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Marietta Family Law Blog

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.

Preparation can make a high-asset divorce smoother

Regardless of how amicable two parties may be, there is no such thing as an easy divorce. The process is challenging and legally complex even when two Georgia parties are willing to work together and have productive negotiations about the details of their final divorce order. Preparation can lessen the difficulty of this process, particularly for high asset divorces.

A high asset divorce involves the division of valuable marital property, including everything from valuable assets to bank accounts. Negotiations are high stakes, and there is a lot on the line. If you are facing the prospect of a high asset divorce yet want to do everything possible to make this process easier, it can be helpful to learn how you can prepare for what lies ahead and learn how to pursue a strong post-divorce future.

Working toward financial security after your divorce

Despite the emotional upheaval, there may be things you are looking forward to when your divorce process is over. Maybe you plan to change your name, take a trip or finish your degree. Perhaps you have already set aside some time to thoroughly examine your finances and create a plan for your future.

Unfortunately, waiting until your divorce is finalized to begin thinking about your financial situation may set you up for years of struggle. There are many things you can do now, and financial advisors recommend completing some of them as soon as possible to avoid negative consequences.

As the lesser-earning spouse, you could have a claim to alimony

If you earned less than your spouse over the duration of your marriage or you did not work for a large portion of your marriage, the prospect of divorce could be frightening. As the lesser-earning spouse, you may have serious concerns about your financial stability after the process is finalized.

Georgia readers may know that while the end of a marriage will bring certain financial changes to your life, it is possible that you could have a rightful claim to alimony. You could receive alimony, also called spousal support, through either a court order or a financial agreement reached as part of the final divorce order. You may find it beneficial to seek an understanding of your options and how you can protect your financial interests in a divorce.

Dissipation of assets may damage your post-divorce future

Your spouse filing for divorce may have been unexpected or a long time coming, but the reality of it is certainly upsetting. When the shock and confusion began to abate, you may have begun to feel fearful. What will your future be like? How will you get along financially? These questions may be especially pertinent if you sacrificed your own career to raise children and keep house while your spouse's career flourished.

One immediate concern may be ensuring that you receive your fair share of the marital assets. In Georgia, as in many states, divorce is guided by equitable distribution laws, meaning that, with a few exceptions, all the assets acquired during your marriage are on the table for division unless stipulated in a prenuptial agreement. However, what if your spouse tries to keep those assets from you?

Getting through a high-asset divorce with your interests intact

As you prepare to walk through the process of divorce, you likely have serious concerns regarding your financial future. This is a normal concern for every Georgia reader who is considering this step, but it is especially true when it is a high-asset divorce. High-asset divorces are often high-stress and high-conflict divorces, yet it is still possible for you to effectively protect your interests.

One of the ways you can lay the groundwork for a strong post-divorce future is to prepare yourself for the process that lies ahead and take the appropriate steps to make sure you are ready. When there are valuable assets at stake, you have no time to lose in taking proactive measures for your own benefit.

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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Marietta, GA 30060

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