In October, 2009, the Supreme Court of Georgia issued its opinion in the matter of Coe v Coe. In this case, the Husband contributed money that he received in a personal injury law suit, which would normally be considered separate property, toward the purchase of the marital home titled in the names of both the husband and wife.
Courts have customarily used Source of Funds methodology, based on Thomas v Thomas and other cases, to calculate separate and marital interest in a marital home. These methodologies consider whether the down payment, mortgage payments and improvements were made from separate or marital funds, regardless of the name on the property’s title.
In Coe v Coe, the Supreme Court determined that 100% of the equity in the home was marital, based solely on the fact that it was titled in both names. In the Supreme Court’s opinion, the title transfer created the presumption of a gift to the marriage, rendering the source of funds irrelevant. This is one of several cases in recent years that appear to be eroding the long-standing Source of Funds rule and it will be interesting to watch continued evolution in the courts.
There are many cases that impact this issue. Some of the most important are:
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