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The Peculiarities Of Georgia Asset Division


Georgia, like most states in the U.S., follows the equitable distribution system of property division during a divorce. Many people confuse “equitable” with “equal,” however, and are thus confused when they do not receive exactly the same equal share of marital property as their soon-to-be ex-spouse. When dividing marital property in Georgia, the split may be equal, but equitable (fair) is more likely, especially since the courts have much wider latitude than they do in other states.

Unbridled Latitude To Choose

It is not at all uncommon for spouses to actually work out agreements regarding their asset division, especially if they have few between them. If spouses are able to negotiate an agreement of this type, it will generally be accepted by Georgia courts – in other states such agreements are sometimes invalidated due to unconscionability (that is, if an agreement shocks the conscience of the public), but Georgia courts rarely do this, figuring that people who make their own agreements understand what they are agreeing to.

However, very often, spouses do not agree. In this instance, couples do have to submit to the courts’ jurisdiction in order to have issues like asset division decided. However, unlike many other states, divorces in Georgia are decided not by statute, but by individual court cases. Statutory authority exists to authorize execution of the verdicts rendered, but only rough regulations surrounding the specific nature of divorce proceedings. This level of discretion granted to the courts can be a shock to some, especially those who might not have married in Georgia in the first place.

Unusual Factors Taken Into Account

Another proverbial wrench that is often thrown into the works of a Georgia asset distribution is that judges are permitted to take into account factors that would likely be ruled irrelevant or inadmissible in other states. Examples include evidence of marital misconduct such as adultery, dissipation, and anything else that might waste marital assets, the behavior of each spouse during the divorce proceedings, and the extent of each spouse’s separate property. While there is a plausible explanation for all these factors’ inclusion, it can sometimes be confusing to one or both spouses.

Another unusual point about a Georgia asset distribution is that the law explicitly forbids any transfer of property after the commencement of divorce proceedings, unless paying a bona fide pre-existing debt. This is not an unusual move per se in that many other states have similar provisions, but it is unusual that real property is excepted from this – the title to any real property is not affected by proceedings unless a proper lis pendens (formal notice) is filed. Most other states that have such restrictions lump real property in with all other assets. Either way, this rule is designed to cut down on waste and help ensure that all assets go to one spouse or the other, in the most equitable manner.

Call An Atlanta Divorce Attorney For Help

In many cases, asset distribution in a Georgia divorce is much the same as in any other state, but it still pays to be aware of the differences. The Atlanta divorce lawyers at Buckhead Family Law are happy to sit down with you and try to answer your questions about what can be a complex and drawn-out process. Call us today at 404-600-1403 to set up an appointment.

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