Most people believe that when spouses divorce, the property and assets that they have acquired during the marriage are split between the two spouses equally. However, in Georgia, which is an “equitable distribution state,” this is not entirely true. If you are divorcing and you are worried about how your assets and property will be divided, you should talk to an experienced Georgia division of property attorney as soon as possible to protect your interests.
Marital and Separate Property and Assets
First of all, you need to understand that any property or assets that either spouse owned before the marriage is considered separate property, and not subject to the division of property. In other words, if you had property or assets before you got married, those assets or property will still be yours after the divorce. If your spouse had any property or assets before you got married, your spouse will still own that property or asset after the divorce. Only the assets and property that were accrued while you were married, referred to as marital property, will be subject to division during the divorce.
If you acquired your vehicle during the marriage, it will be considered marital property and subject to division. It does not matter whose name is on the title. This would also be true for the house and any other vehicles, boats, tools, furniture, and anything else that you and your spouse accrued during the marriage.
What About Gifts, Inheritances, and Lawsuit Payments?
Any gifts that were given to your or your spouse during the marriage will typically not be included as marital property, however, gifts that you gave each other, as long as the latter were purchased with marital funds, will be considered marital property. Generally, any inheritances or personal injury lawsuit payments, for instance, that you or your spouse received during the marriage would also be considered separate property
Exceptions to the Rules
There are also exceptions to the rules during the division of property for a divorce. For instance, if only one of the spouses owned the house prior to the marriage, but both contributed to mortgage payments during the course of the marriage, the court might deem that amount of equity in the house as marital property. This could also be applied to a retirement account or 401k that only one spouse owned before the marriage, but steadily accrued during the marriage.
What if You Did Not Contribute Financially?
Even if you were a stay-at-home spouse during the marriage or were unemployed during part of the marriage, Georgia courts will still consider you as a partner in the marriage who contributed financially. Maybe you helped to finance your spouse through college and then supported his or her career in a different town while you took care of the home. A multitude of different scenarios could make your situation unique.
If you are divorcing and you are worried about how your property and assets will be divided, you should contact the law offices of Vayman & Teitelbaum today and speak with one of our passionate and knowledgeable Alpharetta division of property attorneys today. We will help you walk away from your divorce with your fair share of the assets and property that you acquired during your marriage.