Are the Assets I Owned Prior to Marriage Protected during Divorce?

The division of marital property in a divorce is one of the most complicated components of an already complicated process. The State of Georgia – like many other states – is an equitable distribution state, which means that your marital property will be distributed in a manner deemed fair given the circumstances – rather than necessarily being divided straight down the middle. If you bring property that is yours alone into the marriage, it will generally remain your own separate property, but there are exceptions – and things can become even more complicated if you lived together prior to marriage. Discuss your marital property concerns with an experienced Georgia family law attorney today.

Taking a Closer Look at Nonmarital Property

Sometimes, separate property is clearly separate property, and it remains so throughout the marriage. Often, however, this isn’t the case. If you and your spouse lived together before marriage, it can complicate the matter even further. Consider the following:

  • If you purchased property or other assets separately during the time that you lived together and kept it separate, it should remain separate property, but it could become a complication. For example, if you purchased a car in your name, but it was – or became – a family car, that car may be considered marital property.
  • If you purchased a home together in both your names and lived in it prior to marriage, that home is marital property pure and simple. If you purchased the home together before you married and lived in it as a family, but it’s only in one of your names, it (or a portion of it) will likely be considered marital property. If one of you purchased the house separately and it’s in his or her name alone but it became your family home, the home’s increase in value and equity will likely be considered marital property (at the very least).
  • If you lived together longer than you were actually married, that can also tip the balance toward marital property – rather than separate property.

The equitable division of your marital property means your unique circumstances will be taken into consideration, and your assets will be divided in a manner that is deemed fair given those circumstances.

Determinative Factors

There is a wide range of factors that can affect the division of your marital property – once it’s determined which is separate and which is marital – including:

  • Your marital assets will be offset by your marital debts.
  • Owning separate property can sway how your marital property is divided (if one spouse owns considerably more, for example).
  • You and your spouse’s individual contributions to the marriage will be taken into consideration. For example, if you supported your spouse while he or she furthered his or her education, career, and earning potential or if you stayed home and raised the children while your spouse worked, it is unlikely to go unnoticed by the court.

Don’t Delay Consulting with an Experienced Georgia Family Law Attorney

The division of marital property is complicated at best, but the dedicated family lawyers at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland – serving both Forsyth County and Cumming – are well-prepared to skillfully advocate for a division of marital property that upholds your rights. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 770-887-1209 today.