and the judge divides the marital property. It is important to understand, however, that separate property can become marital property (and vice versa), depending upon how it is handled and treated by the spouses during marriage.
When dividing the marital property between the spouses, the judge is required to make an “equitable distribution” of the property. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal, but it does mean fair. In deciding what would be a fair or equitable way to divide the property, the family law judge can look at a number of different factors. Typical factors include the following:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The age and health of the spouses
- The standard of living established during the marriage
- Whether one spouse contributed to the education or career of the other spouse
- The needs of each spouse
- The earning ability and income potential of each spouse
- The child custody arrangement
- Whether either spouse is to blame for the marriage’s breakdown
- Tax consequences of the property division
While some of these factors can be objectively determined, many of them are subjective in nature, and it is important to review these factors with your divorce attorney so that she can ensure you are fairly represented in the property division.
How an Attorney Can Help with the Division of Marital Property
It is essential to a fair division of property that every asset (and debt) be located. Once identified, every item must be properly classified as either separate property or marital property. If marital property, it must be given an accurate value of its worth. Your attorney can help in all of these areas.
Sometimes a spouse will try to hide assets or debts, or deliberately misstate income. This can be especially complex if the spouse is self-employed or owns a lot of complicated assets, such as business interests and profit-sharing plans. Often times, one spouse has not been involved in the couple’s finances and does not have knowledge of or access to all of the couple’s financial holdings. Attorney Ginger Poynter is effective at helping the “out spouse” uncover and understand the marital property, as well as protecting the “in spouse” from an unfair distribution that fails to consider all the appropriate factors.
If your divorce includes high-dollar or complicated assets, or if there is valuable property such as the family home or personal items that are important to you, contact the Law Office of Ginger Poynter in Mobile and Daphne for sound advice and effective representation in your divorce and property settlement.