Going through a divorce can be an emotionally challenging time for anyone. Along with the intense feelings it creates, there are also many complicated steps you must navigate for dividing property, such as the family home and other marital assets.
Alabama laws and courts may dictate the process, but one vital area that you do have control over is getting organized and educated on a number of factors that can make the experience less stressful and lead to a more favorable outcome.
Steps to help you prepare
If you are considering a divorce, here are three tasks you can do to protect your interests:
Inventory assets and debt: The first step is building a list of everything you own and owe. This can include:
- Bank and investment statements
- Your spouse’s income and retirement information
- Inventory of marital and non-marital assets
- Personal financial statements
- Real estate deeds
- Credit card statements
- Mortgage documents
- Wills and trusts
- Insurance policies
Organize your documents: Create a system where all these documents are readily available for your attorney and other advisors. Grouping similar documents together reduces the possibility of omitting a key piece of information. For example, keeping all records of homeownership together can help with a more accurate evaluation of your home’s value and lead to a more favorable outcome for you.
Classify your assets: Once you’ve documented all your income and property, classify each as a marital asset or property that is owned outside the marriage. Alabama is an equitable distribution state, which means a court will determine how property is divided, but that doesn’t mean it will be a 50/50 split. The court will consider several factors to determine who gets what, so being prepared is critical for getting the best possible outcome.
Preparation is the key factor
Taking these steps long before filing for divorce can be critical for your financial well-being as well as your emotional health. Ordering a credit report for you and your spouse is a good first step in getting organized. An experienced family law attorney here in Alabama can help you with every step of the process as well as aggressively fighting for the best possible settlement or vigorously fighting for you in court if necessary.