During a divorce, separating marital property can be a complicated process. Marital property division is an integral part of divorce proceedings. Spousal and child support, child custody, and other legal issues may arise during a divorce case; however, separating two people’s financial lives can be challenging.
The law system followed during divorce for dividing debts and property in Georgia is known as “equitable distribution.” In some cases, marital property division is done equally, while in other cases, it is divided between the spouses according to what is “equitable.” In such a case, judges in family court will consider various factors before concluding how the property can be divided fairly. These factors may include the financial and non-financial contributions of each spouse to the marriage.
If a divorce is in your future, you should seek advice from a divorce lawyer in Albany, Georgia. Since property division cannot be altered after a divorce is final, it is crucial to consult an Albany divorce attorney and learn how hiring a legal representative can protect your property rights.
Dividing Marital Assets
Equitable distribution states like Georgia, the first step of the dividing asset procedure is to cautiously list in two categories, separate property or marital property, all property and other assets owned by each spouse.
Typically, any assets owned by a spouse before marriage is considered separate property. marital property division doesn’t count these. However, some assets may be regarded as separate property even when they were obtained during the marriage. For example, property inherited by one spouse during the marriage could be considered separate property. Personal gifts also can be regarded as separate property.
Nevertheless, most property and assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of the spouse’s name stated on the title, are considered to be marital assets. It is crucial for reaching a fair property settlement in a divorce to classify property accurately. Both spouses’ joint property may include assets and debts acquired during the marriage, like bank accounts, cars, credit card debts, retirement plans, and stocks.
The equitable property division rule followed by the Georgia courts, especially when the value of assets and property is significantly high, considers many factors for a fair outcome. Some of the factors considered may include:
- Both parties financial needs
- Any premarital agreements
- The duration of the marriage
- The earning capability of both parties, depending on their age and education
- The behavior of each party during the marriage
- Both parties’ separate assets and property
Protect Yourself During Dividing Marital Property
Sadly, sometimes spouses try to conceal assets during a divorce to affect the property division. You can protect yourself from such unfair actions by monitoring your finances closely. Look out for the following warning signs:
- When a spouse opens multiple bank accounts
- When a spouse takes on uncommon amounts of debt
- When a spouse refuses to disclose bank account information or share passwords
- When a spouse complains of abnormal economic problems
- When the income of a spouse cannot justify their expenses
- When a spouse behaves suspicious and secretive
What About The House?
The family home holds not only financial value but emotional value too. Many divorcing couples cannot agree on who will keep the marital residence and stay in it or how much the house is worth. A divorce attorney can provide you with the best possible options to resolve these issues or determine the best solution for marital property division.
One option may be selling the house, paying the mortgage, if any, and dividing the amount earned. On the other hand, the judge may decide that it is fair for the party not responsible for the divorce to keep the marital residence. Furthermore, if children are involved, the judge may decide to keep living in the house together with the parent with primary physical custody.
What About The Business?
Even if you owned the business before the marriage, part of the company might be considered marital property, if:
- Your spouse contributed to running your business or helping you in any other way, like taking over the housework to let you work without any distractions.
- The business value increased during the marriage.
- Your spouse’s name was included in the business.
- Marital property assets were contributing to the business.
In such a case, the business may be liable for marital property division.
Contact A Divorce Lawyer In Albany, GA
If you are faced with the complex process of separating your financial life from your spouse, you should ask a divorce attorney to help you ensure that your marital property will be divided equitably. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can protect your interests and negotiate on your behalf to achieve the best settlement possible.
Call us today at Joe Durham Jr., P.C. for your free consultation with a highly experienced attorney in the marital property division.