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What happens to property in a Georgia divorce?

Dividing assets and debts is one of the most upsetting elements of the divorce process. Even in the most amicable splits, it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you may have to divide nearly everything you have. And figuring out how to even do that can prove to be overwhelming.

As such, it can help to have an understanding of how property division works in Georgia and what you can do to make the process a little easier.

Equitable distribution

The first thing to understand is that Georgia is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital property is divided in a manner deemed equitable, or fair. This is not the same thing as equal, though it is not uncommon for division to be nearly equal.

In order to determine what is fair, divorcing spouses (or the courts) examine various factors, including each person's earning capacity and contributions to the marriage. Based on these factors, parties will determine how to divide assets and debts.

Separate assets

Not all property is subject to division in a divorce; separate property may be shielded from distribution. Separate property includes property that belonged to one person before a marriage and specific assets like inheritances or gifts given to only one spouse. If you have separate property, you can generally expect to keep it.

However, disputes can arise when parties do not agree on whether property is in fact separate.

Don't forget about these properties

Most people know that bank accounts, homes and cars will typically be divided in a divorce. Though, it can be easy to forget other properties like

  • Retirement accounts
  • Personal property
  • Valuable collections
  • Memberships
  • Intellectual property, like patents and copyrights
  • Digital assets, including cryptocurrency

Making property division a little easier

Considering everything that is involved and at stake when it comes to property division in a divorce, it is easy to get overwhelmed and anxious.

To make things a little easier, it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with your marital assets and finances prior to divorce. You can also work with a financial professional to appraise complex assets and an attorney who is well versed in property division processes and laws.

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