UNDERSTANDING EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF ASSETS DURING A DIVORCE
When getting a divorce, most people really don’t know what to expect in terms of what assets each party can expect to receive. Georgia is an equitable distribution state, which simply means that when the courts are involved in the process, their goal is to split all assets in such a way that positions each party in the best possible way to begin their life apart. This doesn’t necessarily mean that each party will get exactly 50% of all the assets, and in fact, that almost never happens.
When determining equitable distribution, the judge will look at a number of factors, including:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The income of each party
- Custody arrangements of children (courts will try to minimize the impact on children)
- Income opportunities of each party
- The contribution made by each party during the marriage
- Intentional Waste or dissipation of assets by one party prior to the divorce
- Any other factors the judge deems important
MARITAL VS NON-MARITAL ASSETS
Another thing to keep in mind is that the equitable distribution of assets will only apply directly to marital assets. These are assets that were acquired during the marriage, or brought into the marriage together. If one party owned a cottage prior to meeting the other, for example, the original party will almost always retain ownership. Inheritance and gifts are also considered non-marital assets and will remain with the party who received them.
Non-marital assets won’t typically be assigned to the other spouse, but they can influence what happens to certain marital assets. If one of the parties had a home prior to the marriage, which they kept. And then as a couple they purchased another home as marital property, the second home will almost certainly go to the spouse so that each party has a place to live.
Determining equitable distribution of assets can be extremely contentious and difficult. There are many factors that must be considered, and having an experienced family law attorney on your side is the best way to ensure you get fair and just results. Contact us to talk about all your options, and see what you should be doing now to position yourself properly for your divorce and the division of assets.