How Is Property Division Determined in Georgia?
Oct. 23, 2020
According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, in 2019, there were 11,205 divorces and annulments statewide. Going through a divorce can be an emotional and overwhelming experience that can affect every aspect of your life, including your assets and finances. An important question that usually arises is who gets what in a divorce.
If you are considering divorce or amidst the divorce process, and trying to understand how property division is determined, consulting with a knowledgeable Georgia family law attorney is important for proper guidance. Attorney Banks-Ware can offer you the experienced legal counsel and advocacy you need to navigate the asset division process. As your legal counsel, she will fight compassionately to protect your rights and what is yours. She proudly serves clients throughout Lithonia, Covington, Conyers, Decatur, and McDonough, Georgia.
Marital Property vs. Separate Property
Issues of asset or property division often arise during the divorce process. Couples going through a divorce or legal separation need to decide how their assets, real estate property, and debts will be distributed. During the divorce and property division process, assets are categorized into the following:
Georgia legislature describes marital property (or community property) as all assets and debts acquired by both spouses during their marriage. This includes the marital home, cars, income, royalties, bank accounts, rents, stocks, credit card charges, 401k accounts, and all other assets or debts accumulated during the couple's marriage.
Under Georgia law, separate property is described as any property owned or debts accumulated by one of the spouses before their marriage. Gifts or third-party inheritance received by a spouse during the marriage will also be considered as separate property.
Who Determines How Assets Are Divided?
Generally, the property division process in a Georgia divorce may be classified as either contested or uncontested.
In an uncontested situation, the spouses mutually agree on how the property will be divided. The details of the agreement must be documented in a marital dissolution agreement. The agreed-upon terms will be filed with the Georgia court for official approval.
In a contested property division, the spouses are unable to agree on one or more essential terms of how assets should be distributed. A court hearing may be required, where the judge will pronounce a final verdict.
How is Property Divided in Georgia after a Divorce?
Georgia is an "equitable distribution state." This means that all marital property acquired during the marriage is subject to an "equitable" division. The following factors will be considered when determining fair property division in a divorce:
The duration of the marriage
Each spouse's financial status and separate assets
Each spouse's income, earning capacity, and debts
Alimony awarded to either spouse
Family responsibilities of each spouse
Each spouse's conduct towards the other party during the marriage
The future needs of either spouse, including retirement planning
Wrongful conduct resulting in a waste of assets or finances by either spouse
Who Keeps the House in a Divorce?
Under Georgia law, a marital home is considered joint property. Therefore, the house should be divided equitably and fairly. However, the court believes that in the best interest of the children, it is important that they have a stable home. Hence, the custodial parent may get the house, while the non-custodial parent will get another property of equal value (or monetary value).
However, if they won't be able to keep the marital home, due to financial responsibilities, the judge will order its sale. Proceeds from the sale will be distributed evenly or as indicated by the divorce order.
Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today
Going through a Georgia divorce involves a lot of complex processes. Negotiating a settlement or dividing assets with your estranged spouse can make the process even more overwhelming. Thankfully, a knowledgeable Georgia family law attorney can provide the proper guidance you need and help you navigate key decisions.
Attorney Banks-Ware is committed to providing outstanding legal services and comprehensive representation in matters of divorce and asset division. As your legal counsel, she will work diligently with all parties involved to resolve matters of property division productively. Noreen Banks-Ware provides experienced legal counsel, dedicated representation, and will fight to protect your best interests.
Contact E.N. Banks-Ware Law Firm LLC today to schedule a one-on-one consultation with a knowledgeable Georgia family law attorney. She is proud to serve clients across Lithonia, Covington, Conyers, Decatur, and McDonough, Georgia.