Q: Can separated wife seek a share of property bought from trust proceeds?
Wife and I have been physically and financially separated since June 2021 and still working out paperwork for divorce filing. My mom passed last year and I received the trust proceeds this year. I used some of these proceeds to go 50% in on a lake house (sister putting up the other 50%. We are both on title). Can my wife go after half of my half? I have a quit-claim from her on my current residence and she has shown no interest in knowing my finances since we separated. We have 50/50 custody of a child and it's difficult keeping this a secret plus I feel keeping it a secret may end up hurting me more IF it comes up in court during divorce proceedings. Should I keep quiet or spill the beans. So far it has been an amicable separation with no lawyers. We are in Georgia. The property is in Alabama.
In Georgia, the division of property during a divorce is governed by the principles of equitable distribution. This means that the court will seek to divide marital property in a fair and just manner, considering factors such as each spouse's contributions, financial circumstances, and needs.
If the property in question was purchased using proceeds from a trust, the classification of that property as marital or separate might be a complex matter. Generally, property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property, subject to equitable distribution. However, if the property was acquired solely with funds from a trust established before the marriage, it might be classified as separate property.
In your situation, where you and your wife have been separated since 2021 and are working on divorce paperwork, the court will likely consider the timing of the separation in determining the classification of property. If the property was acquired after your separation, it could potentially be treated differently than property acquired during the marriage.
A: The nature of the trust is important. You need to speak to a Georgia attorney immediately. Anything that is given to one party via gift is not marital property in Georgia. An attorney can read the trust documents and advise if it is non-marital and how to keep it that way. You are under no obligation to discuss the trust with your wife at this point.
A: If neither has filed for divorce, you were still married and not even going through a divorce when the property was purchased. When you say "working out the paperwork" I assume you are trying to file this divorce as uncontested, which means both parties will have to sign all the necessary paperwork. As such, she will have to sign the proper documentation awarding you the residence. If she refuses to sign all of the necessary divorce documents, and you have to file contested, hire an attorney. Because then marital property and separate property will have to be addressed in the divorce.
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