Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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Dealing with the primary residence in a divorce

For many divorcing couples in Georgia, splitting the primary residence will be a major issue during the asset division process. Spouses may claim the residence is separate property if they owned it before getting married. However, matters can become cloudy if marital income was used to pay for repairs and maintenance. Real estate acquired during the course of a marriage is generally considered to be marital property, and it is usually divided equitably during a divorce.

Spouses can make matters simple by selling the property involved and dividing the proceeds between them. For some, however, the emotional bonds to a house can be strong. Spouses may offer to buy their former spouses out, but such arrangements are not likely to satisfy lenders if mortgage payments fall into arrears. Another option is to offer other assets such as retirement accounts, investments or artwork in exchange for real estate.

When spouses are unable to agree, family law judges may order that a primary residence be sold and the proceeds split. However, asset division considerations are subordinate to the best interests of any children involved. Courts often make rulings that involve the children staying with the primary caregiver in the marital residence. Judges may also take the maintenance costs of a property and the incomes of the spouses involved into consideration when making these decisions.

Anxiety and doubt can gnaw away at even the strongest of relationships. However, a prenuptial agreement could prevent such disputes from happening. In situations where no such agreement is in place and an amicable resolution seems unlikely, an attorney may suggest divorce mediation as a better alternative to unpredictable and costly legal actions.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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