Ask a Family Law Attorney: How Is Property Split in Georgia?

Ask a Family Law Attorney: How Is Property Split in Georgia?

If you are getting divorced, one of the things that must happen is a division of the property between yourself and your spouse. Different states have different methods of dividing property. Community property states, for instance, have different rules than equitable distribution states.

Georgia is an equitable distribution state. Property will be divided between spouses based on whether it is separate property or marital property. Working with Atlanta’s top family law attorneys will ensure that you get the property that you should have from your divorce and that you get the support you need. 

What Is Marital Property?

There are two different types of property to consider when going through a divorce. The first type is marital property. This is property that was acquired by either spouse during their marriage. In certain circumstances, some pieces of property acquired during the marriage may be considered separate property. For instance, if something was specifically willed to one spouse, that might be considered separate property.

Examples of marital property also include the couple’s marital home, vehicles, gifts that were given to one spouse by the other, and the spouses’ 401ks.

What Is Separate Property?

The other type of property involved in a marriage is separate property. This is property that was acquired by either spouse outside of the marriage. When going through a divorce, separate property will be kept separate. So, what each spouse owns on their own, they get to keep.

There are some types of property that may be acquired outside of the marriage that might still be considered marital property. In some marriages, especially in cases where one or both spouses own a lot of high-value property, a prenuptial agreement may be signed to help designate a couple’s property in case of divorce.

How Is Marital Property Divided?

The first thing that the court needs to do is determine what assets are marital and what assets are separate. Once they determine what the couple’s marital assets are, they can begin dividing them. Because Georgia is an equitable distribution state, the judge has complete discretion when determining how to divide property.

There are several factors that a judge will consider when dividing this property. For instance, they will think about each spouse’s income, the financial status of each spouse, the future needs of each spouse, and any future debts that the spouses may have.

Is It Necessary to Go to Court to Divide Property?

Going through a divorce is already a stressful and difficult thing. You may be eager to avoid going to court to divide all your property, and for good reason. It can be expensive to bring your case in front of a judge, and it can prolong the divorce.

You may be able to avoid this by settling outside of court. In many cases, couples can negotiate their property division without needing to go in front of a judge by coming up with a written settlement.

Who Keeps the House?

Your marital home is likely a major component in your divorce. Having to move into a new place is difficult and expensive, so it makes sense that you would want to be mindful of who keeps the house. There are several factors that might go into who a judge deems should keep the marital home.

For instance, if there are any children involved in the divorce, the judge will most likely give the custodial parent the house. That’s because the aim is to keep life as stable as possible for the kids.

Should You Hire a Lawyer?

It might be tempting to try and reach a settlement on your own without the help of a lawyer. However, even in the case of an amicable separation, it’s a good idea to hire a qualified lawyer to give you the support you need.

There may be some elements of the legal system that you don’t know enough about, and you could end up losing property that you might otherwise have been able to keep. It’s worth getting a lawyer to make sure you avoid making any mistakes, especially if your ex is hiring a lawyer for themselves.

If you are getting divorced and worrying about how property is going to be divided, understanding how Georgia divides property can help. You should also think about hiring a lawyer to help you with the divorce process, even if you are going through an amicable separation. Your lawyer will make sure property is divided fairly, and that your rights are respected.