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When filing for divorce, you will need to start getting ready to figure out how the marital property and assets will be divided. The laws on how the property will be divided from between states. In the state of Georgia, it is called equitable division. Equitable division means that the spouses have to divide the property fairly, but not necessarily equally. For example, if one of the spouses gets the house, the other will receive property of similar value.
As mentioned, marital property, or assets, will be divided fairly between the spouses upon divorce. Before this can happen, there needs to a clarification on what is marital property and separate property. Marital property typically includes assets and debts the couple incurs while married. Separate property is property that belongs to an individual spouse. Separate property includes assets that were brought into the marriage, gift acquired during the marriage, items bought with separate property, or any increase in the value of separate property. Once it has been established what is marital property, the next step is figure out the value of the property. This is normally done by the couple or the court, it is possible to hire an appraiser if the task proves to be challenging.
Spouses can divide assets by assigning certain items to each spouse, or by selling property and dividing the proceeds. They can also agree to hold property together, though most people don’t choose this option because it requires continuing financial entanglement. But there are some situations where it makes sense–for example, some couples agree to keep the family home until children are out of school. Others may keep investment property in hopes it will increase in value.
Once the value of the property has been established, the spouses can begin the division. The assets can be divided by assigning certain assets to each spouse or by selling the asset and dividing the proceeds. There is also the option for the spouses to both hold the assets together, however this option is not really used unless it is in the best interest of another person, for example for the children to keep their family home until they are done with school. Along with the division of assets, any debts they couple may have also need to be divided between the spouses such as mortgages, credit card debts, or car loans.
If the couple is having difficulty dividing the property, it will be up to the judge how the property will be divided. There are a number of factors that are considered when dividing marital property and assets for a divorce such as:
- The length of the marriage
- Living arrangements for the children
- The type and value of the property
- Each spouse’s contribution to the increased earning power of the other
- Each spouse’s needs, including future needs
- Each spouses’ service as a parent, or homemaker
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The age and health of each spouse
- Each spouses’ debts
- The separate property of each spouse
- Any prenuptial or separation agreements
The court will also look at different factors for each case and will do the best to make sure the property is divided equally. If you have significant assets or complex assets issues, it is best to consult with a divorce attorney that is experienced in asset division as soon in the process ass possible.
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Alpharetta, GA 30022
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