Property Division Under Georgia Law

When a marriage ends, the couple must divide up their property and possessions. Either the couple can agree between themselves how to do this or the court will decide for them.

What is property?

Everything with exchangeable value or anything that goes to makeup a person’s wealth: every interest, estate, obligation, right. Anything that you own or that generates income is considered by the law under the category of property:

Your car, your furniture, money in bank accounts, retirement plans, even a business or a profession is property. In a divorce action, property also means what you partially own and owe money on; it includes your debts.

The law in Georgia, views marriage as a relationship between partners, taking into account the monetary and nonmonetary contributions of each spouse to the family unit. Even if one of the partners never earned one dollar, that partner is considered to have contributed to the family’s property (or wealth) and has rights to a percentage of that property.

How does the law divide property?

Georgia is an "equitable distribution state" which means that all marital property acquired during the marriage is subject to division. Property brought into the marriage is not subject to division in a divorce. In order to divide up property in a divorce action, categories of property have been established. Marital property includes all property that was acquired during the marriage, regardless of how it is titled (in whose name it is). Gifts from one spouse to another are marital property if they were purchased with marital funds. Pensions and business interests that were developed by one spouse are considered marital property if they were acquired during the marriage. In fact, the only property that the court may transfer from one spouse to another is half of a retirement plan, benefit package, pension, or profit sharing. .

(more…)