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Divorce property considerations: retirement, other savings

In Georgia as elsewhere, the focus for divorcing spouses -- especially older spouses -- is often upon money.

Put another way: For obvious reasons, a central consideration in many divorce negotiations is upon identifying all asset sources in a marriage, properly valuing them and then allocating them between the divorcing parties in the manner provided by governing law.

Georgia law mandates an equitable distribution of property, provided that assets under consideration are deemed marital as opposed to separate property. That distinction turns on whether the assets were accumulated prior to or during a marriage. A proven Georgia divorce attorney with experience handling property division matters can help ensure accurate asset identification, valuation and distribution.

As a recent New York Times article notes, retirement assets can be of central importance in a divorce, with many separating couples not fully understanding how they are legally classified or susceptible of division in a divorce decree.

Again, a family law attorney well versed in property distribution considerations can help a client fully appreciate how retirement plans and other sheltered assets will be judicially construed in a marital dissolution.

Candidly, there is often a lot to be considered, with the first step being an accurate inventory of what accounts exist. In many marriages, one spouse might have one or more pensions that will be legally deemed as marital property and subject to division. Additionally, many people of course have defined-contribution plans such as 401(k) vehicles, which are also immediately important in a divorce. Stock options and other accounts might also come into play.

Whatever side of the negotiating table you are on, getting equitable treatment is obviously a core concern. As one commentator in the Times article notes, that objective can be promoted by “having a really good attorney and fighting for your fair share.”

Source: The New York Times, "Retirement plans thrown into disarray by a divorce," Constance Gustke, June 27, 2014

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