For all practical purposes, your marriage is over – but you still have to get through the divorce.
One of the biggest sticking points in most divorces is how to divide up the marital assets and debts. The more you know about how this process works in Georgia, the easier it will be to make good decisions about your future.
This state uses an equitable distribution model
Like most states, Georgia expects couples to divide up the marital assets and debts in an equitable manner – and that doesn’t necessarily mean things will be equal. “Equitable” means “fair,” and what’s fair in one situation might not be fair in another.
Some of the things that need to be considered include:
- The ways in which you and your spouse contributed to the household during your marriage: Even if only one of you worked outside the home, the other person may have provided constant career support, taken care of the household, managed the childcare and more – and that all has value.
- The length of your marriage: If you were married for a year, your spouse can’t reasonably lay claim to half of your assets. If you were married for 30, however, that’s an entirely different situation.
- Whether or not you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement: A prenup or postnup sets up how the division of property should work and can carve out many exceptions to the usual order of things.
- Any bad acts on the part of either spouse: Adultery isn’t usually considered a reason to award one spouse more assets than the other – unless the adulterer spent part of your money on their new partner. Similarly, if your spouse blew money gambling or tried to hide their assets, the court may take that into consideration.
- Each party’s age, health and ability to support themselves: Courts will often take these issues into consideration so that neither party is left destitute because of things they cannot control.
Because the property division process can get very complicated, it’s important that you understand your rights under the law. Experienced legal guidance is essential.