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Understanding Equitable Distribution In A Georgia Divorce

In Georgia, marital property is divided through equitable distribution and this can be influenced by several factors.

Divorce for people living in Atlanta often happens without a lot of preparation. In many cases, spouses make decisions regarding the division of assets without a clear understanding of what they may be entitled to. Some spouses often believe their soon-to-be ex when that person tells them they don't have any claim on a retirement plan or on a work bonus.

What is marital property?

Marital property is considered property that spouses have acquired during the marriage. This may include real estate, art works, cars, stocks, retirement plans, investments and savings accounts. There are exceptions to this rule however. If a spouse receives an inheritance from a deceased relative, that inheritance may not be considered marital property as long as it has been placed in a separate account. Gifts and personal injury compensation payments are also usually exempt.

It is important for spouses to be aware that separate property acquired before the marriage may become marital property. One example of this is a house where the other spouse's name was added to the deed after the wedding.

How is marital property divided?

According to the Georgia Bar, marital property is divided using an equitable distribution method. Most people might be inclined to think this means an equal sharing but a court can decide to award all, some or none of the property to a spouse. In the event that a couple cannot come to an agreement on how to divide property, it will fall to a jury or a judge to decide what is fair for each party.

The Huffington Post points out that this division may be influenced by several factors such as the following:

  • Ability of spouses to support themselves
  • Health of each spouse
  • Length of the marriage
  • Age of each spouse
  • The awarding of child support or alimony

These rules are loose ones and in Georgia, there is no set standard or formula used by the court. This means one judge may choose to award more marital property to a wife who has stayed at home to raise the children while another judge could choose to do the opposite.

What does the judge need to see?

In order for people to protect their interests and claims on marital property, they should make sure that the judge or jury has a full picture of all marital property and relating factors. This may require people to put together a full inventory of all assets, including interests from investments, the amount of retirement saved during the marriage, seasoned sports tickets, company bonuses, travel rewards and anything else of monetary value.

An accurate valuation should then be conducted on each property to ensure that spouses receive a fair division. Once that is done, people should write out what their monetary, emotional, mental and physical needs are, how they have contributed to the success of their spouse and anything else of importance. Compiling this information can be complicated. Therefore, people in Atlanta may want to discuss their situation with an attorney.

Speak to an experienced family law lawyer today. Contact The Law Office of Ashley McCartney, LLC, by calling 404-692-6263.

Keywords: divorce, property, equitable, distribution

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The Law Office of Ashley McCartney, LLC, is located in Atlanta, Georgia, and serves the communities of Midtown, Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Marietta, Smyrna, Mableton, North Atlanta, Roswell, Alpharetta, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Chamblee, Tucker, Decatur, Conyers and Vinings, as well as throughout Fulton County, Cobb County, DeKalb County, Cherokee County, Clayton County and Rockdale County.
 

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