Separating financial resources can be a major challenge during a Georgia divorce. Each spouse typically wants to retain as much as possible from the marital estate. The focus during property division negotiations is often on valuable property, including real estate, vehicles and retirement savings.
However, property division in Georgia must also address marital debts. What debts are likely part of the marital estate and could have an impact on the equitable distribution of other assets?
Spouses divide debts obtained during the marriage
The rule for property division during Georgia divorces looks at when couples acquire assets or accumulate certain financial responsibilities. Balances accumulated during the marriage are often part of the marital estate. A credit card solely in the name of one spouse might still be subject to division in a Georgia divorce. Even student loans and other personal loans in the name of one spouse might be part of the marital estate.
Those preparing for divorce will need to create a thorough inventory of both assets and financial obligations. They may also need to look into when someone added to the balance and the purpose of certain purchases. It is possible to exclude certain debts from the marital estate if there is evidence of dissipation or wastefulness.
Spouses should consider how creditors and the civil courts might still hold them accountable for the debt even if the family court declares one spouse responsible for certain financial accounts. Many people find it easier to use marital resources to pay off debts and to take personal responsibility for certain accounts rather than making those obligations of responsibility of their spouse who could potentially default on those debts or declare bankruptcy later.
Identifying the debts that are likely subject to division may help people craft reasonable expectations and more effectively prepare for a Georgia divorce.