First, it must be determined what assets and debts comprise the marital estate (those subject to division), and what assets or debts may be considered separate property (those not subject to division). Sometimes, what you think may be your separate property is not. Understand that how certain assets or debts are held or titled, whether in one spouse’s name or jointly with the other, doesn’t definitively determine whether those assets or debts are considered to be a part of the marital estate. Instead, the use of those assets and debts during the course of the marriage may definitively answer that question.
Once we identify what comprises the marital estate, we then need to obtain values for each component. What is the fair market value of the home? What is the amount of retirement benefits that have been accumulated during the marriage? How do we obtain a value of business interests that one or both spouses may have?
Alabama is an equitable distribution state (not a community property state), which means that your marital estate should be divided equitably (or fairly) between you and your spouse depending on the unique facts and circumstances of your marriage and the breakdown thereof. First and foremost, recognize that what may seem equitable depends on a person’s perspective that is often gained through experience or knowledge of a certain matter. Ever mindful of this truism, once the value of each component of the marital estate has been valued, we can then begin a pragmatic approach of formulating persuasive, equitable arguments, bolstered by evidence and testimony, as to why the marital estate should be divided in your favor or in a manner that you desire.
In order to help navigate you through this process, some topics of discussion that you need to have with the lawyer in the initial consultation, or soon after the client-lawyer relationship has been formed, may be:
At Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C. our experienced litigators are prepared to answer each of these important questions for you. Recognizing that you deserve a fair and equitable division of the marital estate based on the particular facts and circumstances on your individual case, we strive to negotiate and structure property settlement agreements that are tailored to your circumstances and that achieve your desired outcome. However, when the need arises, we stand ready to litigate in order to obtain these results for you.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with any of our lawyers to discuss any property division matter, or the possibility of an appeal which involves any of these issues, please contact the particular lawyer’s assistant with whom you would like to schedule an appointment by obtaining their email address here, or by locating this information under the particular lawyer’s attorney profile.