Birmingham Divorce Settlement Agreements

If you’re ready to hire a family attorney, there are many ways of getting in touch:

When you negotiate a divorce settlement, it is absolutely essential that you have a full and accurate view of your marital finances and that understand your legal rights and options. If you do not have a Birmingham divorce attorney and lack accurate legal information, your spouse could have the upper hand. You may walk away with less than you deserve, putting your and your children’s financial future in jeopardy.

Our family law attorneys are committed to representing individuals during all types of divorces, whether the situation is amicable or contentious. We will fight for what is fair for you and your children, whether we can do so through settlement negotiations, mediation, or in court. To discuss how we can help you obtain an equitable divorce settlement agreement, contact us online or call (205) 255-1155.

How a Divorce Attorney Can Help With a Settlement Agreement

Our Birmingham divorce lawyers are here to explain Alabama’s equitable distribution law, so that you understand you may have a right to more or less than 50/50. We will review with you all the factors the court will consider if it decides various issues in your divorce, including the length of your marriage, whether or your spouse has been the breadwinner, whether you or your spouse gave up educational and career opportunities for the other, whether you or your spouse stayed home to raise the children, marital misconduct, whether an alimony award is appropriate, and you or your spouse’s ability to pay alimony.

We can then discuss with you the potential advantages of negotiating a divorce settlement with your spouse instead of placing that power in the judge’s hands. By negotiating your own settlement with the help of your attorneys or through mediation, you and your spouse can come to a fair resolution that is most appropriate for your situation and priorities.

Things to Ask for in a Divorce Settlement

If you are going through a divorce and you and your spouse are negotiating an Alabama divorce settlement together, there are many issues to consider. Alabama is an equitable distribution estate, which means you do not need to focus on going 50/50. You should discuss with your attorney what amount of the marital estate that would be fair and just for you to receive. Depending on the circumstances, you may feel half is fair, or you may feel you are entitled to a greater portion.

When negotiating a divorce settlement, consider asking for:

  • Specific assets you wish to keep: There may be specific assets you wish to keep even though they are technically shared property, such as the family home, certain vehicles, art, and antiques. If you wish to keep certain items, or to get them from your spouse who currently has possession, you can negotiate this in the property settlement agreement.
  • A lump sum property settlement: In many divorces, some property is sold and the proceeds divided, or one person retrains ownership of certain assets. If there is valuable property your spouse wishes to keep, be sure to ask for your fair share of the value of that property. Also, if your spouse earns significantly more than you or separately owns more property than you, then you may require a larger property settlement for you to get on your feet after the divorce. Remember, Alabama is not a community property state and does not assume a 50/50 split.
  • Dividing joint debt: You may focus on separating assets, but the flip side of the coin is share debt, such as the mortgage, auto loans, personal loans, student loan debt, medical debt, and credit card balances. If you and your spouse have joint debt, you must determine who will continue to be responsible for paying off that debt. Again, because Alabama is an equitable distribution state, you do not have to split debt 50/50. For example, if your spouse had an unhealthy shopping habit and accrued significant credit card debt, you can ask for the spouse to take full responsibility for this debt and to transfer it to a card in only their name.
  • Retirement investments: A common mistake people make during a divorce is not focusing enough on retirement. Often, a majority of a couple’s retirement saving is in one spouse’s name. You need to work with your attorney to obtain your fair share of the retirement investments, which may require a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO).
  • Remaining a beneficiary on life insurance: If you and your spouse have children, then it is essential you both consider what happens in the event that one of you passes away. When you are married, you may each have a life insurance policy that names the other spouse as the beneficiary. It can be a good idea to keep this arrangement after a divorce. If your spouse were to pass away, the proceeds for the life insurance policy would enable you to continue caring for your family with less financial hardship.
  • Alimony: If your spouse earns significantly more than you, and you and your children are used to a certain lifestyle, then it may be necessary to ask for an alimony settlement agreement. Marital misconduct that took place during the marriage and prior to your separation may also be considered in asking for alimony payments. A number of factors can influence how much alimony is appropriate and for how long. However, you and your spouse are free to agree to an amount and term of alimony. Or, you and your spouse can agree to lump sum alimony, which means you receive one sizeable payment as spousal support.
  • Child custody and visitation: A divorce settlement encompasses many financial issues. However, it is not limited to property distribution and alimony. You and your spouse can also work out a child custody arrangement together. You can decide who will have a majority of custody or if you will divide the children’s time as evenly as possible. If one parent receives visitation, you can decide when. If your marital settlement agreement includes issues related to the children, it should be as comprehensive as possible so that you do not quickly find yourselves arguing over holidays, summer vacations, and extracurricular expenses.
  • Child support: When children are involved in a divorce, child support is an essential issue to tackle. Once you have determined your parenting plan, you and your spouse should decide which parent will pay support to the other and how much. You may also decide who will pay for certain expenses, such as extracurricular sports, music, and other activities, necessary special education and tutors, braces, and more. Child support is not simply for the necessities in Alabama. It is intended to ensure both parents support the children as they would if they all lived together as a family, which means your children should benefit from the same level of lifestyle each parent can maintain. If you or the other parent make a significant amount of money, the recipient parent can ask for child support payments greater than Alabama’s child support guidelines.

Alabama Separation Agreements

There are actually two times in which you and your spouse may negotiate a settlement in the midst of a divorce: when you and your spouse separate and when you and your spouse legally divorce.

If you or your spouse move out of the family home, you may no longer be able or want to handle your finances as you did before. During the separation is when you begin to divide your individual assets and keep your salaries and other funds to yourselves. This is typically when you begin to close joint accounts. This necessitates, then, an agreement on how to handle shared expenses, such as the mortgage, utilities, car payments, groceries for your children, school fees, activity fees, your children’s medical expenses, and more.

Call an Alabama Divorce Lawyer at Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC

If you and your spouse are separating or divorcing, the best thing you can do for yourself is to obtain accurate legal information and advice relevant to your circumstances.  The best way to ensure you have all of the information, advice, and guidance you need is to contact a divorce attorney in Birmingham, AL.

At Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC, we understand how complicated divorces can be. We want to help you get through this challenging experience as efficiently as possible so that you can enjoy a healthier and happier future. We understand you may be on a budget, which is why we offer as many services as we can on a flat fee. Do not avoid speaking with an attorney over worries about money. Once we get to know you and your situation, we can advise you on the best means of obtaining a divorce within your budget.

To speak with a divorce lawyer, call us at (205) 255-1155 or contact us online.

Types of Divorce Cases We Handle

Fixed Fee Offering