Atlanta Equitable Division Lawyers
Defending You & Your Estate Throughout Property Division
Property division issues are frequently the most contentious part of any divorce. No matter how amicable you are with your soon-to-be-ex, agreeing on subjects such as who gets the family pets or whether to sell the marital home can be challenging.
Our team knows the ins and outs of property division in Georgia. We'll help you pursue a fair outcome while protecting your assets.
How Property Division Works in GA
Georgia is an "equitable division" state, meaning that courts try and divide property in a "just and right" manner between spouses during a divorce.
It's important to note that "equitable" does not necessarily mean "equal" (as in a 50/50 split)
For example, let's say two parties are divorcing. One party has a high income and can easily afford housing. The other party does not have a high income and may have difficulty affording housing post-divorce. Additionally, the parties jointly decide that the individual with a lesser income should obtain sole custody of their child (or the court reaches such a decision on their behalf).
In such a case, the court may decide to award the party with less income the entirety of the marital home to help them care for the child and reduce the cost of living. This decision may impact other divorce-related processes, such as any child support or alimony dispute the parties have.
Although the parties do not equally split the marital home in this example, they do achieve what the court considers an "equitable" outcome, meaning it's fair to both parties given the circumstances of the case.
Courts consider a variety of factors when deciding how to divide property between spouses, including:
- The financial assets and liabilities each party owns;
- Whether the parties have an alimony, child support, or child custody arrangement that could impact the property division process;
- How each spouse conducted themselves during the marriage;
- Whether either spouse engaged in an action with negative ramifications during property division, such as hiding, selling, or destroying assets;
- The income and earning potential of each party;
- The future needs of each party.
Understanding Marital & Separate Property
In any property division case, there are two types of property:
- Marital property pertains to any property acquired by the spouses during the marriage, or property each spouse contributed to the marriage.
- Separate property pertains to any property owned by a spouse before the marriage, or property obtained during the marriage meant explicitly for one party (such as a gift).
Separate property can become marital property over time, given the right circumstances. This often occurs with marital homes. When a couple spends enough time living together in a home and both parties contribute to the home financially, courts often rule that the home is marital property, even if it started out as the separate property of one party pre-marriage.
Marital property is divided during property division, while separate property is not. At the outset of the property division process, each party must provide the court with a complete inventory of all the separate and marital property they possess. The court may also request the parties to agree on values for certain assets, such as a business owned by one or both parties.
If you want to protect your assets during property division, you need a lawyer you can trust by your side. Harmon Caldwell and his team will work with you to safeguard your assets and pursue an outcome that enables you to thrive financially and emotionally.