Dividing Marital Assets During A Divorce
If you are facing a divorce, one of your primary concerns probably involves the division of your property and assets. You are not alone. Almost everyone who goes through divorce is worried about his or her financial future and receiving his or her fair share of the marital estate. When looking for an attorney to represent you, it is important to choose counsel who will take the time to fully explain your property rights and one who will aggressively fight for them.
At Daniels & Rothman, we are those lawyers. Under the direction of attorney Gregory Daniels, we have helped hundreds of clients navigate the divorce process and secure a favorable portion of their property.
How Property Is Handled In A Georgia Divorce
As your counsel, one of our first steps will be to educate you on your property rights. This includes issues regarding:
- Equitable division of marital property: In Georgia, when a couple ends a marriage, all marital property will be divided equitably. This means a fair division of the assets, but not necessarily a 50-50 split. This division includes the homestead, bank accounts, retirement accounts and marital debt. It’s important to note that in some fault-based divorces (such as when one spouse has committed adultery) the judge may award less to the spouse who is at fault.
- Separate/nonmarital property: Some assets are considered separate in a marriage and the property of one spouse only. This includes any property that you owned individually before the marriage, and it also includes any inheritances given only to you. These assets will remain with you and will not be divided during the divorce.
- Commingled property: If a separate property becomes commingled with marital property, there is a chance that it will be divided between you and your spouse. An example might be if your spouse moved into a house you owned, but he or she has been contributing to the mortgage or has made extensive home repairs or renovations. In some instances, we can work with a forensic accountant to “untangle” the commingled assets or trace the assets back to its original source.
One of the issues that can come up in divorce is how property is classified. Proper classification of property is important because it can have a significant impact on your life after divorce. Unlike custody and support orders, a property division agreement may not be changed once a divorce is entered with the court.
Protecting Money And Other Assets During The Divorce Process
During the divorce process, you may be concerned about your spouse wasting money that would have otherwise been divided equitably. This can include expensive vacations, lavish gifts for a boyfriend or girlfriend, excessive gambling or shopping sprees. If needed, our law firm can file a motion for an automatic temporary restraining order that would prohibit the wasting (or dissipation) of assets. If your spouse has already spent down part of your marital estate, we can fight to have that accounted for in the final property division.
Get Answers To Common Questions About Property Rights
The following frequently asked questions about asset division in Georgia are for illustrative purposes and may not apply in your situation. For personalized advice, request a consultation with an attorney at Daniels & Rothman, P.C.
Who Gets The House In A Divorce?
As with other marital property in Georgia, the home that a couple has lived in will be subject to equitable property division in a divorce. Through negotiations, mediation, and/or litigation, it may turn out that you will sell the home and divide the proceeds, or that one of you will buy out the other’s share of the home. Alternatively, one of you may agree to give up other assets, such as retirement assets, in exchange for full ownership of the house. Other factors that may influence allotment of the marital home in your Georgia divorce include the following:
- Did either of the spouses already own the house before the marriage? If so, at least part of the equity may be considered separate property.
- Did you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement? It may specify how you will divide your home or home equity.
- Has either spouse moved out before the filing of a divorce petition? If so, that spouse might be considered to have contributed less to its upkeep than the spouse who remained.
- Has either spouse left the spouse in the home with the children, and is either spouse going to keep living there with the children after the divorce? Answers to these questions may be pertinent to a decision about how to divide the marital home’s value.
How Do Prenuptial Agreements Impact Property Division?
If you and your spouse properly executed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement before filing for divorce, this contract may determine how you will divide your assets, including the house. However, either of you may contest the validity or fairness of the contract. Also, your child custody and support arrangement may have an impact on your property division outcome.
When Is Property Actually Divided (And What If My Spouse Doesn’t Do It)?
Your divorce decree will stipulate who gets what assets. Making it happen may be as simple as removing property from the marital home with a rented trailer. However, some assets may need to be sold and/or retitled. If your spouse doesn’t fulfill their designated responsibilities within a specified period, they may be in contempt of court.