When one spouse holds a professional degree and has an established career, it could affect their divorce in several ways. A Huntsville divorce for professionals lawyer on our team could explain how property division works in these cases and assist you with navigating the process. Our law firm can help you protect your business and income or fight for the assets you deserve during your divorce.
At Charlotte Christian Law, our Huntsville divorce for professional lawyers work with individuals to protect their rights and help them get the best possible outcome during a difficult and emotional time. You do not have to go through this on your own. Our attorneys offer confidential, no-obligation evaluations. Contact us to discuss your case today.
Table of Contents
- Professional Divorces
- What Are the Major Concerns Related to Divorce for Professionals?
- How Much Is a Professional Degree Worth?
- Navigating the Divorce Process in Huntsville
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Contact a Huntsville Divorce for Professionals Lawyer Today
Charlotte Christian Law Manages Professionals’ Divorces
At Charlotte Christian Law, our lawyers understand divorce for professionals. We know your concerns related to your professional degree and career. We help our clients manage divorce, property distribution, custody, child support, alimony, and divorce modification cases. We could help you save money, protect your business, get valuable assets, or get custody of your children.
In every case, our attorneys ensure the spouse and the court recognize our client’s voice. We support their demands with evidence and present the information necessary to negotiate an agreement or allow the judge to rule in our client’s favor.
Our Huntsville divorce lawyers take the time to learn about your situation. When you work with us, we ask questions and work to understand your position, goals, and objectives. We build a case keeping these things in mind, working to protect your rights and guide you through this emotionally charged and challenging process one step at a time.
What Are the Major Concerns Related to Divorce for Professionals?
Whether you or your spouse holds a professional degree, you likely have concerns about how a divorce affects your financial standing, including assets and debts.
When clients call on our team to navigate a divorce for professionals in Madison County, they generally voice one of two concerns:
- They earned the degree, make more money than their spouse, and want to protect their hard work.
- Their spouse received the degree while they sacrificed their career to care for their family and home, sometimes contributing to the degree financially.
In either situation, our team works with the client to support their position with evidence and voice their desires to their partner or the court. We prepare documents, present arguments, and state their case for why they believe they deserve certain assets, alimony, or other requested outcomes.
Some professions that may benefit from support from a divorce attorney familiar with divorces for professionals and/or high-asset divorces include:
- Professors and others in higher education
- Scientists and researchers
Divorce for Professionals and Property Distribution
Alabama law dictates how judges distribute assets and debts. These laws make Alabama an equitable distribution state. This means the judge splits the couple’s assets and debts fairly, although not necessarily equally.
Depending on the circumstances and our client’s goals, we have built cases to show:
- Our client earned a larger portion of the income and deserves more assets.
- Our client’s business constitutes their sole property.
- Our client supported their spouse during their education and deserves alimony to complete their degree.
- Our client’s spouse benefits from the degree and, therefore, should carry the related debt.
- Our client supported and cared for the children and the home while their spouse worked.
We discuss our client’s goals with them before we begin developing an argument in their divorce case. This ensures we understand their preferences and center our case around them.
Alimony in a Divorce for Professionals
When one partner emotionally or financially supports the other through their education and training, the circumstances may call for the judge to order alimony during the divorce process and afterward. If the supporting spouse put their education and career goals on hold during this time, they may have an alimony case.
Alabama law outlines when and how long a spouse may receive financial support during and after divorce. Our team helps our clients fight for these payments to allow them to finish school and advance their careers or defend against a large, long-term alimony order.
How Much Is a Professional Degree Worth?
When one partner holds a professional degree, you must consider several things before agreeing to property division, asset splits, and alimony provisions. Our team assesses the degree’s value and any related debt, protecting our client’s rights. We may work with vocational experts, economists, and others to better understand the degree and professional career before negotiating with the spouse or taking the case to court.
Considerations when determining a degree’s value include:
- The average income in the field
- If the job required the degree
- Other factors affecting the individual’s employability
- Current market conditions related to the degree
- If they left the job market to care for children or the home
- Any debt related to education and training for the degree, such as student loans
Our attorneys can support our client’s case by either proving the potential value of the professional degree and resulting career or showing the reduced value of the degree because of the related circumstances, such as several years out of the job market or significant debt.
Navigating the Divorce Process in Huntsville
Our lawyers guide clients through the divorce process, helping them protect their rights and seek a positive outcome based on their goals and objectives. We are there for them from start to finish. This process includes:
Preparing and Filing the Petition
The party who files for divorce is the plaintiff. When we represent the plaintiff in a divorce case, we work closely with them to prepare the divorce complaint. It must include the grounds for divorce—often no fault in Alabama—and their preferences for property division, spousal support, custody, and other details. We ensure this document meets the court’s standards and file it on the client’s behalf. We also handle serving their spouse.
The spouse generally has 30 days to respond to the petition for divorce. Their response outlines their defense against the allegations of fault, if any, and their preferences for property division, custody, and other factors.
Negotiations, Agreements, and Mediation
Once we receive the defendant’s response, discovery begins. This process allows us to ask written (interrogatories) and verbal (depositions) questions under oath, gather financial statements and other documents, and take other steps to understand the value of the professional degree.
Once we have the necessary evidence, we begin negotiations with the spouse to reach agreements related to property distribution, alimony, and child custody. Mediation may occur and often helps couples settle.
Trial or Court Approval
If the spouses agree on all details, we submit the agreements to the court, and the judge reviews them. If approved, the court issues a decree. If there are no agreements, the contested items will go to trial, and the judge determines the outcome. The court issues an order along with the decree.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Alabama Divorce for Professionals
We included some of the most common questions our clients have below. These answers are general because many depend on the facts of the case. Discuss your unique circumstances with a team member from our Huntsville office to learn more.
What Do We Have to Agree On or Go to Trial in a Divorce?
You will need to make several agreements with your spouse to avoid having the judge hear your arguments and issue court orders.
- Property division, including all assets and debts
- Legal and physical child custody and visitation
- Child support based on the state’s guidelines
If you do not agree on these topics before you file, during negotiations, or through mediation, the judge will hear each side’s evidence and preferences in court. The judge generally only hears arguments about contested topics—and the divorce itself if one of the spouses filed on fault-based grounds.
What Reasons Can I Use to Get a Divorce in Alabama?
Alabama provides paths for no-fault or fault grounds in divorce. Most individuals use no-fault grounds to seek a divorce in Huntsville. Our attorneys can discuss the pros and cons of each with you during your no-obligation evaluation.
Alabama law provides two reasons for a no-fault divorce:
- Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage
You could file on several fault-based grounds as well. Most fault-based divorces focus on adultery, severe and problematic alcohol or drug use, abandonment, or abuse. We can help you identify the potential grounds for your divorce and develop a strong case to support your petition.
How Long Will it Take to Get a Divorce?
How long your divorce takes depends on many factors. An uncontested divorce could take as little as a month. Under Alabama law, you must wait at least 30 days for the state’s mandatory cooling-off period. The judge will not issue a divorce decree before this date.
Most cases take longer, though. Without agreements in place, you may need several months or more to negotiate, mediate, or otherwise reach compromises about property division, spousal support, child custody, and other topics. If your case goes to trial, it will likely take even longer.
How Can I Protect My Business in a Divorce?
Working with an attorney familiar with divorce for professionals can offer one of the best ways to protect your investment of time and money in your business. You could show your business constitutes separate, non-marital property if you owned it before marriage.
If not, you could trade off other assets and ensure you receive your business in full. The strategy depends greatly on the circumstances. Our team can evaluate your case with you to create a plan.
Will I Have to Pay Alimony?
Spouses do not often receive long-term alimony in Alabama. You likely will not need to pay your spouse a monthly sum for the rest of your life. Instead, Alabama usually orders temporary or interim spousal support. This schedule allows the spouse who has not worked or needs to finish a degree to complete their education, get a job, or establish a home.
How Do I Start a Huntsville Divorce Case?
When you are ready to begin your Huntsville divorce, our attorney can prepare and file your petition to divorce in Madison or Limestone County. This petition outlines your grounds for divorce, how you want to divide property, if you want alimony, child custody arrangements, and other details of what you would like to happen because of the filing. We explain this process in detail and answer questions during consultations with our team.
Can I Handle My Own Divorce in Huntsville?
Divorce affects your emotional health, financial stability, physical living conditions, and your children’s everyday life. You do not want to leave the outcome to chance, especially if your spouse hires an attorney. Working with a law firm helps ensure your rights remain protected and everyone involved hears your voice.
Do I Have to Go to Trial to Get a Divorce?
Most divorce cases do not go to trial. The spouses reach agreements beforehand, and the judge reviews and approves them as the last step in getting a divorce decree. When divorces go to trial, the judge decides on the contested elements and issues court orders. Working with our team ensures you have someone guiding you through this process from start to finish.
Work With a Huntsville Divorce for Professionals Lawyer on Our Team
A divorce for professionals attorney from Charlotte Christian Law can evaluate your case, answer your questions, and help you understand your options. Our team provides no-obligation consultations for those concerned about how a professional degree and career will affect property division and other aspects of their divorce.
Charlotte Christian Law Huntsville Office Location:1500 Perimeter Parkway #275
Huntsville, AL 35806