Alabama is an equitable distribution state rather than a community property state, according to LegalZoom. When divorcing in Alabama, if the divorcing couple cannot agree upon division of property, assets, and debts, then the court divides them "equitably," or fairly, rather than 50-50 as in a community property state.
There are 10 community property states and one territory: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Puerto Rico, LegalZoom explains. The other states are equitable property states.
The advantage of equitable property division over community property division is the leeway the court has in dividing property, according to DivorceInfo. Misconduct by one party, such as abuse of a spouse, and the length of the marriage are taken into account. The court can compel one party to sell or give separate property (not a marital asset) to the other party. In a community property state, however, all the property and assets acquired during the marriage and debts are split evenly, while each spouse keeps his or her separate property, without regard to spousal conduct or other concerns.