One of the first questions people have when considering a divorce is how much of their property they will get to keep. Almost everyone has heard a horror story about a stay-at-home parent left homeless or a working spouse who loses everything from their home to their retirement account.
The good news is that Georgia family law specifically has rules intended to protect both spouses from unfavorable or unfair outcomes in a divorce. The better you understand how the Georgia family courts will split up your property, the more comfortable you will probably feel moving forward with your divorce.
A Georgia family law judge wants a fair property settlement
There are multiple different standards for property division in use across the United States. Georgia uses the same standard as many other states. Under equitable distribution rules, the goal in divorce proceedings is fairness or equity.
In order to determine what is fair, a judge first has to familiarize themself with a family’s circumstances. The courts may consider the length of the marriage, the earning potential of both spouses, custody arrangements for children and even health issues when deciding how to split up property. They can use debts and assets to create a solution that works for everyone.
What assets will you have to split with your spouse?
In order to fairly split up your property, the courts have to look over an inventory of your household assets and debts. They can try to find solutions that are fair and reasonable. Only your marital property will get split up in a divorce.
Your separate property has protection from division in most cases. What you earn, purchase and acquire during marriage usually becomes marital property. Inheritances, gifts and assets or debts from before your marriage will likely stay your separate property that does not get split up.
Looking over your household finances and also at your physical assets can give you a better idea of the value of your marital estate and help you determine what to ask for when you file for divorce. You may also choose to negotiate terms with your spouse outside of court for an uncontested filing, which gives you more direct control over the outcome.