Divorce means that not only will you and your spouse be separating but you’ll also have to part with certain property. Georgia follows the equitable division rule of marital property meaning couples must divide property fairly not necessarily equally. What’s fair is fair, right? Simple. Not exactly!
First of all, what is property? Property is not just your marital home, your lake house or the plot of land in the country. It includes anything of value, ie cars, furniture, bank accounts, retirement plans, pensions, etc. There are two types of property: marital and separate property. Generally, marital property is acquired by either spouse during the marriage and separate property was acquired by either party before they said “I do”. Why is that so important? Because, in general, marital property is subject to division during the divorce but separate property remains with the original owner. However, as usual, legal exceptions to the general rule may apply. For example, some separate property may have been converted to marital property and gifts or inheritances acquired by one party during the marriage are usually considered separate property.
So, who keeps what? Luckily, divorcing couples don’t have to rely on a total stranger (the judge) to determine where the property goes. In many divorces, the parties are able to agree on the division of real property, belongings, retirement accounts, savings accounts, pensions, etc. When parties CAN’T agree, a judge makes what he/she believes is a fair distribution of property depending on both parties’ income, earning capacity, wrongful spending habits of the parties during the marriage, future needs of the parties, etc. However, when parties have to resort to the judge divvying up the goods, no one leaves the courtroom happy.
Worried that you’ll end up losing your home, car, retirement and life savings just because you filed for divorce? Afraid you’ll be stripped of your pension? Trying to figure out how you’ll get the money you contributed to your spouse’s 401K? Worried that you won’t be entitled to any of the savings account because you stayed home with the kids for years? These are all legitimate questions but easily answered by an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Please contact The Snyder Adams Law Firm, LLC for your free initial consultation.