Georgia: Equitable asset division in high-asset divorce

As this blog has noted in prior select posts, Georgia is a so-called “equitable property distribution” state rather than a community property state.

The central distinction entailed in that is significant and can have a material effect in any divorce proceeding where property division of significant assets is concerned.

Community property generally holds that, unless indicated otherwise through a prenuptial agreement or other legal proof, the property that exists during a couple’s marriage — along with any increase in its value — is owned equally and will be split 50/50 in a marital dissolution.

That is far from being the automatic outcome in a Georgia divorce, where, pursuant to the state’s equitable property division scheme, a judge will weigh in with ample discretion to determine what is a fair division during divorce.

That can embrace many factors. Those centrally include scrutiny of these key considerations: length of the marriage; separate assets deemed to be owned individually by the spouses; the earning potential and financial needs of each spouse following divorce (this might bring in the concept of alimony); the existence of a business; and the conduct of the parties during divorce (e.g., a finding that one of the spouses tried to commit fraud by hiding or undervaluing assets).

A proven Georgia divorce attorney with a deep well of experience in property valuation and the division of wealth in high-asset divorces can be of special utility to a divorcing party in regard to any of the above-cited topics.

That is especially true in cases where a business is owned by one spouse or both the husband and wife, or where a spouse has a professional degree and a business practice, such as is the case with a physician.

In that scenario, there will generally be interplay among a number of complex factors weighing in on property division and equitable distribution.

An experienced property division attorney can help ensure that assets are properly identified, valuated and distributed in the divorce process, especially where significant assets are involved.

Source: Medscape News Today, “How divorce could affect your medical practice,” Dennis G. Murray, July 17, 2013

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