One of the most challenging parts of a divorce is deciding who gets what, especially when one or both partners have strong emotional attachments to certain possessions.
The goal of Georgia's property division system is to ensure that a couple's marital assets and liabilities are distributed equitably. The process for achieving this goal depends on what, exactly, the property is. Bank accounts, retirement savings and other financial assets can simply be divvyed up and sold. Valuable property like cars or homes can be liquidated or exchanged for something of similar value. But what about things like art, antiques or collectables?
Items like these are known as "illiquid non-income producing assets." Basically, that means that they don't generate regular income for their owners and can't easily be exchanged for cash on the open market.
The most straightforward way to divide these assets is for the couple to come to an agreement regarding who gets which items. Sometimes, this means splitting a collection in two. In other cases, it may mean that one partner buys the other out.
The process becomes more complicated if the couple cannot reach a solution on their own. In these cases, a judge might take testimony from each partner about their relationship with the property and then divide the assets accordingly. If that proves to be impractical, the judge may instead order the collections to be sold at auction with the proceeds to be divided equitably between the spouses.
These are just a few of the ways that illiquid non-income producing assets could be divided in divorce. If you think this may be an issue in your divorce, bring it up with your attorney early on in the process. Your attorney may be able to help you reach a creative solution to your problems.
Source: Business Insider, "Everything You Need To Know About Divvying Up The Goods In A Sticky Divorce," Michele Bowman, August 13, 2012.
To learn more about dividing assets in a Georgia divorce, please visit our property division page.