Division of Property in a Georgia Divorce Action
When a marriage is ending, there are many decisions that must be made by the parties or a judge, if the spouses cannot agree. The final decisions often involve which party is going to take what property, including real and personal property. In a situation where there are few assets or the parties are able to resolve the distribution without rancor, it is fairly easy to divvy up the items and walk away from the marriage. However, in many cases, there are disputes over who brought what into the marriage and who was going to get what of the property that was accumulated during the marriage. It is important to understand the basic principles that apply to these circumstances.
For many couples, it is relatively simple to decide which spouse will take certain property, especially if the couple does not own a home. However, there are times when the couple will not be able to decide how to allocate the marital property, which may include:
• A residence;
• Vacations homes or rental properties;
• Personal vehicles;
• Furniture, artwork, and jewelry;
• Bank accounts;
• Investment portfolios; and
• Retirement accounts.
Georgia is an equitable distribution state, as compared to community property, which means that there will be a balanced review of many different factors and a determination of what is fair in the division of assets, as well as a division of marital debts and liabilities. It does not mean that each person will receive an equal share if a judge has to decide on the division of property. Of course, the court only steps into the fray if the couple cannot decide how to divide the property on their own. If the court is going to evaluate what is fair, the judge will consider the following:
• The standard of living that the parties enjoyed during the marriage;
• The educational background and earning capacity of each spouse;
• The career of each spouse at the time of the divorce and the income that each brig into the household;
• The health and age of each party;
• The assets and debts of the couple;
• The economic needs of each spouse;
• Which parent provides care for any minor children;
• The manner in which each spouse acquired assets during the marriage or worked to increase the value of the assets during the marriage; and
• Whether one party acted to decrease the value of the marital assets or engaged in behavior that accumulated debts and liabilities for the couple in a disproportionate way.
Separate or Premarital Property
There are assets that are not subject to division, which include property that was acquired by each spouse prior to the marriage, items that were gifted to or inherited by only one spouse, property that was acquired during the marriage through the use of premarital property, and assets that were strictly treated as separate in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Many times, there is a commingling of assets during a marriage that will make it difficult to determine whether property is separate or not.
Charlton & Glover Work to Get Their Clients the Right Results
In order to obtain a final Decree of Divorce, it is necessary to resolve all issues, including the equitable division of marital property. While this may lead to some disagreements, it often is possible to resolve these matters without court intervention. However, if the other party is not willing to be reasonable, the skilled divorce attorneys at Charlton & Glover are prepared to go to court to get the results our clients deserve. If you are contemplating divorce in the Roswell or Alpharetta area, contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Charlton & Glover. Call us at (770) 993-1005 to schedule a free initial consultation.