Separate or Marital Property? Crowder v Crowder

In Crowder v. Crowder, the Supreme Court has unanimously affirmed the ruling of a Fayette County Superior Court judge. Justice Robert Benham wrote for the Court.

Wife’s appeal was automatically granted pursuant to the Court’s Domestic Relations Pilot Project. She "contends portions of the marital home, Husband’s 401(k) savings account, Husband’s pension, and Wife’s retirement plan constitute marital property subject to equitable distribution, and asserts the trial court erred when it failed to identify the assets as marital property, to determine the amount of the asset subject to equitable distribution, and then to distribute the marital property equitably."

In affirming the court below, the Supreme Court notes that "in a bench trial, the court sits as the finder of fact and, as such, is charged with the responsibility of determining whether and to what extent a particular item is a marital or nonmarital asset and then exercising its discretion and dividing the marital property equitably." However, "inasmuch as the issues on appeal depend upon the factual determinations made by the trial court as fact-finder and neither party asked the trial court to make factual findings, we are unable to conclude that the trial court’s equitable distribution of marital property was improper as a matter of law or as a matter of fact."

SOURCE: Supreme Court of Georgia

Selling Your Home When Divorcing

For many people going through a divorce their biggest asset is their home or in legal speak, the marital residence. Deciding what to do about the marital residence is often a major issue in a divorce. There are a few different options when it comes to splitting the marital residence.

selling a home in a divorce One option is for one spouse to keep the house and buy out the other spouse’s share. Another option is for one spouse to be granted exclusive use for a specified period of time, usually when the youngest child turns 18, after which the house will be sold. Finally, the house can be sold outright with the profits being allocated to each spouse.

Should you sell your house? Hard as it may be this is a decision that needs to be made devoid of emotions. As a practical matter take into consideration whether or not it is financially beneficial to keep the home. If not and you do decide to sell here are a few tips to help you through the process.

Time is money: Put your home on the market as far in advance as possible of purchasing a new one. Remember that when people buy and sell a home there usually is a domino effect. Closing and moving dates have to be coordinated, and the more firmly everyone commits to a window of dates and sticks to them, the better for all involved. Put all agreements about dates in writing, and protect yourself by negotiating financial penalties for failure to live up to the agreement.