Retirement Plans and Divorce in Alabama
When a couple divorced in Alabama prior to 1993, their retirement accounts or benefits were not divisible as part of a property settlement. In January 1996, statutory provisions became effective by amendments to §30-2-51, Code of Alabama (1975) by adding subparagraphs (b) and (c) which addressed retirement plans and benefits in a divorce.
Alabama law provides certain standards that must be followed by a trial judge in deciding whether the retirement benefits should be divided and if so, how much is an appropriate alimony award. Alabama Code § 30-2-51(b)(1975) states:
(b) The judge, at his or her discretion, may include in the estate of either spouse the present value of any future or current retirement benefits, that a spouse may have a vested interest in or may be receiving on the date the action for divorce is filed, provided that the following conditions are met:
(1) The parties have been married for a period of 10 years during which the retirement was being accumulated.
(2) The court shall not include in the estate the value of any retirement benefits acquired prior to the marriage including any interest or appreciation of the benefits.
(3) The total amount of the retirement benefits payable to the non-covered spouse shall not exceed 50 percent of the retirement benefits that may be considered by the court.
If you have any concerns over receiving a fair division of these assets in your divorce, contact an experienced Huntsville or Decatur divorce attorney. It is important to have an attorney who understands the financial issues of property division and how to fairly represent your interests in negotiations.Call Ferguson & Ferguson at 256-534-3435 or 256-350-7200.