How Do You Divide Property in a Divorce?
One of the biggest issues in an Alabama divorce is how to divide the property. This is a big issue because of the important financial and legal concerns that come with property division. It is also a very emotional issue because of the sentimental attachment to certain items, or when a spouse may demand certain property out of spite. In some cases, both spouses have financial needs that make the division of property difficult as well. One Alabama divorce case addresses how a court divides property between the spouses.
The Henry divorce – an Alabama case
An Etowah County couple got divorced and the wife wanted to keep her husband’s prized 1994 Chevy Corvette. When the husband would not agree, she argued that he could buy her out for $13,000. The judge ultimately ordered the husband to turn over his car to his ex-wife. The husband appealed the decision and was rewarded.
The difference between separate and marital property
The Alabama Court of Appeals decided that the lower court was incorrect in awarding the car to the wife. The appellate court based its decision on the fact that the car was actually a gift to the husband more than a decade before they were even married. As such, the car was considered separate property, as opposed to marital property. It would therefore be unfair to give the husband’s separate property to his wife simply because they were divorced.
The nature of the property is key to proper division during a divorce
This Alabama case illustrates the important point that not all property in a divorce will be fair game. The division of property during a divorce only applies to assets that are jointly owned by the couple and considered “marital property.” Because the Corvette in the Alabama case was acquired before the marriage and was a gift to only one spouse, it could not be considered marital property. Separate assets are not subject to division in a divorce.
If you have questions regarding the division of property or any other family law matters, contact us online or by calling Brad J. Latta at (205) 507-7659. We are here to help!