What you need to know about property division in an Alabama divorce
If you and your spouse have minor children, the court must have jurisdiction over them. Generally this means your children must currently live in Alabama, and must have lived in Alabama for at least six months. Filing For Divorce. You can file for divorce EITHER in the circuit court of the county where one spouse resides, OR in the county where you and your spouse resided when the separation occurred. Serving Your Spouse.
After filing the papers with the Court, you must "serve" your spouse with the papers. This is done by mailing or hand-delivering a copy of the papers to your spouse. Your spouse wil then sign a legal document admitting receipt of the papers, and that form is filed with the court. Formal service by Sheriff or process server is not required in an agreed divorce. Waiting Period. There is a waiting period of 30 days from the date you file your papers with the court, before your divorce can be finalized.
Learn more about the divorce procedure. Additional Information. This is the bond between husband and wife that will be severed after the court enters the decree or order divorcing you. This severance only applies to the marriage, not the property or children, those are separate issues. Many times parties can have the bonds of matrimony severed and be divorced while the issues of property, custody and child support remain open.
This means that the division of property and debts between the divorcing parties should be fair and equitable, but not necessarily equal. There is no fixed standard to divide property, each case will be decided on its facts by the judge. That decision will be hard to have changed by an appeals court. The division of property must be graduated according to the particular facts and circumstances of each case. What you think is fair and equitable may not be the way the judge sees it.
The court may divide jointly owned property according to the equities of the case. Trial judges many times makes decisions that do not seem either fair or equitable to either party. Separate Property. Some property or debt is not included in the marital estate.
Divorce Laws in Alabama
The question here is whether property contributed by one of the parties should be included in the marital estate for purposes of an equitable division. The key here is whether the property in some way became part of the marriage. Generally, separate property acquired before the marriage or by gift or inheritance during the marriage may be excluded from the marital estate if the property was never really part of the relationship.
If one spouse never uses that property and helps with debt or upkeep, it would generalyl not be part of the marital estate. Length of the Marriage. Generally, property division involving a short-term marriage is relatively straightforward. Plainly stated, the dog is part of the marital property and has to be equitably divided according to its value, if value can be assigned. Receipts must be shown proving which spouse has been the functional owner of the pet. In other words, the spouse that has paid for things such as medical treatment, training, grooming, maintenance and upkeep is the one who is considered the owner and gets to keep the dog.
Child Custody. Custody as Between Parents.
Before , Alabama presumed that young children should be with their mothers. It has now been rejected by the courts and it is now presumed that both parents have equal rights to custody of the children without presuming that one is automatically more fit than the other. Below is a list of factors the judge will consider in making a decision about custody. Regardless of these factors, today judges are required to first assume that it is best for both parents to have joint custody.
The emotional, social, moral, material, and educational needs of each child. The respective home environments offered by each party. The characteristics of each parent age, character, stability, mental and physical health. The ability to provide emotional, social, moral, material and educational needs. The relationship between each child and each parent. The relationship between the children. The effect on the child of disrupting or continuing an existing custodial status.
The preference of each child, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity. The recommendation of any expert or independent investigator. Any other relevant matter the evidence may disclose. Preference of the Child. At age 14 or above, the preferences of the child is given a lot of weight by the judge and if the child acts mature. Between ages 7 and 14, there is a sliding scale where the weight given the preferences of the child will vary depending on the age, maturity, and perceived independent judgment of the child.
- Alabama Divorce: Dividing Property.
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- Standard of equitable division.
Custody Modification. The parent wanting to modify custody must prove my evidence in court that uprooting the child from the prior custody arrangement will offset uprooting the child. The court will assume the uprooting the child is not good. Frequent disruptions are to be condemned. Trial courts have broad latitude in providing for visitation rights.
Alabama Code Title Marital and Domestic Relations § | FindLaw
If neither party can agree, the court will order "standard visitation" which is the court's own visitation plan. Sometimes children express fears or unwillingness to visit their other parent without any reasonable basis or foundation. Child Support. Alabama Child Support.
Child support is not only based on the idea that both parents are legally obligated to provide care for their children, but also that children deserve to have the same standard of living they would have had if their family unit had stayed intact. When parents no longer live together, there are many issues that arise around the issue of child support.