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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117358
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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We are going thru divorce. both of us are doctors. I have

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We are going thru divorce. both of us are doctors. I have a small rented office and i make one fourth of what he makes. plus he has two huge buildings that his business owns. we have reached an agreement about the house, but I think I should get one out of the two commercial buildings he owns or cash amount.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

GA is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state, which means that while marital property will be distributed equitably, that does not necessarily mean equally. In order to be entitled to a share of the commercial buildings, you would have to show that marital assets were used in the purchase of the buildings, which can include labor and work efforts during the course of the marriage to pay for the buildings. If you can prove that the buildings were acquired during the marriage, then the legal presumption is that the buildings should be equitably divided as marital property. Additionally, if you can show that marital funds from your accounts was used to pay for the buildings, this too would entitle you to an equitable share of the buildings. If you have such proof then you should demand one of the buildings or the cash equivalent of 1/2 of all marital funds put into the buildings. If he refuses, then you can settle everything else and leave that matter up to the courts to decide upon weighing the evidence of marital support for those properties.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks. My husband has presented an appraisal on his buildings (appraisal was obtained about one year ago) and is saying that the resale value of his properties is less than the loan amount that he has on them, and so has NO equity in those buildings and so I will not get anything.

Thank you for your response.

That new information does make a bit of a difference, but the market has changed in a year and as such a more current appraisal should be done. If there is indeed no equity, but marital funds went into the buildings the court has options. First, they could award you some other marital assets equal to an equitable amount of the marital assets put into the building or they could award you one of the buildings and then make that building value or loss your responsibility. The court does have options if you prove the marital assets were used in the purchase.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It is already proven that marital funds were used to put the down payment for those properties. These properties are owned by his business which is 100 percent owned by him. Are they considered marital properties although owned by his corporation?





Thank you for telling me the additional information. Even though they are owned by his business, you have a marital interest based on use of marital funds. Thus, the court, since they will not usually give you an interest in his business, will likely give you some other marital assets to make up for your share in those buildings.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

His attorney had hired an appraiser last year and wants to present him as a testifying witness in the court. His appraisals are clearly much lower than is even expected in this economy. He will make some adjustments for making them current but they were already very low even for last year. I want to get my own appraisals done before any decision is made. Do judges accept that kind of request because that means that I need about 2 more weeks. My husband's attorney seems to be rushing the judge to make the final decision, just based on her own appraisals. She is saying that there is no equity in those properties and so he cannot give me anything, because he does not have any CASH available plus there is no equity. She is going to further prove by bringing the appraiser in. I do not understand this. I feel this is a completely unfair division of assets. I helped build his practice for 8 years and worked very hard to make it successful while getting minimal compensation. He used to tell me that its family business and we both own the money, but he was putting huge sums of money away overseas and bought properties there too. And then while we were still married, he bought these two properties in 2007 and 2010. I do not want to come under pressure and just "settle" not getting anything. To me, it is not settling, it is surrendering. Can you advise how to approach this problem? Thanks.

Thank you for the additional information.

You have the right to get your own independent appraisal as well to determine the actual value and you can then submit your appraisal together with his appraisal for the court to decide between the two appraisals. The judge can give you additional property or a higher percentage of the marital property to account for the marital assets expended on these buildings.

You have a right to go to court and dispute these claims and you do not have to just settle. This is why in many divorces marital property settlements go to protracted litigation to settle how the property is divided. This is not a simple issue as you seem to be saying his attorney is making it out to be, if it were then there would not be so much litigation over these property issues.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

That is correct. Just to obtain discovery, we had to file three contempts of court against him and still he did not comply fully. My attorney has worked very hard and long on this case. He has proved that my husband has withdrawn a lot of cash from the business accounts over the last 5 years, has committed tax frauds, makes a lot more money than me, he even brought two police officers to the court to testify domestic violence against me that had happened few years ago and that he has lied several times while replying to the interrogatories under oath.


Can I ask for a lump sum amount ( like 300,000 dollars) or as you are stating one of the commercial properties directly? Thanks.



Thank you for your response.

You can ask for a lump sum amount, you can ask for marital assets from other areas to substitute for the properties, you can ask for payments or you can ask for one of the properties directly. All of those are options available to you and to the court as well.

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