Upon marriage, everything a couple acquires is shared or owned jointly. So, when the couple decides it is the end of the line and begin divorce proceedings, these items must be split up. There are two ways the property in a divorce can be split up: equitable distribution and community property. Division of property can be complex, so it is important to speak with experienced family law attorneys that can help you through the difficult time. Vayman & Teitelbaum can provide you with everything you need to know about your assets during a divorce.
Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property
According to Business Insider, nine American states recognize community property laws. Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin allow for debts and any marital assets to be split 50/50. Alaskan residents can opt-in to a community property agreement, as well.
Georgia, on the other hand, is a state that recognizes equitable distribution. This means a couple’s assets and debts are divided by a judge who will decide “fairly” on the split. The decision is based on each person’s earnings and potential earnings, financial need, and private assets.
According to Forbes.com, equitable distribution states allow spouses a claim of all assets in a marriage. In fact, you do not even have to be the “legal” owner to receive the item in a divorce settlement. Factors when a judge weights how to split property and assets vary from state-to-state. So, if you are married somewhere else and move to the Peach State or you are moving outside of it, be aware of the state’s laws.
How to Protect Yourself
The only real way to protect yourself from equitable distribution is to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage. This will ensure that the division of property and assets does not go over 50/50. In fact, this can prevent any assets from being split except for the property the two of you live in.
The Future of Equitable Distribution
Some experts in family law believe it is time for equitable distribution to be changed or at least modified heavily. There are a few ways to protect assets when going through a divorce. Firstly, you should make sure you have collected documentation on the acquisition of any property or assets, including contracts or deeds. It also helps in case your ex makes large purchases prior to divorce. Open your own bank and credit card accounts and close any joint accounts. Finally, keep a close watch over your credit score. By doing these simple things, you can protect yourself.
Vayman & Teitelbaum Can Help
The law firm of Vayman & Teitelbaum can provide you with legal guidance when it comes to family law. With four locations in Georgia, Vayman & Teitelbaum, Attorneys at Law, is available to give you insight into divorce and division of property. Visit our dedicated division of property page to see how we can help you. If you have any questions, contact us and let our experienced attorneys in family law go to work for you.