Besides custody and visitation rights, probably the next most important issue facing a couple during a divorce is dividing the marital property.
A lot of property accumulates during the span of the marriage and deciding who gets what as well as the amount one parent must pay the other in child support are extremely important issues during a divorce.
Sometimes it can be difficult to fairly divide because the couple together invested much of their time, energy, and finances into certain property.
One thing you may not have considered is that ownership shares in a business your spouse owns may also be considered property. Though it isn’t something tangible like a car or a house, ownership interests in business can be very valuable.
In the case of Whaley v. Whaley, the Court of Civil Appeals reversed the trial court’s judgment which awarded a wife a portion of her husband’s ownership interests in a company he partly owned. The reason the trial court’s decision was reversed is because a clause in the company’s operating agreement did not allow shares to be transferred unless all owners of the company agreed to the transfer.
In this divorce, the co-owner of the company did not agree to the transfer, nor was he named as a party to the divorce. Therefore, without the consent of all the parties, the trial court was not authorized to award that property to the wife.
A second important issue this case illustrates that happens to come up regularly divorce proceedings is calculating the income potential of each party. Determining the monthly income for the parents is important as it helps decide the amount of child support owed to the custodial parent. Oftentimes, a mother or father has stopped working in order to care for young children and when they return to the work force, they find their earning potential is lower than expected.
In Whaley, the mother quit working after becoming pregnant with her first child. When she attempted to return to the same line of work she’d been in, she found she could only be hired if she first passed a licensing exam. Because she had to first pass an exam, the trial court gave her a lower monthly income not based on her earning potential.
Remember, even though this award was initially based on a lower number, the husband retains the right to change the child support amount if and when the wife passes the exam and begins making more money.
The issues of property division and calculation of child support are crucial aspects of your case. Hiring an attorney who knows how to evaluate the marital property owed you and fight for the monthly support you deserve could make a huge difference in your daily life after divorce.
Call Birmingham Divorce Attorney, Joseph A. Ingram at Ingram Law at (205) 656-0044.