Category Archives: Settlement Agreement

Marital or Separate Property?

Marital or Separate PropertyMarital or Separate Property? The case of Shaw v Shaw gives us an indication of how a court would rule in some common scenarios.

Marital or Separate Property? The Bank Accounts: There were two bank accounts established by Husband with inherited funds. The Husband titled the account in both his name and Wife’s name. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court finding that the two accounts, established with inherited funds, were marital property, since the accounts were transformed from separate property to marital property when the husband gave the wife an ownership interest in the property by establishing the accounts in both spouses’ names.

Marital or Separate Property? The Real Property: The Husband inherited some real property. The property was separate property but became marital property when he directed that the property be deeded to himself and his wife as tenants in common upon inheriting the property. The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed the trial court’s finding the inherited real property was marital property and subject to the equitable division of marital assets.

Is it Marital or Separate Property? The Apartment Complex. This property was purchased during the marriage with marital funds, therefore the Wife acquired a separate and district interest in the property. Therefore the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to give the husband all of the couple’s interest in an apartment complex. Even though the husband initiation of a separate legal action to enforce his interest in the property and his payment of legal fees arising therefrom.

Trial Note: The trial judge, as the trier of fact, stated after Wife’s case in chief but before the husband’s presentation of evidence, that he didn’t see why it shouldn’t be decided 50-50 . . . I’ve not heard all the evidence . . . I know you haven’t had [Husband] on direct examination. But I’ve got a very good feel from this case”. The record established that the judge made these statements only after the husband testified extensively as an adverse witness and the husband’s counsel thoroughly questioned the wife on cross-examination; the trial judge was only indicating the conclusion he believed the evidence supported thus far; and the prohibition against judicial comment was meant to apply to comments made in front of a jury, not comments made during a bench trial.

For more information about this case see Shaw v. Shaw, S11F1586 (01/09/2012).

If you have questions about an uncontested divorce – Contact the Remboldt Law Firm at 404-348-4081 for a FREE phone consultation.

If you are considering an uncontested divorce, you may find the UNCONTESTED DIVORCE WORKSHEET helpful in moving forward with an uncontested divorce.


Uncontested Divorce Division of Property

Uncontested Divorce Division of PropertyUncontested Divorce Division of Propertywhat property is divide in an uncontested divorce?  Only real and personal property and assets acquired by the parties during the marriage are subject to equitable property division.  A property interest brought to the marriage by one of the marital partners is a non-marital asset and it si not subject to the equitable division since it was not generated by the marriage. (see Payson v. Payson, 274 Ga. 231 (2001) and Bloomfield v. Bloomfield, 282 Ga. 108 (2007).

The last date on which assets may be acquired so as to be marital assets is the date of the final decree of separate maintenance or the date of the decree of divorce.  (see Friedman v. Friedman, 259 Ga. 530 (1989)

Property acquired during the marriage by either party by gift, inheritance, bequest, or devise remains the separate property of the party that acquired it; and is not subject to equitable division unless the appreciation in the value was caused by efforts of the other party during the marriage. (see Halpern v. Halpern, 256 Ga. 639 (1987).

However, Property does not become a marital asset simply because one of the spouses obtains it during the marriage.  (Dasher v. Dasher, 283 Ga. 436 (2008)).

Gifts between spouses of marital property remain marital property, subject to equitable division.  Also, a gift to a marital couple will become marital property absent evidence of the contrary intent by the donor.  However, a gifts of one souse by the other spouse becomes separate property of the recipient spouse.    (see Bailey v. Bailey 250 Ga. 15 (1992) and McArthur V. McArthur, 256 Ga. 762 (1987).

In a case where the marital residence was purchased by one party prior to the marriage, the other party would be entitled to an equitable share of the net increase in the equity in the marital home attributable to marital funds.  (see Thomas v. Thomas, 259 Ga. 73 (1989)).

Uncontested Divorce Division of Property – If you have questions about an Uncontested Divorce Division of Property or you need help with completing an uncontested divorce – Contact the  Remboldt Law Firm at 404-348-4081.

Additionally, for more information on the Georgia Child Support Calculation Gross Income – you may find the Georgia Child Support Worksheet helpful.  Also, if you are considering an uncontested divorce, you may find the Uncontested Divorce Worksheet helpful in moving forward with an uncontested divorce.

Child Support Worksheet Calculation

child support worksheet calculationChild Support Worksheet Calculation.  You may find the Georgia Child Support Worksheet helpful.  But also how does the court view the child support worksheet calculations?  Here’s a case where there were many issues and the court addressed each one.

First, the Court is required to make a written finding to support its deviation from the presumptive amount of child support for extraordinary educational expenses (there’s a space on the worksheet – you need to use it!) and this is one of the purposes of the Child Support Addendum.

If one party does not work, you should impute a monthly gross income based on a 40-hour workweek at the national minimum wage.  This is also used if the party has no viable way to calculate their income.

The court allows for prorating of the husband’s responsibility for the basic child support obligation before proceeding through the remainder of the steps in calculating his monthly child support obligation;

There is no requirement to enter written findings regarding low income if there is no deviation for such;

A party is not entitled to a specific deviation for the child’s extracurricular expenses if they agreed at trial to pay for these expenses and offered no evidence as to the amount in the settlement agreement.

It is ok to enter into a security agreement and collateral pledge to guarantee the payments required by the divorce decree.

If you have questions about how to make the Georgia Child Support Worksheet Calculation, the Child Support Addendum – or For more information, contact the Remboldt Law Firm at 404-348-4081 for a free consultation.

You may find the Georgia Child Support Worksheet helpful.  Also, if you are considering an uncontested divorce, you may find the Uncontested Divorce Worksheet helpful in moving forward with an uncontested divorce.

Brogdon v. Brogdon, S11F1975 (02/27/12)

Fulton County Daily Report, March 2, 2012

Marital Settlement Agreement Enforcement Georgia

Marital Settlement Agreement Enforcement GeorgiaMarital Settlement Agreement Enforcement Georgia Martial Settlement Agreement enforcement Georgia is done by the Court!  But sometimes things go wrong, here’s a case were everything went wrong.

First the Parties negotiated and announced their settlement to the trial court before having a hearing and presented their memorandum of understanding signed by both parties and their counsel.  During the process of memorialization of the document, wife and counsel realized that the memorandum actually awarded Husband the marital residence even though they contended that Wife never agreed to that arrangement.

Husband’s counsel sent the Consent Order to the trial court consistent with the memorandum but erroneously awarding the marital residence to Husband.  The Wife filed a motion to set aside the settlement agreement because it did not reflect their agreements and the lower court denied the motion.

The Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s denial of her motion to set aside because the settlement agreements follow contractual rules and those who sign a document are presumed to have read the document.

However, the Supreme Court also found an abuse of discretion by the trial court Judge for entering a consent order that was clearly not consented to by both parties.  The Court noted that rather than submitting an erroneous consent order to the court, Husband should have filed a motion to enforce the settlement agreement.

So lesson learned, when you are signing your settlement agreement or mediation agreement, or memorandum of understanding, be very sure all the provisions of your agreement are accurately reflected because marital settlement agreements will be enforced by the Court as they are presented like any other contract.  For more information about this case please see Buckner v. Buckner, 2014 WL 819477 (March 3, 2014).

If you have questions about a marital settlement agreement enforcement Georgia or a divorce, please contact the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC at 404-348-4081 for a free phone consultation.

Contempt attorney fees and expenses for family therapist.

Divorce TopicsContempt Attorney Fees and Expenses for Family Therapist: In this contempt action following entry of Dr. Scott Bowerman and Melissa Bowerman’s divorce and custody decree and subsequent related orders, the Court of Appeals reversed the grant of $5.8K in attorneys’ fees and expenses to Dr. Bowerman and the award of $3.4K in reimbursement for Dr. Bowerman’s payments to Susan Boyan, a licensed marriage and family therapist, holding that the trial court grievously erred in making such an award, since it ordered that Dr. Bowerman ‘ “[m]ay deduct the total amount, $9,200.00 from the payment of periodic alimony [$10,000 per month] at the rate of $1,500.00 per month,” ’ since, ‘ “after a decree for permanent alimony has become absolute, there is no authority given under the law by which a trial court is empowered to abrogate or modify the obligation imposed by the decree, unless such a right has been reserved by consent of the parties in the final decree itself, or an action is brought as provided under” ’ OCGA § § 19-6-18 through 19-6-25.

However, the Court rejected Melissa Bowerman’s contention that the trial court erred in finding her in contempt ‘ “by failing to articulate which specific provision of any prior order” ’ she had violated, since the trial court’s various orders incorporated the terms of the parties’ agreements, which included very specific, all-encompassing requirements, including express language of commands directed at both parties. The Court also held that the lack of a transcript prevented the trial court from reviewing Melissa Bowerman’s second and sixth enumerations of error and prevented Melissa Bowerman from showing harm from any alleged error in the trial court’s modification of summer visitation. Next, the record belied Melissa Bowerman’s contention that the trial court made any modification to the order granting equal rights to the parties, unless they are unable to agree regarding healthcare. Finally, the trial court’s order requiring Dr. Bowerman and his daughter to enter into counseling did not alter legal custody, and the Court declined to consider the daughter’s affidavit, since she did not testify at the contempt hearing, denying her father the right to cross-examine her.

For more information about the facts of this case, see:  Bowerman v. Bowerman, A11A1895 (03/01/12)

Fulton County Daily Report, March 16, 2012

If you have questions about a divorce settlement agreement, contempt, or if you considering filing a divorce, please contact the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC at 404-348-4081 for a free phone consultation.

GA Rights of parties after divorce is granted are based not on settlement agreement, but on judgment itself.

Trial court’s grant of summary judgment to plaintiff’s former wife and her lawyer, affirmed, on claim alleging that defendants fraudulently induced plaintiff to sign unfair settlement agreement, and that lawyer breached his fiduciary duty, since plaintiff could not sue in tort for fraud or breach of fiduciary duty without first having final divorce decree set aside; rights of parties after divorce is granted are based not settlement agreement, but on judgment itself.

Jordan v. Jordan, A11A1207 (11/15/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, December 9, 2011

GA Settlement agreement was not incorporated in her divorce decree.

Trial court’s determination in this action in equity that petitioner failed to exercise reasonable diligence in pursuing her equitable claim, affirmed; petitioner stated that alleged settlement agreement was supposed to have been incorporated in her divorce decree, but she failed to take any action to remedy that omission for 12 years, she took no action for five years after alleged pension payments became due but were not paid, she failed to act when payments she alleged were made under agreement were reduced in amount and paid only sporadically and she waited additional two years after alleged pension payments stopped altogether to bring this action seeking equitable relief in form of constructive trust.

Davis v. Davis, A10A2195 (07/06/11)

Fulton County Daily Report, July 22, 2011


GA Presumptive Child Support Must be Sum Certain

Judgement modifying parties’ 2005 divorce decree by reducing father’s child support obligtion to $981.25 per month plus annual payment of 25 percent of any gross commissions or other income received above his $3,500 monthly base salary, vacated, 6-1, as trial court erred in including additional annual child support provision without making and applying necessary findings of fact set forth in O.C.G.A. 19-6-15(i)(1)(B); trial court’s construction was contrary to intent of child support guidelines to have each parent contribute to his or her pro rata share of child support and requirement that presumptive child support amount consist of sum certain, which may only be varied, if trial court specifically finds deviations supported by written findings of fact; statute’s plain language mandates that trial court follow child support guidelines by utilizing child support worksheet to arrive at presumptive amount, and that any amount above or below presumptive amount should be considered deviation; case remanded with direction for trial court to enter new order consistent with applicable statutory provisions.

Stowell v. Huguenard, S10A1700 (02/28/2011).

From:  Fulton County Daily Report:  March 11, 2011.

GA Child Support, Divorce, Settlement Agreement, Civil Contempt, Attorneys’ Fees, Expenses of Litigation

Judgement modifying final divorce REVERSED, as trial court erred in modifying decree in order that each ‘ “party shall pay fifity percent of all reasonable medical expenses not covered by the minor child’s medical insurance’ ” since parties settlement agreement specifically expressed that father was to be responsible and pay for all reaonable and necessary uninsured medical, dental and orthodontic expenses; trial court did not err in refusing to find father in contempt of his obligation under settlement agreement to provide health insurance for child, since trial court did not declare that obligation to provide health insurance did not exist or purport to relieve father of that obligation; trial court erred infailing to find father in contempt for failing to pay child support and to impose sanctions, since father admitted on cross examination that his counsel stipulated to amount of his arrearages and Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (“UIFSA”) did not deprive trial court of jurisdiciton over that matter as UIFSA provides that tribunal in Georgia issuing suppport order has continuing jurisdicion with respect to modificaiton of child support orders where, as here, mother and child reside in Georgia and no evidence exists that parties have filed written consents to allow another state’s tribunal to assume continuing exclusive jurisdiction; trial court erred in ruling that father was not in contempt for failing to comply with obligation to refinance 1998 Jeep Cherokee, resulting in mother being liable for 15K in outstnding debt; trial court should address issue on remand that father was in contempt for failing to comply with privision requireing him to pay mother’s divorce attorney $3,750 in attorney’s fees; trial court erred in ruling that father was not in contempt for violating privision in settlement requireing him to maintian life insurance coverage in the amount of 130K; trail court should address on remand mother’s contention that father should be held in contempt for failing to pay $228.60 of child’s uninsured medical expenses; trial court did not err in ruling that father was not in contempt for violating his  obligation to provide medial and dental insurance for child; trial court did not err in finding mother in contempt of decree for severing telephonic communication between father and child; case remanded for futher proceedings reguarding denial of mother’smotion for attorney’s fees under O.C.G.A. § 19-6-2.

Baars v. Freeman, S10A1779

From:  Fulton County Daily Report, April 1, 2011

Judgement ordering appellant to pay to his ex-wife out-of-pocket sum of $64,044.45, in addition to $33,955.55 sum from his share of net profits from sale of parties’ lake house, PARTIALLY REVERSED

Judgement ordering appellant to pay to his ex-wife out-of-pocket sum of $64,044.45, in addition to $33,955.55 sum from his share of net profits from sale of parties’ lake house, PARTIALL REVERSED ; plain language of Paragraph 7 (b) of parties’ post-nuptial agreement stated that appellant was required to reimburse appellee for her separate $98K investment in property solely ‘ “from his 50% share of the net profits,” ‘ not from any separate assets, which he may have, and appellant’s 50% share of net profits was $33,955.55; trial court did not err in ordering that sale proceeds from lake house be used to pay $220,564 line of credit, which parties incurred, since Paragraph 7 (b) defines net profit in relevant part as net of debt on Lake House, with no language limiting term debt to money borrowed to improve house itself; appellee conveyed title to house to bank to secure line of credit, and it is clear that line of credit constituted debt on Lake House with-in post-nuptial agreement’s plain language; appellant’s contention that it would violate Paragraph 16 16(a)(4) of post nuptial agreement – providing generally that debt incurred with express permission of other party – to deduct final line of credit from lake house proceeds, since specific provision will prevail over general one, Paragraph 7 (b) provides that parties’ debt on lake house, which clearly indicates lines of credit secured by house, must be paid off when house is sold, and record showed that appellant was explicity aware of first two lines of credit on lake house, which were used to purchased parties’ martial residence and to fund parties’ juoint business, reguardless of whiter they were made in appellee’s name alone.

Holland v. Holland, S10A1158 (10/04/2010), 10 FCDR 3176

From:  Fulton County Daily Report, October 15, 2010.