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Getting divorced? Property in Georgia is not divided 50/50

 

When parties decide to divorce, there are many issues that need to be resolved. Child custody matters and property division are typically at the top of the list.

However, for divorcing couples who own substantial assets, investments or retirement accounts, dividing property in the divorce is likely to be complex and, in many cases, contentious.

Some believe that property is simply divided down the line, with each party getting half of everything. But this is a misnomer; property division in Georgia is actually divided equitably.

 

Determining which property is subject to division in your divorce

Before getting into the details of how property is divided, it’s important first to discuss what property is actually subject to division.

In Georgia, only marital property will be part of the marital estate and divided between the parties. Martial property is defined as all money and assets acquired by either party during the length of the marriage.

Alternately, separate, or nonmarital property, is any money or assets acquired by one of the parties prior to the marriage. All nonmarital property is assigned to the owner and falls outside of the marital estate when a divorce occurs. Gifts, inheritances and family heirlooms are common examples.

These are basic premises. It is important to note that, like many areas of law, there are exceptions, limitations and exclusions to both types of property.

Understanding equitable distribution of property in a Georgia divorce

Once martial property is ascertained, the law will divide the party’s assets based on a principle known as equitable distribution. Instead of dividing property or money equally, it is divided “fairly.”

Georgia courts will consider several factors to determine how to fairly divide marital property. They include but are not limited to:

   · Each spouse’s current income, present financial status, and future earning capacity

   · Each spouse’s debts

   · Each spouse’s future needs (e.g. retirement capital)

   · Wrongful conduct by a spouse (e.g. squander or dissipation of assets)

In many cases, a family law court will determine the distribution of property. The court will utilize these factors and determine the distribution on a case-by-case basis. In other situations, couples are able to reach an amicable resolution through mediation or collaboration without going to court.

Either way, when it comes to your marital property, getting the assistance of a family law attorney to advocate for you is essential to protecting your interests in your divorce. 

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