Property Division in a Divorce

When you get divorced in Georgia your property will be divided “fairly”, or, to use the legal term, “equitably”. Some states simply divide property “equally”, 50/50, without concern about whether this is fair or not. The Court will look to the various contributions in the marriage as well as behavior during the marriage. This all being said, generally the Court will divide all property equally except for rare situations.

When you are dividing a retirement account you will not be required to sell it and pay the taxes. Your divorce attorney will prepare a QDRO, which stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This Order will direct your Employer to create another account for your spouse and move the money into that account. Your spouse then can move the money to an IRA. No tax consequences.

Generally speaking, when dividing personal property, or what I call the “pots and pans”, the Court will not put a value on each item, just award an equal amount of stuff. If you have two (2) televisions, you get one (1). If she gets the living room furniture, you get the family room. Sometimes people in a divorce don’t want any personal property, TV’s and such, as to remove them from the homeplace would be hard on the children and probably not worth the moving cost. This is fine, but don’t expect to keep more the cash accounts because of this. Spending money on attorneys to fight over tvs and loveseats is a waste of money. Divide what you can, then flip a coin and take turns picking things. Paying two lawyers over $700.00 an hour for this task is not a good use of your money.

Generally speaking property you had before your divorce or property you inherited is not a marital asset and remains with you. If you put your spouse’s name on something it might be considered a “gift” and divided. Sometimes assets are mixed marital and non-marital, such as a 401k you started before the marriage but continued to contribute to. If a significant asset, I hire an account to do the math and present evidence of your premarital amount to the Court.