Equitable division refers to the manner in which marital property gets distributed in a Georgia divorce. The parties can agree between themselves on how to divide the property, and the court will validate their agreement after reviewing and approving it. If the parties can’t agree, however, it will be left up to the court to decide how to divide the property. In these cases, the judge considers a number of factors to determine what kind of division will be fair (equitable) to both parties. The job of each party’s divorce lawyer is to put forward relevant facts and legal arguments to help the judge come to a fair conclusion that meets their client’s needs. Kresky Law excels in the equitable division of property in contested divorce matters, particularly in cases involving high-net-worth individuals or couples with complicated assets and financial schemes. Our firm provides knowledgeable advice and professional assistance in making sure assets (and debts) are properly characterized as marital or separate, accurately valued, and divided fairly.
Marital v. Separate Property
Generally speaking, separate property is property that was acquired before the marriage and brought into the marriage but maintained separately. If one spouse receives gifts or an inheritance during the marriage, that property is separate as well. All other property acquired during the marriage, regardless of who purchased it or how they titled it, is generally considered marital property subject to equitable division. Each party leaves the marriage with their separate property plus their share of the marital property (and debt) as determined by agreement or by the court.
This simplistic view of marital versus separate property can actually become quite complex. There are many exceptions to the general rules described above, and there are many ways that separate property can become marital property depending on how it is managed. Establishing which assets are marital and which are separate is a key component of the property division.
The value of any individual asset as well as the overall value of the marital estate is equally important to an equitable division of property. Attorney Caroline Kresky works with her legal team and other experts and professionals as needed to conduct property appraisals, asset tracing, business valuations, and other complex calculations, including apportioning retirement accounts, investments, or other assets that may include both marital and separate aspects. We not only help ensure you are disclosing assets accurately but also make sure your spouse is doing the same, even if they might be attempting to conceal assets or mask their true value to gain an edge in the property division.
Georgia courts are not required to split marital property 50/50 between the parties. Rather, they are expected to make an equitable division of the property. Many different factors can go into deciding what would be fair. Some of the factors considered by the court include:
- The standard of living that was established during the marriage
- How long the marriage existed
- Each spouse’s age and health
- The present income and financial needs of each party
- Each spouse’s education, vocational skills, and earning capacity
- Assets, debts and liabilities
- How child custody will be arranged
- The extent of contributions one party made to the other to acquire, improve or maintain marital property
- The extent of contributions either party made toward running the household
- Whether one party engaged in the dissipation of assets as defined under Georgia law
- How much one party’s fault or misconduct during the marriage led to its breakdown
At Kresky Law, we look at every factor the court looks at and make sure the judge has the best information and most relevant evidence to decide on an equitable division. Our firm is skilled and experienced in divorce cases involving wealthy individuals and complex financial situations. We take the time to understand our clients’ finances and needs and develop a strategy to reach their goals.
Contact Kresky Law Today
For help with the property division and other critical aspects of your Georgia divorce, call on Kresky Law in Atlanta for practical, strategic advice and effective representation.