As you contemplate divorce, you may be looking to the future. You might be anxious to leave your marriage, even if it’s an unloving or abusive union, and worried about what kind of financial security you’ll have after your separation is finalized. A Georgia high-asset divorce lawyer can help you answer these questions.
Georgia is an equitable distribution state. Understanding how your property or assets will be affected is essential to your life going forward. A skilled attorney can ensure you receive a fair division of property after a divorce, and if you need to split any business assets they are handled fairly as well.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
It’s a common belief that divorces end with either a spouse losing everything, or both partners walking away with half of the property available. Instead, Georgia law rules that the division of property will be “fair.” Property will be distributed equitably, but not necessarily equally, with each spouse getting a fair amount of the property from the marriage.
What’s Considered Marital Property?
Marital property is items or wealth either party acquired during a marriage. If you and your spouse bought a house together while married, it’s likely an asset that could either be granted to one of you during the divorce or a judge could order its sale and the proceeds would be distributed to both spouses.
What Counts as Separate Property?
Separate property, also known as “non-marital property,” is essentially any property that was bought or acquired before the marriage by either spouse. For instance, gifts or inheritances could be considered separate property if they were given to one spouse in a marriage.
However, there have been cases where separate property has been awarded to the other spouse in a divorce to keep the distribution as fair as possible.
What Factors Can Affect Distribution of Marital Assets?
The process to divide marital property might seem cold and calculated, but it’s essential to handle the distribution properly. Circumstances could put one spouse at an advantage over the other after a divorce, so it’s critical to handle the distribution carefully and thoughtfully with the expertise of a skilled attorney.
Can Support Payments Affect Property Division?
Divorce is a negotiation. The court will use factors like earning potential, standard of living, and support payments to determine what is a fair distribution of marital property. In many cases, judges will do their best to ensure an equitable balance of assets or property to both spouses.
Can My Spouse Intentionally Lose Assets to Hurt Me?
If one spouse is likely to receive less property than their partner (often due to their own misconduct during the marriage or divorce), they may try to sabotage the situation by losing, or “dissipating” assets. For instance, if a spouse believes their partner will receive a piece of real estate after the divorce, they might let it fall into disrepair, tanking the property value. The court may order the guilty spouse to reimburse any proven dissipation claims.
Acts of dissipation can also include acting in the sole benefit of oneself unrelated to the marriage, like gambling away large sums of money or purchasing an expensive new car without your partner’s permission.
What Effect Can Abuse Have on Distribution of Property and Assets?
It’s common for victims of abuse to be awarded more property in a divorce, especially if the judge considers it fair for the abuser to give up more property. If the victim can also show the abuse caused financial loss or diminished their ability to earn money, they will almost certainly receive more property.
What If I Was a Stay-At-Home Parent?
In a divorce, parents who remained at home and maintained the household while their spouse earned money are eligible for property. The court will consider their contributions to the marriage. Even though the stay-at-home parent was not earning money, they provided childcare that the couple would otherwise have had to pay for. Your divorce attorney will prove your contributions to secure an equitable division.
Are Debts Always Split Evenly?
Like other property gained in the marriage, debts created in a marriage by one or both partners can be considered marital and subject to equitable distribution. Debt that existed before the marriage is typically considered separate. So if both spouses sign onto a credit card, regardless of who made charges on the card, it’s likely that both spouses may be held responsible for the debt.
However, a judge may not divide the debt purely in half. In some circumstances, the judge will order the spouse who accrued the debt to be responsible for it.
Should I Get a Marietta Divorce Attorney To Help Divide My Property?
Protecting your assets in a divorce can be complicated. Although it might seem apparent who should receive items from a divorce, Georgia law demands the split be equitable. Other factors, like the length of the marriage, if adultery was involved, or if property was owned before the marriage, can influence how it gets divided.
A skilled divorce attorney will be able to guide you through the process and give you advice on how to protect your assets and future.
Call Gentry Law For Help with Distributing Marital Property
Gentry Law and our Marietta family attorneys have been helping Georgian residents for decades, using the law to secure just and fair outcomes. Divorce can be tough, but our team is ready to help you through this difficult time in your life.
You might feel the need to give into your spouse’s demands just to finalize the divorce, but Gentry Law can bolster your claims to ensure you have the property you need to provide for yourself and your family. We’re here to work to get you what you deserve.