Marital property division is one of the most important issues to be settled in a divorce case. It is one of the first aspects divorcing spouses want to cover when consulting a divorce lawyer in Albany. It is all for the right reasons, as Georgia law on marital property division is not that easy to understand and apply.
Georgia Law on Marital Property Division through the Eyes of a Divorce Attorney in Albany, GA
Georgia marital property division law is built on the principle of equitable distribution. It foresees that all the property acquired during the marriage be divided between the spouses. The first step to marital property division is identifying and categorizing all property.
There are two main types of property:
- Non-Marital Property: this category includes property that was acquired before the marriage, that either of the spouses receives as a gift or inheritance, or that the spouses agree to classify as non-marital.
- Marital Property: any property acquired during the marriage, no matter the name in which it was acquired. The category includes gifts between the spouses, pensions and business interests, etc.
In turn, marital property can be of two types: real property (real estate) and personal property (cars, bank accounts, bonds, securities, shares, jewelry, art, pets, etc.).
When the parties cannot agree on what property qualifies as marital, the court will make the decision. Since property cannot be physically divided, the curt will also rule who gets to keep the property and who should receive the corresponding monetary award. In case of property acquired party with marital and partly with non-marital funds, the court determines the property percentage subject to division.
In some cases, the court may decide in favor of selling property to ease division. When determining what property or monetary award each party should receive, the court will take several factors into account. We will review the most important ones below.
Factors Georgia Courts Take into Account When Ruling on Marital Property Division
Monetary and non-monetary contributions of the parties to the family’s well-being
The court will look at how much money each spouse brought into the marriage and how they contributed to the acquiring of the marital property. They will also consider how much time and effort each party contributed to the marriage and the family’s well being. A housewife who devoted all her time and energy to homemaking and child-raising can have similar or more rights than a working spouse.
The income-generating potential of the spouses’ non-marital property
When dividing marital property, courts assess the income-generating potential of the spouses’ non-marital property.
The financial situation of the spouses at the time of the divorce
The spouses’ employment status and potential to support themselves will influence the decision of the court as well.
The reasons why the spouses became estranged and the marriage broke apart
Circumstances like adultery, domestic violence, etc., can heavily influence marital property distribution.
Marriage duration and economic interdependency
It is one thing to divide marital property between recently married spouses and another thing to rule in a long marriage in which the spouses were interdependent.
The spouses’ age and health condition
When dividing marital property, the court will try to ensure that both spouses have the means to support themselves and benefit from adequate treatment and care. This is especially true in long-term marriages.
The reason why and the manner in which marital property was obtained
If one spouse made bigger efforts or used non-marital funds to acquire marital property, the court will likely consider and reward their efforts.
Other court decisions regarding alimony, child custody, family home, etc.
When there are children involved, the court will favor their remaining in the family home and even prohibit the selling of the property until the children turn 18. Alimony payments and the spouses’ ability to maintain and manage certain property may influence court decisions as well.
The best way to assess how marital property may be divided is to consult a divorce lawyer in Albany, GA. The latter will help you make an inventory of all property, identify marital and non-marital property, and even come up with an equitable division proposal for your spouse.
Schedule a FREE Consultation with One of the Best Divorce Attorneys in Albany, GA, Now!
At Joe Durham Jr. P.C., we know how stressful divorces in general and marital property division in particular can be. We have made it our mission to help spouses reach convenient agreements and defend their interests. You too can benefit from our advice and support, without even paying. Call and schedule a free consultation with our divorce attorney in Albany today!