What Does Equitable Division Mean in a GA Divorce?
Divorce is a stressful time. It's one that involves many issues that must be settled before a couple can sever their ties and go in different directions. Who gets the house? Will anyone pay alimony? Who will get custody of the children? There are many unanswered questions until the process is settled.
One of the most substantial and contested matters that must be settled when a Georgia couple divorces is the division of property. No matter how long or short their marriage is, this process can become heated and complex quickly. This is one reason why having an experienced Georgia divorce attorney on your side is crucial when going through this process. When it comes to keeping the property, you are entitled to receive, you shouldn't represent yourself or let just anyone represent you.
Georgia: An Equitable Distribution State
Most states fall under two categories for property division in divorce; community property or equitable division. In community property states such as California, Texas, and Washington, all the property is either community property, meaning it's owned equally by each spouse, or separate property, meaning it's only owned by a single spouse. Community property is usually divided between the couple, and each spouse keeps their own separate property.
In Georgia and many other states, equitable distribution takes the assets and earnings the couple acquired during the marriage and divides them equitably or fairly. The "marital" property will be divided equally unless a judge determines that equal division would be unjust.
What if the Property is Yours?
The court presumes that any property either spouse possesses during the marriage is marital property. If it isn't, the spouse claiming the property must show that it is actually separate property. Depending on the type of property and the opinion or flexibility of the other spouse, this can sometimes be difficult to prove. Suppose you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse disagree on who should get such property. In that case, hiring a skilled Georgia divorce lawyer is in your best interest. Your attorney will know how to prove your rights to property and may be able to help you negotiate with your spouse.
What About a Prenup?
If you and your spouse have a valid and enforceable prenuptial or "prenup" agreement, your property will be divided accordingly in the divorce. If for some reason, your prenup agreement isn't valid or enforceable, the property in your divorce will be divided according to Georgia's equitable distribution laws. For example, both you and your spouse must have been represented by your own attorneys when the prenup was signed, and it must be fair. The judge will throw it out if it fails to meet these two conditions or others.
Are You Thinking About Divorce? Talk to a Seasoned Georgia Divorce Attorney Today
If you are considering divorce or if you or your spouse has already filed, you need to know that you have rights. When you hire a seasoned Georgia divorce lawyer, you learn about your rights and have them protected. Contact Banks, Stubbs & McFarland today at 770.887.1209 or online to schedule a case consultation.