Johns Creek Property Division Lawyer
Besides child custody, deciding who gets to keep what after a divorce often proves to be one of the most complicated issues that a divorcing couple will face. Under state law, any property settlement agreement must be equitable in nature. Determining what is fair, however, can be difficult. This is one of the areas where an experienced Johns Creek property division lawyer can make the most difference by ensuring that any division of marital assets is fair to both parties.
Georgia is an equitable division state when it comes to property division. This means that all of a couple’s marital assets must be divided equitably between the parties. It’s important to note, however, that equitable doesn’t necessarily mean equal. While a 50/50 split of a couple’s assets could be found to be equitable, there is no guarantee that such a division will take place. Instead, courts are guided by what they believe would be fair in a particular case based on a few different factors, including:
- Each party’s financial status and separate assets;
- Whether one of the parties has been awarded alimony;
- Both parties’ incomes and earning capacity;
- Each spouse’s debts;
- The financial needs of the parties;
- The conduct of the spouses during the marriage; and
- Whether any wrongful conduct on the part of one spouse led to the wasting of marital assets.
In many cases, judges are not required to come up with a property settlement, as the parties were able to reach an agreement themselves on who will retain which property. In these situations, the court will only need to approve the agreement to convert it into a binding court order.
The property division process can really only begin once a couple has identified which assets are marital and which qualify as separate. This rule applies to real estate, vehicles, retirement plans, and debts, even if only one person’s name is on the title or deed. Determining whether an asset qualifies as marital property is critical to the property division process, as it is only marital assets, or assets that were accrued by either party during the marriage, that will be divisible upon divorce.
Separate property, unlike marital assets, includes any asset or debt that was brought into the marriage by the parties. The only exceptions to this rule are:
- Inheritances left to only one spouse;
- Property designated as separate in a pre or postnuptial agreement;
- Gifts from a third party;
- Property acquired after the execution of separate maintenance (legal separation);
- Assets acquired through a legal judgment against the other spouse; and
- Income from or an increase in value of non-marital property.
Separate property can even become a marital asset through commingling. If, for instance, one spouse owned a home before marriage, but the other party helped pay for that home during the course of the marriage, the property could be considered commingled and so subject to division.
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Make sure your own rights and interests in your marital property are protected during your divorce. Call Buckhead Family Law at 470-600-6699 to discuss your case with a dedicated Johns Creek property division lawyer today.