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Property division and compensation structure in divorce

How people in Georgia are compensated at work may affect how property is divided in a divorce. If one or both people are paid a regular salary, the division may be fairly straightforward. However, if there are bonuses, commissions, stock options or other perks, the process may become more complex.

For example, it may be possible to exclude a bonus with a clawback provision from marital assets. The reason for this is that the bonus could be withdrawn at some stage. If the bonus is included, the divorce agreement may include conditions under which the other spouse might have to repay it. A bonus from the previous year is likely to be considered shared property, but the spouse who earned it should be aware that the attorney for the other spouse may try to get it included as both a bonus and as part of overall income for the year.

A commission payment may be delayed to avoid having to include it as marital property, but the other spouse may argue that the work was largely done during the marriage, so it should be included anyway. Another possible area of conflict is a portfolio offered by a new company to make up for options and other rights left behind at a previous company. Finally, perks such as housing may also be included in income calculations.

When determining what assets will count as shared property that is subject to division, it is important that people do not try to conceal assets. This is not permitted and could lead to having to pay a higher proportion of overall assets. It is best to check with an attorney before making any major financial moves such as closing a joint account or removing a spouse from a beneficiary designation. In some cases, it might be necessary to wait until the divorce is final.

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Hecht Family Law
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