Divorce proceedings are needed to decide many marital issues before the separation is finalized. When the individuals part ways, they need to establish which possessions they will be taking with them. During litigation, a judge will decide this issue for the spouses. To divide assets during divorce, judges use the concept of equitable distribution. Through equitable distribution, judges are able to rule on how possessions will be split between spouses. Alabama state law adheres to the concept of equitable distribution to decide matters during divorce because it is believed to be a fair and just manner of distributing assets.
What is equitable distribution?
Through equitable distribution, assets will be divided fairly and justly by a court. With this concept in mind, it is important to remember that a fair distribution does not mean that the assets will be divided evenly between the spouses. Instead, the judge will use their discretion to consider factors relating to the marriage and how this should affect the division of the possessions between the couple. When deciding how to split assets, the judge will consider many factors of the marriage. These factors can include the duration of the marriage, the standard of living, the value of the marital assets, the health and age of both parties and the earning capacity and income of the couple. The allocation of assets can be impacted by the contribution of each party, tax consequences and an individual’s financial situation.
How are marital and separate property decided?
Before equitable distribution is applied to divide assets between spouses, the court will determine the difference between marital assets and separate assets. Marital property is considered to be assets that are acquired during the marriage between the two spouses. These assets are left for the court to decide on how they are distributed between the two parties. In comparison, separate property is something that was not a part of the marriage. This may include a spouse’s inheritance or any personal gifts. Due to this, the separate property will be owned by own individual already.
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