Divorce is a time when you have more questions than answers. For example, what happens to your house? Do you have to share your pension with your soon-to-be-ex? Who will pay off your credit card debt on the cards that are in both of your names?
Trying to make sense of property division in a Georgia divorce can be particularly difficult. Rather than statutory guidance, Georgia applies previous court precedent to litigated divorces. What are the basics that you should know regarding Georgia property division?
The courts differentiate between marital and separate property
If you buy a house during your marriage, it’s probably marital property. A house that you owned outright before you got married or that you inherited from your parents could be separate property. The Georgia courts will usually only attempt to divide your marital property, so demonstrating that certain assets are your separate property can exclude them from division in the divorce.
The judge presiding over the divorce has to consider your situation
There is no basic formula for property division in Georgia. The judge needs to look at many different factors to decide what is fair and appropriate. Your income now, what you contributed during the marriage and even the custody of your children can influence how the courts decide to split your assets and debts.
You don’t have to turn over control to the courts
A surprising number of people don’t understand that litigation is not the only option in a Georgia divorce. You don’t have to have a judge rule on splitting up your property. You and your spouse have the right to negotiate a settlement outside of court for property division and even the custody arrangements for minor children in your family.
Learning more about the basics of divorce proceedings can help you plan for life after an unhappy marriage.