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Do Non-Economic Contributions Matter in Georgia Equitable Division Cases?
Georgia law does not provide a formula when it comes to equitably dividing marital property upon divorce. Alternatively, Georgia law gives judges and juries discretion to determine what is a fair or equitable division of a couple’s marital property. In deciding equitable division cases, judges and juries rely on certain factors outlined in Georgia case law to determine how a couple’s property should be divided. These factors include, among others:
- Each party’s contribution to the acquisition and maintenance of the marital property;
- The purpose and intent of the parties regarding the ownership of the property;
- The separate estate or non-marital property of each of the parties;
- The length of the marriage;
- Any prior marriage of either party; and,
- The service contributed by each spouse to the family unit.
Stokes v. Stokes, 246 Ga. 765 (1980); See also Rooks v. Rooks, 252 Ga. 11 (1984) (concurring opinion)( “Stokes simply recognized that a spouse’s non-economic contributions to a marriage might be reflected in an ‘equitable division’ of property, notwithstanding the incidence of legal ownership,[…]”).
Thus, the question posed above can be answered in the affirmative. Yes, non-economic contributions, such as the service contributed by spouses to the family unit, do indeed matter in Georgia equitable division cases.