Articles Posted in Property Division

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Any Alabama resident who is married understands that a marriage can be tough work. Sometimes, no matter how hard a spouse works to keep the marriage together, it simply is not in the best interests of the spouses to stay together.

Once a person comes to this realization, they often want the process to be over sooner rather than later. Most understand that the process may take some time to complete, however, depending on the issues involved in the divorce.

It may surprise some to learn that Alabama used to be a haven for so-called “quickie divorces,” where the divorce process was so expedited in the State that others from around the country would flock to Alabama in order to have their divorce carried out. Some, including Time magazine, even referred to Alabama as the divorce capital of the United States, back in 1962.

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Alabama residents who are going through or approaching a divorce understand that emotions can run high. On occasion, these emotions can cause individuals to act unreasonably.

For example, a 52-year-old man is now facing allegations that he disposed of marital property during a divorce. The man claimed in a sworn deposition that he converted $500,000 of the couple’s money into gold, and then proceeded to throw the gold away in a trash bin behind a motel. The man claimed he did this in order to keep his wife from having the money.

While the case above is obviously rare, it illustrates an important point that often happens on a smaller scale, when spouses try to hide, conceal or destroy certain assets and property obtained during the marriage. Such acts are not recommended, and can have a severe impact on the property division during the divorce.

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For many Alabama residents, the most valuable asset they will own in their lifetime is their family home. Understandably, then, when a couple gets divorced, the house is often one of, if not the top, pieces of marital property that must be divided between the spouses. Yet, it is not as simple as just deciding which party will keep the home.

As with the couple’s other property obtained during the marriage, the marital home is typically divided according to equitable principles. This means that the court will attempt to arrive at an overall property division arrangement that is fair for both parties. Because the house is often the most valuable asset the couple owns, special attention should be given to how it is managed in the divorce.

For example, if one party decides to keep the home, the home should be appraised, and the spouse who will continue living in the home needs to make a payment to account for the other spouse’s share of equity in the home. In these circumstances, the home mortgage should also be refinanced in order to remove one spouse’s name from the loan, although this can be tricky depending on the credit ratings of the spouses.

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Many Alabama residents do their best to pay tribute to the men and women who are serving this country. Residents understand the sacrifices and challenges that those who serve must pay, and residents try to help out where they can.

Unfortunately, these sacrifices often lead to other consequences, including increased rates of divorce for those military members who serve time overseas away from their families. According to a new study, the risk of divorce increases for those who have spent time deployed to combat zones. This was particularly true for women in the military, according to the study, who faced a greater chance of divorce than the men who were studied. What’s more, as could be expected, the study indicated that the longer the length of deployment, the greater the risk of divorce.

For military members who get divorced, there are some special issues to be aware of that can impact everything from where the case is heard to the parties’ asset division. For instance, as an initial matter, service members cannot be sued, including in divorce proceedings, while on active duty or for a short period of time after coming off active duty pursuant to federal law. Military members may also have more choices when it comes to the choice of state in which to file for divorce, due to the residency issues that may accompany being in the military.

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When Alabama residents usually think about what assets they own, they often will list-off items like home, car and bank accounts. When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, individuals naturally will think of these items first as well, and how these items will be divided among the spouses.

While assets, like the above, are certainly a key part in the property division of any divorce, spouses should recognize there are several other assets that also come into play and that may need to be divided among the couple. Assets like retirement accounts and life insurance policies may be at issue in the property division, and these assets may be very valuable and important for the spouse to keep.

For instance, a man who recently became a public figure after his criminal trial, George Zimmerman, is now going through a divorce after his wife filed a divorce petition. Among other assets, the wife is asking the court to order Zimmerman to pay for a permanent life insurance policy the couple has, which names her as the beneficiary.

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Everybody makes mistakes. Most of the time these mistakes are minor and the person can learn from it and move on. Occasionally, however, individuals make mistakes that drastically impact their lives, including marrying the wrong person.

In marriage, everyone thinks that they have found the right person when they initially make the decision to walk down the aisle. But as many Alabama residents can attest, this choice might have been a big mistake. This is particularly true for younger individuals who may realize shortly after the wedding that the person they picked is not with who they truly want to spend the rest of their life.

But no matter the age, individuals who find themselves in this situation should consult a divorce attorney to determine what options are available. Divorce cases vary depending on the circumstances of the couple involved.

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Many Alabama residents consider themselves “planners.” From planning out parties and other social events, to vacations or even just dinner and other everyday events, many individuals pride themselves on planning out details to make the event successful.

When it comes to marriage, many may think the most important piece of planning is the wedding itself. While this event certainly entails a lot of effort and money, there is another area where planning can pay off and that is the area of premarital agreements.

As discussed previously in this blog, when individuals get divorced and must divide marital property, it can sometimes be tricky to determine which spouse gets to keep certain assets. Some of this uncertainty may be reduced or eliminated with a premarital agreement which can spell out simple property division, detailing which spouse keeps which assets in the event of a divorce.

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When Alabama residents get divorced, there are usually a important pieces of property that must be divided between the spouses. Determining who gets major assets like the house or car is central to most divorces, as these assets are often among the highest valued assets of the couple.

Yet, there remains a host of other property obtained during the marriage that must be divided. When it comes to these items, it can be less clear who gets the property, or how to achieve an equitable division of an asset that is difficult to divide.

Take, for example, a couple’s frequent flyer miles. Some may not realize it at first, but frequent flyer miles, and similar rewards and benefits, may be considered a significant asset. Couples who travel frequently, or obtain other rewards, may see such points and rewards pile up quickly, and each spouse may want to retain these rewards after the divorce.

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When a marriage is coming to an end, spouses want to know their options for obtaining a divorce. While a divorce is necessary for many things, such as obtaining a fair property division of marital property, many Alabama spouses may understandably fear the costs of obtaining a divorce.

Fortunately, there are options for individuals to obtain a fair division of marital assets, while engaging in more cost-effective measures. For example, while some believe every divorce must go to court, this is not necessarily true, as other options exist that can help divide the property obtained during the marriage.

Settlement is always on the table, of course, if the spouses are able to work together to achieve a common result. Through effective negotiation from a qualified attorney, settlement can allow a spouse to obtain what he or she wants, without the expense of going through trial. The settlement can then be signed off on by the court, which completes the divorce process.

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As Birmingham residents are aware, laws change over time, meaning what was once the case for residents 50 years ago may no longer be true today. This is true in divorce as well, as laws have changed which impact the property division of spouses’ assets.

One key area that has changed in divorce laws around the country is in obtaining a divorce itself. It used to be the case that fault had to be established to get a divorce, such that one spouse would claim the other was at fault for causing the dissolution of the marriage. For instance, adultery was a common ground claimed as fault in a divorce.

Many of these laws have been replaced with no fault divorce laws today, where the filing spouse need not prove any fault on the part of the other spouse in order to obtain a divorce. For example, country music star Jason Aldean recently filed for divorce after 12 years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences. Aldean, who has two daughters with his wife, was suspected of cheating on his wife, and issued a public apology related to the incident. However, his divorce filing need not involve that alleged act of adultery in order to be valid.

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