Property Division 

In a Georgia divorce proceeding, the court is required to equitably divide all "marital" property. This does not mean, however, that all "marital" property is divided equally. Instead, the court has broad discretion to ensure that both parties receive their "equitable" interest in the property. Again, the court can consider the financial circumstances of the parties including the contributions of either spouse to the marital property, the financial status of the parties, income and earning capacity, and the conduct of the parties during the marriage, including issues of dissipation.

The court is only allowed to decide issues relating to the parties' marital property, which is defined as any property acquired during the marriage as a result of the efforts of the marriage. Thus, property acquired by either spouse as a gift, inheritance, bequest or devise remains the separate property of that party and is not subject to the rules regarding equitable division. An exception exists, however, when appreciation in the value of the "separate property" is caused by the efforts of the marriage, then the court may consider that portion of the property as part of an equitable proceeding. Parties should be careful when deeding property to one or both spouses when that property was acquired separately by one of the parties. Call us now before making any decisions relating to transfer of property during a marriage!

Thus, since there are no bright line rules with regard to the division of marital property it is important to hire an attorney committed to emphasizing your entitlements to the court. A knowledgeable attorney can also craft language in a settlement agreement which may protect assets from possible bankruptcy proceedings which may be filed by one or both of the spouses.

Since a court proceeding can often be final, it is important to have legal counsel and assistance traversing through these complex proceedings. Ms. McCarthy is committed to providing her clients with a complete understanding of their legal rights and the best legal arguments to ensure that their future is protected.

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