One of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is determining how to split up the marital property. Items that a couple spent years collecting must be divided. This can include everything from vacation homes to furniture to the family pet.
If you are considering a divorce, a knowledgeable Forsyth County division of assets lawyer can help advocate for what is most important to you. Let an experienced family law attorney help you work toward a property agreement that is right for you.
During a divorce, a Georgia court will only concern itself with dividing assets and debts that are considered marital property. Marital property includes any item purchased or debt incurred by either spouse during the marriage.
A court will generally not split up separate property, which is anything that a person owned or owed before the marriage or any property they received individually as a gift or through inheritance. If someone purchased or received property that was not a gift or an inheritance while still married, it is considered marital property even if the other spouse never used it, paid for it, or wanted it.
Anything considered marital property is subject to equitable distribution by the court. Equitable distribution means that a judge will distribute the marital estate in a way that is fair, rather than strictly equal. What is fair often depends on the circumstances of the case and each party’s financial circumstances.
Some of the factors a court may consider in deciding what is a fair asset distribution include:
When dividing a former couple’s property, a judge generally will not leave one person impoverished and the other with all the assets. Usually, the person with the greatest ability to pay will shoulder more of the joint debts, and the person with fewer resources will receive more of the marital assets.
Though a judge may have a significant amount of power to divide the marital estate, the division of shared assets and debts is often not decided by the judge. Instead, nearly all divorcing couples in Forsyth County will be required to attend mediation with their attorneys, during which the parties will negotiate who will get what assets and who will pay what debts. This process is usually more satisfying for everyone involved because each person has more control than they would at trial where a judge decides everything for them.
While going through mediation saves all parties time and money, it may not be easy. The parties to a divorce often must make difficult decisions, such as selling the family home or dividing up retirement accounts. Fortunately, Georgia law provides guidelines for how debts and assets should be divided, and working with a knowledgeable Forsyth County attorney can help minimize any financial surprises.
The financial burden of divorce can be significant. By planning ahead and protecting your assets, you can be sure that your financial future is safe. A Forsyth County division of assets attorney could help you secure the things you love and create a plan to manage any joint debt. Schedule an appointment with a member of our team today to learn more about how to protect your rights in a divorce.