The process of getting divorced can be tricky because both spouses may have different ideas about how their assets should be split. In Alabama, the divorce courts follow the concept of equitable distribution. Based on this concept, marital property is split in an equitable -- or fair -- manner, whereas separate property is not subject to equitable division.
During a marriage, some assets may be partly separate, whereas others may be partly marital. For example, if the couple uses one spouse's separate property to purchase marital assets, the appreciation of this property in the course of the marriage may be a marital asset. Thus, the court might need to compute the quantity of the property's current value that is based on the couple's initial investment as well as how much is the result of appreciation. Keeping records of how much property was worth when it was acquired, along with the marriage date, is thus important.
In addition, property that one party receives as an inheritance is considered separate property. Thus, the spouse who received the inheritance can usually keep this property following the divorce. If this separate property, however, was sold, with the proceeds being utilized to purchase other property while the two parties were married, the recipient of the inheritance might receive a greater share of the court's equitable division in proportion to how much of the separate property was invested.
Getting a divorce can be a trying experience financially and emotionally for any Alabama couple. However, property division can be an even greater source of conflict for couples with high-value assets. An attorney can offer guidance during each stage of the process of pursuing a fair settlement with a future ex-spouse.
Source: gwinnettcitizen.com, "Divorce -- Division of Property", David Walker, July 30, 2017