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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > Factors That Affect Equitable Distribution In Alabama Divorce

Factors That Affect Equitable Distribution In Alabama Divorce


One of the first things a divorce lawyer will tell you about Alabama’s equitable distribution does not always mean equal distribution, but instead, it means fair distribution.  If fair doesn’t mean equal, then what does it mean?  Can judges just decide, arbitrarily, how to divide a couple’s property in divorce.  Is it legal for the judge to award most of your hard-earned money to your ex-spouse while leaving you with chump change, just because you remind the judge of his own ex-spouse?  Even though equitable distribution means that the judge gets to decide on a case-by-case basis the fairest way to divide the couple’s property, Alabama law sets guidelines that family courts must follow when it comes to equitable distribution of a couple’s marital property.  To find out more about property division in divorce, contact a Birmingham divorce lawyer.

Two Important Reality Checks

Before you start worrying about how the judge in your case will interpret the word “equitable,” consider two important reality checks.  Many divorces become final in Alabama without a judge making a single decision about property division.  Usually, the couple decides on everything during mediation, and the judge just signs to make it official.  Furthermore, equitable distribution only applies to marital property.  The court cannot award your separate property to your ex-spouse.

Property Division in a Short-Term Marriage Has a Different Goal From Property Division in a Long-Term Marriage

When the parties were married a short time, the goal of equitable distribution is to make each former spouse’s financial situation the way it would be if the marriage had never happened.  After a long-term marriage, the goal is to keep both former spouses at the standard of living that they had during the marriage.

Equitable Distribution Is About Your Overall Financial Situation, Not Just Marital Property

In deciding how to divide your marital property, the court considers how your overall financial situation will be if the court awards you marital assets X, Y, and Z.  For example, it also considers your income and your separate property.  If you have a much higher paying job than your spouse, the court might award your ex more marital property to compensate.

The Divorce Court Notices Your Unpaid Labor

All the income that either spouse earned during the marriage is marital property.  The court gives you credit for your non-financial contributions to the family as well as your financial ones.  Stay at home parents have the same right to a share of the marital property as spouses who put their efforts into their careers and into the acquisition of capital.  In other words, the court gives you more appreciation for your unpaid labor than your in-laws or the blogosphere ever did.

Contact Peeples Law About Equitable Distribution Divorce

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you understand equitable distribution laws and keep your fair share of marital property, whether or not your divorce case goes to trial.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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