Creating a divorce settlement that leaves both you and your ex-spouse happy and secure is a delicate balance between the wants and needs of both parties.
Compromise may be the last thing on earth you want to do, but a fair and equitable divorce settlement will save you time, energy, and frustration in the years to come.
Details are extremely important when drafting a divorce settlement. The difference between alimony in gross and periodic alimony, for example, can make a huge difference in the application of the divorce settlement, but it all hinges on the wording of the agreement. To make sure your assets are being protected appropriately, you need an experienced divorce attorney. The Alabama Law Group specializes in divorce, child support, child custody, and alimony, the main components of a divorce settlement.
Understanding the details and language of your divorce settlement is just as important. Knowing what your responsibilities are now, and in the future, as well as the expectations of your ex, will ensure that the settlement is carried out as agreed upon and no one is taken advantage of.
Since every single divorce settlement is different, your attorney will be your best resource to help you negotiate the specific terms of your divorce settlement. However, there are some basic elements to a divorce settlement that most people will need to consider.
1. Child Custody and Support
If you don’t have children, skip to number 2. If you do, this may well be one of the most difficult aspects of the divorce settlement to negotiate. Every state handles custody and support responsibilities differently and you may have to pay support, even with shared custody, but the fundamental objective is to work in favor of the child’s best interests.
To learn more about child support in Alabama, view our comprehensive guide here.
In addition to the basics, there are some specific things that you will want to consider when negotiating your child custody and support agreement:
- Holidays, birthdays, summer vacations, travel, visitation with extended family, etc.
- Birthday parties, Christmas presents, clothes, camp, extra-curricular activities, and other non-essentials not cover by child support. Be sure to decide now if you are going to split these or if the child support is enough to cover these expenses, says wevorce.
- The Future: college, car insurance, braces, health insurance, who is claiming the children on taxes, etc.
Alabama statutes provide the rules for awarding financial support to one spouse after a divorce or separation. The courts award alimony to give some fairness and an equal footing to both spouses as they dissolve the marriage. Alimony is different than property division, particularly when it comes to taxes. Alabama family courts will take the following things into consideration when determining spousal support:
- The range of each parties’ earning ability
- The customary standard of living established during the marriage
- The earnings and money-making skills of each party
- The amount of devoted time to domestic duties and child rearing at the expense of a party’s career pursuits
- The obligations and assets, including separate property, held by both parties
- The length of the marriage
- The ages of the parties
- The ability of the supported spouse to obtain lucrative employment
- A documented history of domestic violence in the marriage
- The need of a time period required for the supported spouse to pursue further education or training to gain employment for support
- The ability of the party who has the higher earnings to pay support
3. Property and Debt
The State of Alabama is an equitable distribution state, which means that all assets and liabilities are divided fairly. This doesn’t always mean a 50-50 split. Rather, the property that each spouse owned prior to the marriage is given to that person. The remaining property from the duration of the marriage is divided as fairly as possible in the divorce settlement.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to property division:
- DO have an understanding of all marital finances including income, expenses, debts, insurance, retirement, investments, businesses, and the worth of valuables.
- DON’T try to hide assets.
- DO consider liquidity, tax consequences, maintenance costs, and inflation.
- DON’T made decisions based on emotions.
Charlotte Christian, of The Alabama Law Group, wants to protect your interests in your divorce settlement. Don’t leave your future in the hands of just anybody. Not only can Charlotte Christian help you get the best outcome, but you will love working with her as well.