Answer: Georgia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court has the power of equity to divide the assets that are marital assets in a way that is fair and equitable. Fair and equitable does not mean equal. It can mean, often in cases, that one party may get more or less than the other based upon their contributions to the marriage. And those are not just economic contributions, but non-economic contributions. So, while some courts will consider an equitable distribution, a 50/50 distribution, that’s not always the case. And we never take it for granted that that’s the case. So, we go to each case arguing for the contributions of our clients to that marriage, whether those are economic contributions or non-economic contributions. So we do our best to present what they have done for the marriage, what they have brought into the marriage.
Equitable distribution also means that those assets that are not of the marriage, per se, but brought into the marriage, inherited or are not otherwise comingled, are protected. And that’s the number one question that we have when it comes to property distribution is, “Are my assets protected?” So, what we do is we try to trace the funds and show that these are separate assets, and that they should not be subject to the distribution of the court. Equitable distribution only applies to those assets that are accumulated during the course of the marriage. And in a short-term marriage, a lot of times people will bring in their separate assets, and what they want to do is make sure that those interests are protected. And what we’re going to do is show that those are things that they brought in—and that’s going to be with evidence, that’s going to be going back and looking at balance statements and checking accounts and showing where down payments for this item or that item may have come from. And we’re going to prove that those are not marital items, but those are separate property items.