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What does 'equitable distribution' mean in a Georgia divorce?

Mind you, "equitable" is not "equal" in a Georgia divorce. When it comes to property division, a court in Georgia will keep separate property out of the category of marital property, and a 50-50 split is not a foregone conclusion. Separate property might include a bank account in only one spouse's name, or inheritance received by only one spouse.

But what about credit card debt? That, too, can be regarded as separate property if only one spouse's name is on the account, even if the other spouse used the card on occasion. (Those "see ID" scrawlings on the backs of cards can seem like an especially good idea in some cases.)

Of course, you can parse out these matters with your divorce attorney. Real property and business assets, for instance, may need to be listed as separate property if both spouses aren't signed on as owners. Gifts to one spouse but not to the other are also generally regarded as separate property.

All of this equitable division requires the proper documentation: bank statements, deeds, etc. And for money or property to remain separate and not marital, then the assets and debts should not have been comingled. When a couple decides to divorce, it isn't uncommon for one of them to wish that he or she hadn't placed some personal inheritance money or other asset into a shared account rather than open a new one. A court will regard that money as comingled and thus equitably divisible.

Spousal support and child support are other money issues that have to be figured out in many Georgia divorces. The surest way of achieving a satisfactory divorce settlement is to work with an attorney with experience in these matters.

Source: Fox Business, "Is Wife Liable for Ex's Card Debt?" Sally Herigstad, May 7, 2013

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