When a couple divorces, they must divide up any marital property. Georgia is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property will be divided equally between the parties, unless the court finds that it would be unjust to make an equal distribution. Under Georgia law, marital property is any property that either spouse acquired during the marriage, no matter how the property is titled, unless there it can be proven that the property is actually separate property. This is true even if the property was purchased by the earnings of only one spouse who worked during the marriage, while the other spouse was a homemaker.
In contrast, non-marital property is any property that a spouse acquired prior to the marriage or after the parties’ separation. This covers even substantial gifts or inheritances that one spouse received prior to the marriage, as well as any property that the spouse brought into the marriage. However, it is important to keep in mind that what begins as non-marital property can quickly become marital property if it is commingled or merged with the parties’ joint or marital property. For instance, suppose that one spouse receives an inheritance prior to the marriage, but places the proceeds of that inheritance into the parties’ joint bank account after they marry. Years later when the parties divorce, the spouse who received the inheritance cannot claim that the inheritance is non-marital property, because it was commingled with the parties’ marital property throughout the duration of their marriage. Non-marital property remains separate property even upon divorce and therefore is not subject to division by a divorce court.
Atlanta property division can be difficult, particularly when questions arise about the distinction between marital property and non-marital property. A Georgia divorce lawyer can make all the difference in giving you the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions about your divorce and property division. Contact us or call today to learn how Shaw Law can work with you to achieve the best outcome possible for you and your children.
Scott Shaw is founder and principle of Shaw Law Firm LLC, founded in 1995 and dedicated solely to divorce, family law and child custody matters that must be addressed and decided in the state of Georgia. Shaw Law Firm serves the greater Metro Atlanta area, particularly the counties of Fulton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Cherokee, Forsyth, Paulding, Henry, Fayette, Coweta, Newton, Walton, Bartow and Douglas. Schedule a consultation today at 770-594-8309.