In Sweat v. Sweat, the Supreme Court of Georgia automatically granted husband’s application for discretionary appeal pursuant to the Domestic Relations Pilot Project. In his application, Husband "appeals his final judgment and decree of divorce (‘decree’) entered pursuant to a jury verdict and the denials of his ‘Motion to Set Aside Judgment,’ ‘Motion for New Trial,’ and ‘Motion to Partially Amend or in the Alternative Reconsider Decree to Correct Omission of QDRO and as to Retirement Plan and Alimony Issues’ in regard to the decree."

The jury awarded wife 43% of the husband’s retirement account. The jury did not detail how this division was to be accomplished for the purpose of tax treatment. The parties discussed the use of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order ("QDRO") to attempt to mitigate tax consequences of the transfer. However, the trial court did not provide for a QDRO in the decree. Even though the husband stated more than once the desire to use a QDRO to pay out the wife’s portion of the retirement fund, he also indicated, at various points in the lengthy colloquy among the trial court, the attorneys for the parties, and the husband, that he was not willing and/or able to pay for preparation of the QDRO. And the final word in the matter was that there was no agreement between the parties to utilize a QDRO.

Upon review of the record and arguments, the Court unanimously affirmed the rulings of the trial court in Gwinnett County. However, the Court remanded the case to the trial court so that a clerical error on the date of valuation of the retirement account in the final decree can be corrected.

SOURCE: Supreme Court of Georgia