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What Is Equitable Division?

When couples come to the decision to get divorced many already know that the legal process of obtaining a divorce includes a determination by the court as to which party is entitled to certain categories of property. In fact, aside from child custody and support, the division of assets is one of the most hotly contested issues in divorce cases. In the State of Georgia Superior Court Judges use equitable division to guide their determination as to which party gets a particular asset.

A spouse may pursue his or her claim to property owned by the other spouse on a theory of alimony or equity. In instances where the court is awarding alimony the award is coming out of the other party’s estate. On the other hand, pursuits for allowances based on equitable division are centered on an allocation of assets acquired during the marriage to the parties based on their respective equitable interest in those assets. To that end, with equitable division the court is attempting to make a fair division of the assets, not necessarily an equal one.

The first thing the court will do is classify the property as marital or non-marital property. Marital property is that which was acquired as a result of the work and investments of the parties during the marriage. In contrast to this, non-marital property is that property which was:

  • brought into the marriage
  • acquired by gift, inheritance, bequest or devise, or
  • owned by third parties.

Once the court has classified the property as either marital or non-marital the court will then apportion the marital property equitably. It is important to note that there is no bright line rule as to what equitable division is and it will vary on a case by case basis. In fact, the court will weigh a variety of considerations including but not limited to:

  • duration of the marriage
  • age, health and occupation of the parties
  • vocation skills
  • employability of the parties
  • contributions of each party to the family unit
  • income and liabilities of the parties
  • conduct
  • opportunities for obtaining assets in the future

The Faucette Law Firm specializes in all aspects of family and divorce law in Douglasville and the Metro Atlanta. There is generally a lot of litigation in a divorce case regarding which assets are marital assets and how to divide them amongst the parties. Therefore, it is important to have compassionate legal representation to advocate for you. We assist clients with contested and uncontested divorces, child support, child custody, alimony and adoptions and modifications. Contact our office for a consultation.