Handling Divorce, Separate Property and Marital Property
Cases for Over 20 Years
You have worked hard to build a healthy retirement plan
and create a home and/or business of which you are proud but
now find your future clouded by the uncertainty of divorce.
You may be wondering what will happen to the property and
assets that you worked so hard to build. If you devoted
your energy to taking care of the family home and did not
work, you may be concerned that the court will not understand
the value your services added to the wealth acquired during
your marriage. No matter which of these situations describe
and termination of a marriage means fundamental changes,
which can be both intimidating and overwhelming.
The McLeod Law Firm Attorneys serve all of North Georgia
including Gainesville, Hall County, Cumming, Dawsonville,
Forsyth County, Jackson and Dawson County. Contact
McLeod is an experienced property division attorney and
he understands the fears and uncertainty about the future
that accompany a pending divorce. Financial concerns
and asset division questions are normal because how these
issues are handled will significantly impact your ability
to start over and get on with your life. Our compassionate
and knowledgeable attorneys and staff understand what you
are going through and have provided an overview of how property
is divided under Georgia divorce law.
The information contained here explains Georgia's divorce
laws concerning property division in simple straightforward
language, rather than complex legal terminology. It
is our belief that better understanding the process will ease
some of the fear and uncertainty that you may be feeling.
The McLeod Law Firm, P.C. handles all family
law matters with a careful eye toward the best interest
of our clients’ and their children, while providing
you with the exemplary service that our clients have come
How Is Property Divided Between a Husband and Wife in a Divorce?
The couple can divide their own property if they are able
to reach an agreement, but this isn't always possible.
If no divorce
agreement can be reached, the court will divide property
and debts in a Georgia divorce according to the principles
set forth below. Even if you believe that you and your
spouse have reached an agreement on how to divide marital
property, you should always consult an experienced Georgia
family law attorney who can assess the terms of your agreement
and advice you regarding its merits and potential pitfalls.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
The judge will first separate all of the property into two
categories, marital and separate, because only marital property
is divided between the parties. The separate property
reverts back to who owned it prior to the marriage.
An exception and complication to this rule is what might be
referred to as “mixed assets.” This simply
means that some property may have been acquired before the
marriage but partially paid for during the marriage.
The portion of the value of the property that was paid for
from marital property (i.e. income during the marriage) will
be divided between the parties.
- Any property obtained during the marriage by either spouse
- The increase in value of any property that was a direct result from contributions made for the upkeep, and maintenance of that property
- Any retirement benefits
- Property acquired before the marriage took place
- Any inheritance
- Any gift in exchange for separate property
- Any money received from appreciation of separate property
(As long as the spouse did not contribute to its upkeep)
Georgia divorce laws use the equitable distribution method of dividing property. “Equitable" does not mean equal, but rather a fair division of marital property. Property that is divided by equitable distribution does not include anything considered "separate property". Whatever each spouse had in their possession prior to the marriage generally will be retained by that spouse.
Factors Considered for Equitable Distribution
- Employability of each spouse based on education and training
- The relative earning capacities of the spouses
- Impact of custody
arrangements for the children
- The spouses’ incomes
- The impact of wrongful conduct in reducing the value of
- The role and impact of each spouse in increasing the value
of marital assets
- The physical and mental health and the age of each spouse
- The assets and debts of each spouse
- Each spouse’s financial needs
- Each spouse’s contributions to acquiring marital
assets including working in the home or earning wages
The only factor that would eliminate any marital property
from equitable distribution would be the existence of a pre-nuptial
agreement that was signed by both spouses prior to marriage.
This would precede any other factor for equitable distribution.
Cases involving the applicability and impact of a pre-nuptial
agreement can be complicated and require prompt legal advice
from an experienced lawyer.
The McLeod Law Firm,
P.C. will help guide you through the complex process of
asset and debt division and diligently pursue your best interest.
It is important to keep in mind that the court will divide
your property ONLY IF, you and your spouse cannot
reach a fair and realistic settlement. A marital settlement
regarding property is usually the most cost-effective way
of dividing marital assets. David McLeod understands
communication between spouses during a divorce can be difficult
so we are prepared to help remove any emotional roadblocks
that could hinder progress. If an agreement simply cannot
be reached, we will employ skilled advocacy and extensive
litigation experience acquired over 20 years of handling Georgia
The lawyers at McLeod Law Firm, P.C. provide legal representation
based on 20 years of experience and commitment to its clients
across North Georgia including Gainesville and Hall County,
GA. We continually update our practice to incorporate the
most appropriate communication, technological, and legal advances
in an effort to better serve our clients. We are located in
historical downtown Gainesville, Georgia.
CALL (770) 536-0202 TODAY FOR YOUR INITIAL CASE EVALUATION!