Equitable Division of Marital Assets in Georgia
Protect Your Rights With Our Sandy Springs Divorce Lawyer
As you can imagine, one of the most difficult and emotionally charged issues in a divorce is the equitable division of property, assets, debts, and obligations. If you are the spouse seeking a divorce, you want to make sure that you receive your fair share of marital property. If you are on the receiving end of a divorce complaint, you want to protect your assets to the fullest extent possible. Sometimes accomplishing these goals involves enforcing or challenging a prenuptial contract.
Understanding what constitutes marital property and how the court handles its equitable distribution is a fundamental part of preparing for your divorce case. It is in your best interests to enlist the representation of an experienced divorce attorney in Sandy Springs as soon as possible. Ms. Brenner has successfully represented family law clients in the Metro-Atlanta area for more than 30 years, and Brenner Law Group is prepared to provide the smart legal counsel you need.
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Equitable Division of Property
In Georgia, when people divorce, each spouse is entitled to an equitable share of all property and assets acquired during the marriage. Likewise, each spouse will also receive an equitable share of the debts and obligations of the marriage.
“Equitable division” does not necessarily mean equal division. Rather, it means “fair division”, as determined by the trier of fact (judge or jury) or by agreement of the parties.
Marital vs. Non-Marital Property
Property can be divided into two categories at the start: non-marital and marital property.
Non-marital property is any property acquired by one of the spouses before the marriage. Generally, this property remains the separate property of the spouse and is not subject to equitable division. Property that is inherited or received by gift during the marriage is also generally considered separate property.
Marital property is property or assets that were acquired by the parties during the marriage. In Georgia, it doesn’t matter whose name the property is in or how the property is titled. If it was acquired during the marriage (except by inheritance or gift), it is generally considered marital property – although there are some exceptions.
In Georgia, there is no fixed formula for determining the equitable division of property. Rather, the law gives the judge or jury the right to consider certain factors when deciding what is equitable, among other things:
- The source of funds used to acquire and maintain the marital property;
- The length of the marriage;
- The intent of the parties regarding the ownership of the property;
- The value of service contributed by each spouse to the marriage; and
- Whether there has been misconduct by one of the spouses. For example, in Georgia, when adultery is proven to be the procuring cause of the separation, the adulterous spouse is barred from receiving alimony but may still receive a portion of the assets of the marital estate.
Retirement, Pensions, Profit-Sharing and Deferred Compensation
Although these accounts may be held in the name of one spouse or the other, any contribution to the retirement or pension plan that was made or acquired during the marriage is marital property. Transfers in a divorce of part or all of these accounts from one spouse to another or to their children can be done without incurring the same penalties or tax consequences that would otherwise result from making withdrawals from these accounts.
This requires exacting findings by the judge in the Final Order and Decree of Divorce or the Separation Agreement, and the filing of a special order called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets?
If you want an equitable division of your assets, first you have to know what assets you have. When it turns out one spouse is hiding assets, there is no way to distribute them fairly. If you suspect that your spouse is not being truthful about the current assets within the marriage, there are things you can do to try to protect yourself.
You deserve to know about all the assets you share with your spouse. Our detailed team at Brenner Law Group, LLC can strategize with you and call in the proper experts to get to the bottom of the issue. We can also review prenuptial agreements, analyze your asset portfolio, and file QDROs on your behalf.
Get Brenner Law Group on Your Side!
Want to ensure that you receive or retain the assets you are entitled to during divorce? Contact Brenner Law Group today at (404) 418-4006 or e-mail us to schedule a consultation with Ms. Brenner today.