High-Earning Women Have Special Property Division Considerations

The division of property in a divorce should be as fair to both parties as possible. For property owned by both parties or acquired during their marriage, they should receive an equitable share of those assets. All assets acquired before the marriage or belonging to one of the parties, however, should not be considered for property division and each party must be careful to not confuse or alter the classification of their separate property.

Traditionally, married women earned less than their husband, but this is no longer the case. Women who earn more, or have more assets than their husband have special considerations in the case of a divorce. It may be wise to keep some of the money separate, instead of all in joint accounts, to maintain some financial independence. It is also important to keep inheritance assets separate. If the assets are co-mingled, they may no longer be considered separate property of one of the parties. Finally, implement safeguards around a business or partnership to ensure that the hard work of one party is not subject to distribution to both parties.

The above article reiterates considerations that should be kept in mind when dividing property in a divorce. Keeping some money separate, not co-mingling inherited assets and keeping a business ran by one party as that party's property are all ways to maximize the assets kept or granted to a party in a divorce order. Georgia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that any community or co-mingled property will be distributed according to what is fair and reasonable, but not necessarily equal. Separate property is excluded from such a distribution and includes gifts or inheritance acquired before a marriage or a business started before a marriage. It is therefore important that a spouse not co-mingle one of these assets to the point where it is considered community property. Such actions are sharing inherited funds with a spouse in a joint account or one spouse aiding and sustaining the business of the other spouse.

Keeping separate property separate is a good way to maximize the assets and property that can be kept by a spouse. They should therefore take every precaution to ensure that their separate property remains theirs after a divorce.

Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: When You Earn More Than Your Husband," Jeff Landers, Apr. 10, 2013

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