Understanding Atlanta Property Division

Atlanta must adhere to state equitable division laws, so dividing assets is based on fairness. Different factors influence the division of property such as whether one spouse has a large, separate estate they received by inheritance, or one party had a substantial net worth before the marriage, as well as gifts from family members. These circumstances would be taken into consideration to divide a couple’s property in a manner that is close to equal.

The parties’ conduct during their marriage affects the division of assets as well as any other elements the court may want to consider. The courts’ understanding of Atlanta property division is based on fairness. Theoretically, one party could be awarded 100 percent of the marital assets if the finder of fact believes that is fair under the circumstances. For help with understanding Atlanta property division, call a dedicated attorney who is familiar with the complexities of court proceedings involving assets.

Financial Contributions

The financial contributions from the spouses which are considered when dividing property include their income, assets, separate property inheritance, and gifts received by either of the parties. There are also non-financial contributions such as to conduct and demeanor. A spouse who stays home to raise their shared children is a non-financial contributor, which is taken into consideration during litigation. Negative conduct such as adultery or physical and emotional abuse would also be considered.

Non-Financial Contributions

Non-financial contributions could be household duties, parental tasks, education, and career-building of the other spouse. Household duties may entail cleaning, washing clothes, cooking, property maintenance, financial management, and record-keeping. The courts consider childcare and activities related to assisting a spouse with career-building as non-financial contributions. Non-financial contributions are essential to understanding Atlanta property division.

Assigning the Value of Assets

When one spouse is a business owner, the value of their company must be identified. The courts would determine whether it is a closely held business as well as whether the owning spouse has a majority interest or a minority interest. There could be a discount for lack of control for a partner with a minority interest in a shared business. There are also discounts for lack of marketability and other aspects that can impact the value of an asset. A forensic accountant or business evaluation expert would conduct an evaluation, or the couple could obtain appraisals for the value the real property, furnishings, antiques, or heirloom jewelry.

Factors which must be considered for assigning value to an asset include the purchase price, date of purchase, effects of market forces, and the impact a divorce may have on the value. Additionally, opinions of investors, as well as the original source of the capital used to purchase or produce the asset in question, would also be taken into consideration. Appraisals, comparisons to similar properties, the condition of a property, and location are also used to assign value to shared assets.

Tracing Separate Contributions

A spouse who receives a gift of 100,000 from their parents and uses it for the down payment on a house may want to trace this and keep it as a separate property in the event of a divorce. However, if the asset is titled jointly, $50,000 would be considered as a gift into the marital estate. For situations such as this, keeping separate property solely titled or drafting an agreement which delegates property division upon divorce can be substantially beneficial.

Other documents which can be helpful for tracing contributions are bank and retirement statements that list the balance at the time of the marriage. A spouse who contributes to their IRA or 401k after getting married can separate what they had in the beginning from what they accrued during the marriage, as well as from the market impact on what they had at the time of the marriage. Good record-keeping is essential for accurately assessing the value of marital assets.

Proper Execution of Property Division

The terms and provisions in a settlement agreement or a final judgment decree in a court order may facilitate adequate execution for asset division. If one party does not do what they are supposed to do, the other could bring a contempt action. Otherwise, there are other remedies available. Assets can be secured with notes and UCC filings, or another piece of property could be assigned as collateral for the interest one spouse is supposed to receive from the other. There are options to help make asset division enforceable by the courts.

Cooperation Between Parties When Dividing Assets

Cooperation between parties makes an equitable distribution of assets possible. Partners who cannot get along tend to make property division difficult. An attorney in a divorce may function as a counselor and advise an individual on what they are supposed to do so that both parties gain an understanding of Atlanta property division. Spouses who are preparing to enter litigation over their assets should enlist the help of qualified legal counsel before initiating any court proceedings.