Georgia is an "equitable division" state (not a "community property" state). This means that marital property in Georgia is divided based upon fairness (which may or may not mean the property is divided 50/50). The parties' debts and liabilities are also equitably divided.
Dividing the accumulated assets and debts of a marriage is often one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. Retaining individual belongings and achieving a satisfactory property settlement in the final divorce decree are paramount goals, especially for high net worth individuals. Sadly, it doesn't always turn out that way.
In Georgia, marital property is to be divided fairly, courts generally consider the following when determining what is fair property division:
- Each spouse’s contribution toward the acquisition and maintenance of the property
- The intent of each spouse regarding the ownership of the property
- The length of the couple’s marriage
- The service contributed by each spouse to the family unit
- The finances and separate assets of each spouse
- The earning potential of each spouse
- How the spouses treated each other while they were married
- Any wrongful conduct that wasted assets
- The future needs of each spouse
- The debt each spouse has incurred
How Is Marital & Separate Property Divided in GA?
Before property can be divided in Georgia, marital property and separate property must first be established. Separate property includes any assets that were acquired before the marriage or were received as a gift/inheritance. Marital property includes any assets that were acquired during the marriage and is subject to equitable division.
What is Marital Property in Georgia?
In Georgia, marital property refers to assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. Some examples of marital property in Georgia include:
- Real Estate
- Any real property, such as the family home, vacation properties, or investment properties, acquired during the marriage.
- Personal Property
- This includes furniture, vehicles, jewelry, artwork, appliances, electronics, and other tangible assets obtained during the marriage.
- Financial Assets
- Bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, pensions, and other financial assets accumulated during the marriage.
- Business Interests
- Ownership interests in businesses or professional practices established or acquired during the marriage.
- Debts incurred by either spouse during the marriage, such as mortgages, credit card debts, car loans, or student loans.
Determining the classification of property as marital or separate can sometimes be complex, especially in cases involving mixed assets or disputes. The Atlanta property division attorneys from Warner Bates can provide specific information on how marital property is defined and how it may be divided in your particular circumstances.
When Separate Property Becomes Marital Property
It's important to note that separate property, which includes assets acquired before the marriage, gifts, inheritances, and personal injury settlements, is generally not considered marital property in Georgia. However, if separate property is commingled or converted into marital property, it may be subject to division.
How is Marital Property Handled in High-Asset Divorce?
Where income and assets are high, or if a business is involved, it may be extremely challenging to determine the true value of marital and individual assets and liabilities. Tax considerations increase the complexity of the task even further. It is imperative to employ high-quality business and asset valuations from experienced attorneys in order to get a fair return on your financial and non-financial investment in the marriage.
Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Georgia?
In Georgia, the house is considered marital property. It will be divided equitably between the spouses unless the court finds that equal division would be overbearing. With that said, the home could be awarded to either spouse or sold, and the proceeds divided.
It is important to note that the court does not have to award the house to the spouse who wants it the most. The court's decision will be based on what is fair and equitable in the circumstances of the case.
An Atlanta property division lawyer at Warner Bates can help.
The firm also has strong relationships with:
- Top financial experts
- Certified public accountants
- Various other professionals
These professionals can provide specialized valuation and tax analysis when appropriate. We listen attentively to our clients, learning what's most important to them in any potential property settlement and helping them get the results they want. Our attorneys know what questions to ask and how to untangle the complex web of joint finances.
If you are considering divorce in Georgia, speaking with our divorce attorney to discuss your case is essential. Our property division and family law attorney can help you understand the law and ensure that your interests are protected.
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