How Assets Are Divided in Divorce
Not everyone’s marriage ends in happily ever after. Sometimes, they end in divorce. The divorce process usually comes with a host of financial and legal issues. But understanding the laws can help you better understand the best options for your specific situation. If you are wondering how your and your spouse’s assets would be divided when you get divorced, here’s what you need to know.
What Are Separate Property and Marital Property?
Generally speaking, the rules for identifying what’s separate property and what’s marital property are:
- The earnings of both spouses during the marriage and assets acquired using those earnings are marital property. The same goes for debts. Unless a creditor is looking at a particular piece of separate property for payment, they are considered marital debts.
- Separate property includes inheritances and gifts given to one spouse, any personal injury compensation to one spouse, and pension benefits that have been vested before the marriage. Likewise, any property acquired using one spouse’s separate funds is separate property. In addition, while a business that one spouse owned before marrying remains their separate property, a portion of the business may be deemed marital property if both spouses handled the business, or its value increased during the marriage.
It’s also crucial to note that property acquired using a combination of marital and separate funds will likely be considered partly non-marital and partly separate, provided that a spouse can give evidence to prove the use of the combined funds. Likewise, separate property mixed with marital property will likely be considered marital property.
What is Equitable Distribution, and What Does It Have to Do With Property Division During Divorce?
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the issue of property division, a judge or jury will divide the property for you. In Georgia, courts follow the equitable distribution rule. Take note that equitable does not mean an equal split of the property between you and your spouse. It means that the judge will distribute the property based on what they deem is fair for everyone. The judge will consider these factors when distributing property:
- How long the marriage lasted
- Either spouse’s prior marriages
- The age and overall health of each spouse
- Each spouse’s income, employability, and skills
- If one spouse contributed to the other spouse’s education
- Each spouse’s future earning capacity
- Each spouse’s economic circumstances
- Both spouses’ standard of living while married
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, such as income, child-rearing, homemaking, etc.
- Both spouses’ income, including health insurance, retirement benefits, etc.
- The potential tax ramifications on each spouse
Get In Touch With a Top Suwanee Divorce Attorney Today
To sum up, there’s really no set formula for dividing property in a Georgia divorce. If you and your spouse can agree on who gets which property, great. Otherwise, the court will have to step in. If you need more information or have any questions about property division before you get a divorce or even while in the middle of one, please don’t hesitate to contact the Suwanee divorce attorneys of Banks, Stubbs & McFarland. You can arrange your complimentary case review online or by calling 770-945-2320.