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Marietta Family Law Blog

Money conflicts place wealthy marriages at risk

You and your spouse probably had many plans for your future, and some of those plans may have included material success. You focused on your career, or you supported your spouse's business endeavors. You did well, and perhaps your friends envy your financial success.

Unfortunately, you now understand that money does not buy happiness. While most studies show that financial conflict is among the top reasons for couples to divorce, a lack of money doesn't always bring about these conflicts. More often, it is a mismatch of attitudes and values about earning, saving, spending and borrowing that breeds discontent and frustration between spouses.

Equitable division of assets takes time

If you and your spouse are preparing for your divorce, you may be having a difficult time focusing on the practical aspects of your breakup. Whether your divorce is amicable or contentious, you may be struggling to think about your future. Nevertheless, many of the decisions you make now could affect your future for years, so you want to be prudent and thoughtful, especially during property division.

Many Georgia spouses find it possible to work out an equitable agreement for dividing their belongings, but it is not as easy as dealing a hand of cards. For some assets, there are numerous factors to consider beyond the face value of the item.

Important financial considerations before your divorce

Divorce will inevitably bring significant financial changes to your life, and you may have concerns about what these changes will mean for your future. If you are facing the end of a marriage, you understand how important it is to pursue a strong post-divorce future. One way you can do this is to prepare carefully for the process ahead.

The decisions made during divorce will have a lasting impact for years to come for Georgia readers. When making choices regarding a financial settlement or division of assets, it is prudent to consider the long-term implications of each step you take. Knowing what to expect from the divorce process and understanding how you can protect yourself can allow you to pursue security and stability.

Regardless of net worth, all divorces follow a similar path

The particular circumstances of each couple are what make every divorce unique. You may have numerous pieces of real estate, an investment portfolio and a large retirement account, along with other assets, and no children. On the other hand, you may have fewer assets, are still working on building up your retirement account and raising minor children.

The fact is that it doesn't matter whether you have a significant amount of assets or if you have children, everyone must adhere to certain rules when it comes to getting a divorce here in Georgia.

What does your divorce mean for your family business?

Georgia business owners know firsthand how difficult it can be to start a business and work for success. It can take years of hard work, personal sacrifice and determination to make a small business profitable. Significant life changes, particularly divorce, can affect your company, and it is smart for you to take steps to protect yourself and the continued interests of your business. 

Divorce requires the division of all marital assets, which could include your business assets. You may have concerns regarding what this will mean for the company you built, but there are ways you can preserve the future of your operations after divorce. One way you can do this is by knowing what to expect and learning how to avoid common divorce pitfalls.

Did you commingle separate property during your marriage?

There's nothing wrong with sharing during your marriage. After all, you pledged to be together forever. That is, until you decided to divorce.

Now, you face dividing all of the assets you acquired during your marriage. Wait. What do you do about those assets that belonged to you prior to your marriage that you shared with your spouse? Are those assets still yours alone? Maybe not.

Is your spouse trying to pull a fast one regarding assets?

When you first filed for divorce in an East Cobb County court, you may have already started to worry about what types of obstacles your spouse might try to use to delay proceedings or simply to cause you stress as a way to get back at you. At best, you may be able to obtain a final decree with only a few minor snags along the way.

At worst, you could be tied up in an ongoing battle for months if the other party refuses to cooperate and chooses to act out of spite rather than fairness. This likely wouldn't make the situation any easier to bear for you or your children, if you're a parent. There's a big difference, however, between your soon-to-be ex starting arguments or procrastinating when it comes to signing documents or other divorce-related issues and committing illegal acts, such as hiding assets to keep them from being subject to property division.

Why are more older Americans choosing to divorce?

It is not easy to make the choice to move forward with divorce, no matter the age of the two parties. However, a divorce later in life can be more complex for various reasons, particularly financial reasons. Despite the complexity of the process of ending a marriage, many older Americans are choosing to file for a gray divorce.

A divorce between older couples, specifically people over the age of 50, is a gray divorce, and there are many Georgia couples closer to retirement age who are choosing to move forward with a gray divorce. There are many reasons for this, and it may be helpful for you to consider the reasons for this trend if you are considering this option for yourself.

Making two households out of one in a divorce can be complicated

As you begin the divorce process, you may be going through what many other Georgia couples before you have gone through -- you are looking around your home trying to figure out what will happen to everything, including the house. Many people focus on what they perceive to be the larger assets they own such as retirement accounts and investment accounts, but your home and items in it often cause the most controversy during the property division stage of a divorce.

Sure, your home probably fits into the group of your larger assets, but you are probably more sentimental about it than you are about a 401(k). The prospect of trying to figure out who will walk away with what may be daunting, and the process could become complicated.

Do I get half of my ex-spouse's inheritance?

As you and your spouse work through the issues related to your divorce, you may be getting hung up on many aspects of asset division. This may be especially true if you have considerable wealth or complex assets. Numerous real estate properties, complicated investments or priceless art are only a few assets that can slow down your divorce while you go through valuation and negotiation. However, what about your spouse's inheritance?

If your spouse came into money or property, you certainly want your fair share as part of the divorce settlement. Before you can claim a dime of it, it is important to examine when your spouse acquired the inheritance and what he or she did with it.

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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