Despite dropping rates, divorce remains far from uncommon in the U.S. According to the American Psychological Association, somewhere between 40 and 50% of American marriages ultimately break down.
Even when couples try to separate on good terms, dividing shared property can involve immense stress and uncertainty. In addition to practical and legal considerations, breaking up the family estate frequently involves deeply emotional decisions. In cases where couples cannot agree, it is up to the courts to decide how to divide contested property.
What property is up for division during a divorce?
In Georgia, nearly all types of assets that either partner acquires between the date of marriage and the date of divorce becomes shared property that belongs to the marital estate. These assets are subject to division when a couple divorces.
In addition to physical property, such as houses, cars and furniture, divisible assets may include investments, bank accounts, retirement pensions and certain insurance policies.
What property remains separate?
Assets that one spouse acquired before marriage remain his or her sole property unless that property becomes blended in with the family estate. Other assets that remain separate, unless commingled, include inheritances, personal gifts and items that both spouses agree belong solely to one partner.
Do the courts consider both marital and separate property?
Separate property may not be subject to division, but each spouse must offer it for the court’s consideration at the beginning of the divorce process. This gives the judge a full picture of each partner’s financial circumstances, allowing him or her to make an informed decision about distributing shared assets.
What does it mean that Georgia is an equitable distribution state?
As in most other states, Georgia courts divide marital assets equitably but not necessarily equally. When distributing property, a judge will consider a wide range of factors, including current and future earning capacities, childcare contributions and the conduct of each spouse during the divorce process.