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On equitable distribution, and what it means for Georgia divorcees

Property division can be a contentious issue in any divorce. When two spouses have to find a way to split up the value of a home, or a car, or prized furniture and other assets, it can be a very difficult task -- especially with something as stressful as a divorce hanging over the entire discussion.

There are two ways that states in the U.S. deal with property division: community property and equitable distribution. Community property is used by only a handful of states, most of which are in the western part of the country. This process of property division states that each spouse has a 50 percent stake in any asset that was garnered during the marriage. How each state defines what property is "marital property" and a piece of "separate property" will change from state to state.

Equitable distribution, meanwhile, says that when property is divided during a divorce, it will be a judge that decides what is the equitable way to do that. So this may not mean an even 50/50 split, nor does it mean that the judge's decision will seem "fair" to you. But it will be in that judge's mind a fair and equitable decision, given the many factors at play in the specific divorce case he or she is overseeing. Equitable division applies in Georgia.

Still, even with equitable distribution, there are questions about marital property, separate property, gifts, and assets that were purchased with commingled funds. When property division is being discussed during a divorce, make sure you and your attorney have a detailed and extensive conversation about the topic.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Property Division FAQ," Accessed May 26, 2017

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