Equitable Distribution

In a Georgia divorce, most of assets and debts of both parties are subject to equitable division.  An equitable division is not necessarily a 50/50 split.  It is a division which is equitable based upon the conduct and circumstances of the parties.

Married Georgians can hold property in their own name.  However, if a divorce occurs, most property owned by either party is subject to equitable division.  There are two major exceptions.  Property acquired before a marriage, if kept distinct from other accounts, may remain separate and would not be subject to equitable distribution.  Similarly, gifts and inheritances received during a marriage, as well as interests in family trusts, are not generally subject to equitable distribution unless they are mingled with marital property.

Once a court determines what property is subject to equitable distribution, it will look to the following factors in dividing it:

  • Income and property of each spouse when they married and when they filed for divorce.
  • Length of the marriage.
  • Age and health of each spouse.
  • Pension, health insurance, and inheritance rights a spouse will lose due to the divorce.
  • Tax consequences to each spouse.
  • Future financial circumstances of each spouse.
  • If children are involved, the need of the custodial parent to live in the family home.
  • Other factors the court might see as proper to consider in the equitable division process.

Equitable distribution is an open-ended inquiry in which their is no “right” answer.  Effective advocacy is rarely more important than in dividing marital property.  Whether you receive 35% or 65% of the combined assets could depend upon the skill and preparation of your attorney.

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