Throughout your marriage, you and your spouse may have shared a bank account and most of your other property in addition to combining your households. When you divorce, you have to separate your resources and assets from those of your spouse.
This process is often fraught with conflict and confusion. Many people have unrealistic expectations about property division in a divorce. Understanding the rules that apply to your assets during a Georgia divorce will help you fight for the best possible outcome at the end of your marriage.
Georgia is not a community property state
Many people have heard stories about spouses forced to divide every asset that they have in half or at least to split the value of their possessions evenly. That specific outcome would be unlikely in a Georgia divorce. Rather than applying the community property standard, the courts want to promote the equitable distribution of your assets.
Instead of just splitting everything 50/50, there is much more involved. Everything from your health and your custody arrangements to the length of your marriage and your unpaid contributions to the household will influence how much of the marital assets and debts you will receive in the divorce.
Your marital property is vulnerable to division
Once you get married, unless you signed a prenuptial agreement ahead of time, what you earn and the assets you purchase will belong to both of you. The property and the debts that you accumulate during your marriage will make up your marital estate, and all of that marital property is potentially subject to division in your divorce.
However, some of your assets may be separate property. Items that you owned before you got married and income you earned while still single are your separate property. Any inheritance that you received either before or during your marriage is also separate property.
Assets held in just one spouse’s name may be marital property if acquired during the marriage or with marital income. Your marital property and not your separate property will typically be what you have to split when you divorce. It may take some effort to determine which assets are separate and which are not. Recognizing the complexity of the property division process can help you better advocate for yourself as you plan your divorce.