Alabama is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the judge won’t divide up every property 50/50 in a divorce case. Instead, they’ll try to divide up your property fairly and allow you to exchange some properties for others. In the case of separate property, you won’t have to divide up these assets with your estranged spouse at all.
What is considered separate property?
During your divorce proceedings, it’s important to know what counts as separate property so your estranged spouse doesn’t try to take it from you. Typically, this includes property that you already owned before you got married. For example, if you bought a car before you got married, the family law judge probably won’t make you divide the value with your estranged spouse.
This also includes debts that you or your estranged spouse accrued before you got married. Additionally, if someone gave you a gift or left you an inheritance during your marriage, the law generally treats these assets as separate property, unless they were commingled with your marital assets. This could also include property that you protected with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Finally, if you earned income from ownership if a separate property, you might not have to split up this income in court.
What if you have questions about your properties?
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, your estranged spouse might try to seize properties that don’t belong to them. They might also claim that shared assets are actually separate assets so they don’t have to share them.
An attorney could tell you if you’re dealing with shared or separate assets and how you could divide them with your estranged spouse. In the case of shared assets, you might be able to exchange assets instead of dividing up every property 50/50. For example, you could offer your estranged spouse investments if they let you keep the vehicle.