Property Division Often Involves Significant Documentation

The division of property pursuant to a divorce may entail significant discovery and investigations into the assets of the parties and to whom they belong. The following article details some tips that parties involved in a divorce may find helpful in the property division process.

A recent Georgia article detailed some of the financial planning considerations involved in a Georgia divorce. Included in the advice is to copy all financial documents to make it easier and cheaper to organize during discovery. Among these documents are recent tax returns, employment benefits, pay stubs, bank and investment accounts and applications for credit. Debts should be categorized based on what party is liable, or whether both are liable. Smaller joint debts should be moved to one party, while mortgages and other larger debts should have the proper paperwork and financing taken care of. Additional insurance policies may need to be purchased as well to protect those receiving child and spousal support.

Whether property is subject to distribution in a divorce hinges on how the property is categorized. Separate property, such as inheritances or gifts, is not subject to distribution and will be awarded to the party that brought it into the marriage or to whom it was given. Marital property, on the other hand, is subject to equitable distribution in the state of Georgia. Examples of marital property include real estate, bank and retirement accounts and vehicles, among many other items. As outlined above, it is important for both parties to be aware of the existence of all of these items so they can be distributed in an equitable manner and all necessary paperwork can be taken care of as needed. Equitable distribution of these assets means that they will be divided between the parties according to what is fair under the circumstances of the case, which does not necessarily mean equal.

Parties involved in a divorce should be honest regarding their assets and do all necessary investigations to find all items and their value. This will assist the court in determining the best method for distributing the assets fairly between the parties. Those going through a divorce may seek the assistance of a family law attorney to help them with property division and other determinations involved in a divorce.

Source: The Marietta Daily Journal, "Financial planning for divorce," William G. Lako Jr., Oct. 31, 2013

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