Georgia follows an equitable division model for property division when couples divorce. This means both you and your spouse have a right to assets and obligation to all debts accrued during the marriage.
Review the factors that govern equitable division in Georgia before negotiating your divorce agreement.
Defining marital property
All money either of you earns during the marriage and anything purchased with that money falls into the category of marital property. Examples include retirement accounts, gifts, vehicles, real estate and other assets. The same goes for debts either of you acquires between the marriage and separation dates.
Only certain items constitute separate property, including:
- Assets either person purchased or acquired prior to marriage
- Gifts or inheritances given to only one person during the marriage
- Anything you designated as separate property in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
However, if you “commingle,” or mix, marital property and separate property, it compromises separate property status. For example, if you owned a home before the marriage but your spouse helped with upkeep, he or she can claim a share of the equity.
Equitable division factors
Equitable division does not mean exactly equal. If you and your spouse cannot agree on a fair property division arrangement, you can ask the court to decide. In this case, the judge will consider:
- Each person’s personal and marital debts
- Retirement planning and other future financial needs
- If either of you wasted assets through wrongful conduct (gambling or infidelity, for example)
- Each person’s behavior during the marriage
- Each person’s ability to earn a living and income level
- Whether either of you will receive spousal support
- Each person’s personal assets and finances
Otherwise, you can present an agreement to the court for approval when you receive your final divorce decree.