Thinking about divorce can make even the most stoic person nervous. Not only will you have to completely uproot your life, but you will have to split your property with your spouse. It is common for people to worry about whether property division will cause long-term financial harm.
When you understand how the Georgia courts approach divorce, you will feel more confident about moving forward with your filing. You will also be in a better position to negotiate with your spouse outside of court because you understand the most likely resolution if you litigate.
Georgia is an equitable distribution state
You can generally break most states in the country into two categories when it comes to divorce. There are some states that have community property laws, and there are other states that have equitable distribution laws. Georgia uses the equitable distribution standard.
In a community property state, couples typically have to split their property in half, but that isn’t always the case in equitable distribution states. Equitable means fair, not equal, and what is fair for one family could be very unreasonable in another situation.
A judge has to look at everything from how long you stayed married and how much both of you earn to your separate property and your health when they decide what is an appropriate way to divide the assets from the marriage. Typically, spouses will have to disclose and divide all of their income earned during the marriage and any property they accumulated with that income.
Debts are also subject to division in Georgia. Judges have a lot of discretion regarding the exact way they choose to divide those assets and debts.
You don’t have to wait for the courts to make a decision
Although equitable distribution is the law of the land, it will leave you guessing until the very end of your divorce about what will happen with your money, your home and your credit card bills.
You may be able to use your understanding of equitable distribution to negotiate a settlement with your spouse. If the two of you can arrange your own terms outside of court, then you don’t have to worry about what a judge decides.
Understanding the basics of property division in Georgia divorce will help you plan to protect yourself during and after your divorce proceedings.