AlabamaPost Divorce Property Division
Alabama Property Division Guide :: Table of Contents
What is property division in a Alabama divorce?
Also known as equitable distribution, property division is the process of dividing property rights and obligations between spouses during the process of a divorce. Property division may be agreed upon between the soupses through a property settlement, or it may be decided in court during the judicial process of divorce. The process of property division is affected by state laws such as community property laws, definitions of marital contributions, etc.
Alabama is an equitable distribution state, and only property acquired during the course of the marriage is subject to division following divorce. Some factors considered by Alabama courts in a property division case include non-monetary contributions and contributions to a partner's education. This page summarizes the most important aspects of property division laws in Alabama.
This is the default dialog which is useful for displaying information. The dialog window can be moved, resized and closed with the 'x' icon.
Alabama divides marital assets via equitable distribution, which means that the court attempts to divide marital assets in a fair and equitable manner between the spouses, taking multiple factors into account in order to determine the equitable distribution for each spouse.
How does Property Division Work?The judge may not take into consideration any property acquired prior to the marriage of the parties or by inheritance or gift unless the judge finds from the evidence that the property, or income produced by the property, has been used regularly for the common benefit of the parties during their marriage.
The judge, at his or her discretion, may include in the estate of either spouse the present value of any future or current retirement benefits, that a spouse may have a vested interest in or may be receiving on the date the action for divorce is filed if the proper conditions are met.
The total amount of the retirement benefits payable to the non-covered spouse shall not exceed 50 percent of the retirement benefits that may be considered by the court.
If the court finds in its discretion that any of the covered spouse's retirement benefits should be distributed to the non-covered spouse, the amount is not payable to the non-covered spouse until the covered spouse begins to receive his or her retirement benefits or reaches the age of 65 years, unless both parties agree to a lump sum settlement of the non-covered spouse's benefits payable in one or more installments.
Alabama Property Division FAQ
- Is Alabama a community property state?
- Does state of Alabama only divide marital property after a divorce?
- Is there a set list of statutory factors for determining property division in the state of Alabama?
- Do courts in the state of Alabama consider nonmonetary contributions?
- Does Alabama consider a spouse's economic misconduct in property division?
- Are contributions to education considered in the state of Alabama?
- Can a pre-nuptual agreement affect property division in Alabama?
- How can I enforce a property division order in Alabama?
- Dower and Curtesy in Alabama?
Is Alabama a community property state?
Alabama is NOT a community property state, which means that marital property is not automatically divided 50/50 between the spouses in a divorce case.
Instead, Alabama judges determine property division under the equitable distribution policy, which means that the court divides property between the spouses in what is believed to be a fair distribution, based on each individual's contributions to the marriage and their earning ability and needs following separation. Factors such as one spouse's economic misconduct may also be considered.
In practice, judges in an equitable-distribution state like Alabama often divide marital property with approximately 2/3 of marital assets going to the higher-earning spouse, and 1/3 going to the lower-earning spouse.
Does state of Alabama only divide marital property after a divorce?
In the state of Alabama, only property or assets considered "marital property" or "community property" are subject to division in a divorce case. This means that property owned by either spouse prior to marriage is exempt, as are certain individually-owned assets acquired during the tenure of the marriage.
Some individual property may be considered to be "partial community property" or even ruled to be fully community property due to contributions by the other spouse or co-mingling of assets, which may lead to complicated property division situations.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for determining property division in the state of Alabama?
Alabama does not have a specific list of factors for the court to consider when determining an equitable division of property between spouses. This means that judges will have flexibility when determining what factors to consider in each individual property division case.
Do courts in the state of Alabama consider nonmonetary contributions?
In Alabama, statutory law requires judges deciding a property division case to account for the nonmonetary contributions of both spouses to a marriage when determining how to divide property between them. In practice, this generally means that the judge will consider the value of the labor a stay-at-home spouse contributed to the marriage. Nonmonetary contributions may include activities like the following:
- Household chores, cooking, homemaking
- Taking care of children
- Supporting their spouse professionally
Does Alabama consider a spouse's economic misconduct in property division?
In Alabama, there are no laws requiring courts to consider economic misconduct (aka wasting marital assets) by either spouse when determing property division. In many other states, economic misconduct can result in a higher percentage of marital property awarded to the injured spouse.
Are a spouse's contributions to their partner's education considered in the state of Alabama?
Alabama statute does provide for court consideration of a spouse's contribution to their partner's education during the course of a marriage. If one spouse supported (financially or otherwise) the other and enabled them to obtain education or other training that increased their earning power, these contributions can be considered by a Alabama judge when determining how to divide marital property.
Can a pre-nuptual agreement affect property division in Alabama?
A prenuptual agreement, or pre-nup, is a binding legal contract signed by both spouses prior to getting married in Alabama. A prenup containing a property division agreement can take precedence over Alabama's property division laws by establishing what is considered as separate vs marital property, as well as agreeing on how finances will be structured during the marriage and divided in the event of a divorce.
The existance of a valid prenuptual agreement can prevent a Alabama court from having full reign to determine how assets are divided between the spouses, and instead allow them to be divided in a way agreed to by both spouses prior to the event.
How can I enforce a property division order in Alabama?
A Alabama property division order is a court order issued by a court order issued by a judge, describing how property is to be divided between spouses following a divorce. A property division order is a binding legal obligation, and failure to comply with the terms in full by either spouse can result in being charged with contempt of court. If your spouse is not complying with a property division order, you can consult a family lawyer to discuss potential legal avenues.
Dower and Curtesy?
Dower and curtesy abolished (§43-8-57)