While many people might expect to keep half of their property in a divorce, this is not the law in Georgia. As an alternative to equal shares, parties often receive an equitable portion of their property based on what is judged to be fair. If you are in the process of negotiating a divorce, consulting with an experienced family law attorney may help you to protect your property. By working with a well-versed attorney, you have an advocate for your rights by your side at each step.
UNDERSTANDING PROPERTY & ASSETS
In legal terms, assets or property can refer to anything that makes up an individual’s financial worth, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, business interests, trusts, vehicles, and debts (i.e., credit cards, etc.).
Barring certain exceptions, virtually any type of personal property or belongings may be considered. Furthermore, most anything that a couple acquired during their marriage belongs to both of them—these assets are known as marital property. However, because certain items are considered to be marital property, while others are known as separate property, consulting with a lawyer who is familiar with how the assets are divided could prove useful.
DIVISION OF PROPERTY BETWEEN PARTIES
Once the parties know which assets comprise their marital estate and how much any property is worth, they may then attempt to agree on how to split their assets and debts. For example, each spouse might agree that they should keep their respective vehicles. Unfortunately, the division of certain assets is often a contentious process.
When a couple cannot decide how these assets should be divided, a judge can instead make a decision based on several factors. While there is no set formula for determining what is fair, a judge may consider the length of the marriage, each person’s contributions to the family unit, and additional factors. The judge might also look at the needs of each spouse, as well as the financial resources of both parties.