Professional Degrees in a Divorce in Alabama

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Professional Degrees in a Divorce

Individuals who are involved in divorce and have professional degrees often wonder about the value that a court of law will assign to these degrees. The significance of the degree differs based upon whether a court is deciding issues like property division, alimony, or child support.

When faced with a divorce, individuals with a professional degree often turn to the expertise of a seasoned divorce attorney who is well versed in the various issues that arise during a divorce. Other times, individuals rely on the services of an experienced divorce attorney because the spouse sacrificed so that the other spouse could obtain a professional degree.

The Worth Of A Professional Degree

Courts often have a difficult time determining how to value a degree, which would require determining what the market would contain for the individual with the degree. In order to determine the worth of a degree, courts must also decide what the difference is between what a person would earn without the degree versus what the person earned with the degree.

To decide the worth of a degree, courts in Alabama often compare current occupations, vocational skills, employability, and future opportunities to earn income and acquire property. Special note should be made that while a professional degree is not tangible property that can be easily divided, professional practices or other types of business involvement are subject to a more precise division.

The Contributions Of A Spouse

Often the spouse who does not hold the professional degree has significantly supported the other spouse in obtaining the degree. As an equitable distribution state, Alabama considers the sacrifices a spouse made towards a degree when the degree was obtained during the course of a marriage.

Some of the various ways that the state of Alabama considers the worth of professional degrees when awarding property includes: awarding a spouse without the degree a higher percentage of marital property or awarding a higher amount of spousal maintenance to the spouse without the degree.

Enhanced earning capacity as a result of a professional degree creates a greater ability in one spouse to provide higher support payments. In other situations, the court might award the spouse with the degree a higher percentage of marital debt.

Debt Due To A Professional Degree

A debt incurred in obtaining a professional degree might be shared by both spouses. If a degree is not considered marital property, the debt in obtaining that degree will also likely be considered nonmarital property. As a result of this debt, married couples should be aware of the potential liabilities that can also result from obtaining a professional degree.

How An Experienced Divorce Attorney Can Help

Understanding the value of a professional degree is an essential part of crafting a strong divorce strategy. A knowledgeable attorney knows how to respond to these types of issues in the best possible manner so that a divorce can resolve in the best possible manner.

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