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What is Marital Property Distribution?

May 5, 2021

Marriage is more than just a beautiful wedding and happily ever after. Getting married comes with the joint responsibility of sharing one’s assets with their partner. Marital assets include real estate property and money earned during the marriage. Many may wonder what happens to this joint property when spouses go through a divorce. The answer to this question is that each spouse is entitled to half of the shared assets unless they agree on some other way of distributing the marital property. However, this is often on a case-by-case basis. Spouses who are getting a divorce are encouraged to contact an experienced divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer can help to ensure that the marital property is distributed evenly and fairly between the two spouses.

What is Considered a Marital Asset?

A marital asset differs from a separate asset. A separate asset is an asset that an individual owns by themselves outside of their marriage. This often includes money made or property owned prior to getting married. Property may also be considered separate even during marriage if an individual only gave it to one of the two spouses. Finally, property may also be considered separate if one of the spouses inherited it from a friend or family member.

On the other hand, a marital asset is something that two spouses own together in their marriage. This often includes the family home, family vehicle, or other joint property. The money that a spouse earns during the marriage is also considered marital property. It is important to identify what property is considered marital versus what is considered separate early on in the divorce process. This is because marital property is eligible for distribution between the two spouses, whereas each individual can keep their separate property.

One should note that there is some separate property that can turn into marital property after some time. This depends on the circumstances; however, there are a few common examples of this. One example is when a person re-titles their home to include their spouse as a coowner. Since the spouse now partially owns the house, they are entitled to half of the property after a divorce. Another example is if a spouse deposits their inheritance into a joint bank account.

It is also important to note that a house acquired during a marriage is still considered marital property, even if one of the spouses is not listed as a co-owner. Spouses are also entitled to their partner’s 401K during a divorce. The general rule is that if the property was acquired during the time of the marriage, it is usually considered marital property. However, those looking to get a more personalized opinion should contact a lawyer for advice.

How can I Protect My Marital Assets During a Divorce?

During a divorce, some spouses try to hide their marital assets to avoid splitting it evenly with their husband or wife. They may fail to report additional employment on their taxes, open a secret bank account, or sell marital property without their spouse’s consent. When a spouse hides marital assets, this forces the other spouse to miss out on their fair share of the assets.

When an individual thinks that their spouse is hiding marital assets, they should take action. One way to prevent a spouse from hiding marital assets is to ensure that both spouses are listed as the co-owner on any marital property. It is crucial that any transfer of marital assets requires both spouses’ signatures before being approved. This can help to prevent one spouse from transferring property during a divorce.

In order to prevent a spouse from hiding marital assets, individuals should frequently look at bank statements. This can give a person some insight into what their spouse is up to. For instance, if an individual starts to frequently withdraw cash from the ATM machine or if money seems to just be disappearing, this may be a good sign that a partner is attempting to hide their marital assets. Those who believe that their partner is trying to hide assets should contact a lawyer immediately. A lawyer can help ensure that their client’s assets are protected.

What Should I Do with My Joint Bank Account During a Divorce?

Many individuals are told that either they should avoid using their joint bank accounts during a divorce or that they should take out their half. However, experts suggest that spouses should simply use the accounts as usual. This can help to prevent any distrust between the spouses. Therefore, when a certain bill is due that is usually paid from a joint account, the individual can simply allow it to come out of that joint account as usual.

How is Property Divided During a Divorce?

In Alabama, marital property is divided through a method called equitable distribution. This means that the division of marital assets is not always 50/50. Instead, some individuals are awarded a greater percentage of the marital property for one reason or another. However, it is important to note that these laws are enforced only when two spouses are unable to reach an agreement in the division of their marital assets. Therefore, it is beneficial for an individual to talk to their spouse before the marital property distribution process.

The court establishes fair division of marital property by looking at certain variables, including the financial standing and earning potential of each spouse, the value of the property, the amount each spouse contributed, any prenuptial agreements, and other factors.

Huntsville Divorce Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Protect an Individual’s Marital Property During a Divorce

If you or a loved one are interested in divorcing a spouse, you need to contact the Huntsville divorce lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. A divorce is often both an emotional and financial burden on a family. Our lawyers work tirelessly to help alleviate the burden of divorce on the spouses and their family by ensuring that our clients get their fair share of the marital property. For a free consultation, call us at 256-539-3110 or 888-539-3110, or contact us online. Our Athens and Huntsville, Alabama, offices represent clients throughout North Alabama, including Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.