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).
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