In the State of Alabama, a married couple that divorces and requires a division of their property by a Court’s Order and Decree, will do so by Equitable Division. Equitable Division means that marital property and debts must be divided fairly between both spouses.
An “Equitable Division” of marital property and debts can be accomplished by:
- A written agreement of the divorcing parties,
- Mediation of the parties, either by voluntary decision or Court Order,
- Presenting a case to a Domestic Relations Court and Judge for final decision,
- Hiring an attorney as a neutral third-party negotiator
In the State of Alabama, property owned by one or both parties in a marriage is considered to either be marital property or separate property. The division of this property is often one of the main focuses of an Alabama Divorce Case. Property acquired by a divorcing party before the marriage is considered the sole property of the owner, and may not be divided unless that property has been used for benefit of both parties during their marriage. The exception to the rule is typically only applied when a marriage has lasted for ten years or more. Every case is different and your potential case would benefit from an experienced Alabama Attorney that can help with the issues that you may face.Child Custody Arrangements
Another major facet of an Alabama Divorce is the day to day custodial care of minor children. Many divorces deal with the parenting of minor children where and how the children of the divorcing parties will live. Custody of minor children can be fully vested with one party or jointly vested between the parties. The custody arrangement means “Which party makes the decisions for the minor child?” Also, regardless of custodial arrangements, one parent or the other will always be the “custodial parent.” These factors are complicated and it is always advisable that a person considering divorce hire an experienced Divorce Attorney like Byron Mark Richardson.
Courts will always appreciate a married couple that can work together to agree upon a custody arrangement for the parties minor children. If the divorcing parents are able to agree upon child custody arrangements in a written agreement, even if the agreement does not follow the “standard agreement” that many divorcing couples use, such agreements will usually be ratified and honored by the court. An experienced child custody lawyer like Byron Mark Richardson will help divorcing parties through the process and offer solutions to the real life problems.
If divorcing parties cannot agree on custody or visitation, a decision must be rendered by a Domestic Relations Judge. Family courts in Alabama prioritize these decisions according to the perceived best interests of the child.
Courts Will Consider These Factors:
- The relationship of the parties with their children,
- History of abusive behavior by a divorcing party towards a child,
- The location of residence for a divorcing party
- A party’s demonstrated willingness to parent and work for the betterment of the child.
- With which parent the child wishes to live.
For situations where one party-parent is awarded physical custody in a divorce decree and order, the other party-parent is usually awarded rights of unsupervised visitation. Alabama law has a standard visitation schedule to help families establish a court-sanctioned visitation routine. Typically, the non-custodial parent gets visitation of every Wednesday evening and every-other weekend from Friday at 6pm to Sunday at 6pm with their child. The non-custodial parent also gets extended visitation with the child during summer vacation and alternating holidays. The Holiday Season is often a two week vacation for many school systems. During that time, standard visitation typically calls for the parents to share that two week period with visitation alternating between the first and second week, on alternating years. Thus, a parent will get to spend the week before Christmas Day on even years, and the week after Christmas Day in odd years.
Agreements and final orders are always a “floor” of minimum rights for a party. Courts expect that parties will be flexible and find what works for them.” An experienced attorney will help counsel parties beyond petty differences and find a level of cooperation for the betterment of all involved.