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What can a divorce court look at when dividing property?

There are many different aspects to getting a divorce in Georgia. The person petitioning will have to choose a ground for the divorce or, possibly, a no-fault ground. Once the divorce petition is filed, served on the respondent and either answered or a default is entered, there are many issues that will have to be resolved by the parties or the court. These can include child support, child custody, alimony and, of course, division of property.

As has been discussed previously Georgia distinguishes between marital and non-marital property and uses an equitable distribution standard to divide any marital property. This means that the court will determine what a fair split of the property is to be, which is not necessarily giving both parties the same amounts. But what might a court consider when making this decision?

The judge or jury (whoever the fact-finder is in the particular case) will need to look at several factors to decide what a fair division of the marital property may be. These may include considering the length of the marriage of the parties, the health status, age and likely ability to find work of the parties and the services rendered by each party to the family unit, such as child-rearing, financial support, etc. The court will also take into account any debts or liens on marital property, the opportunities each spouse may have to generate future wealth or income and the needs that each spouse might have. Whether alimony will be awarded is also a factor that may be considered.

The above is by no means an exhaustive list of what might be considered during the property division stage of a Georgia divorce. In most cases, it is likely better for all involved if the parties agree on how to divide the assets, as the court's decision may not be satisfactory for everyone. However, considering all the potential factors involved, those contemplating the end of a marriage may wish to consider engaging an experienced family attorney.

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