How to Protect Marital Property in Marriage and Divorce
Married couples have assets they acquired before and during the marriage. Shared property allows you and your spouse to enjoy the benefits that real estate, retirement and investment accounts, and other assets can provide.
But in a divorce, knowing who has ownership of assets plays a major role in your financial protection and long-term wellbeing. Understanding how Georgia courts treat marital assets can help you make sure that you protect yourself for the future.
Identifying Your Marital Property
A divorce requires both parties to split up marital assets and property. These include assets acquired during the marriage and, in some cases, assets owned by either party before the marriage.
But dividing assets in a divorce can be a complicated process. Consulting with a skilled family law attorney helps you determine what assets may be at risk of being divided in your divorce case.
If you or your spouse have shared business interests, the process can be even more difficult.
In addition to your marital assets, any appreciation or income earned from your assets during the marriage may also be subject to division by the courts.
Georgia Divorce and Marital Property
In the state of Georgia, marital assets are the only property that can be divided by the court in a divorce.
But some separate assets may be commingled with marital assets, causing them to also be at risk of being divided.
If one partner contributes to the appreciation of separate assets owned by the other party, the value of that appreciation may be included as part of your marital assets.
How Georgia courts classify the property you own determines the outcome of your divorce. If funds acquired through an inheritance or a gift before the marriage are used to fund a shared business, you’ll need to consult with your family law attorney to figure out what assets may be at risk.
Factors that courts consider when dividing and distributing marital property include the financial status of each person as well as evidence of misconduct that negatively impacted shared assets.
Courts can also take into consideration the financial needs that each party may have in the future as well as the behavior of each party during the divorce.
Protecting Your Marital Property in Georgia
Working with an experienced attorney can give you the resources you need to protect your marital property under Georgia state law.
You have to determine what assets may be viewed as marital property by the courts and identify how and when they were acquired.
In some cases, marital and separate assets may be used to provide spousal support. In a divorce, each party’s contribution will be assessed to ensure a fair division and distribution of marital assets.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can protect marital assets by outlining how property will be treated in the event of a divorce or other unforeseen events.
But these agreements may not provide complete protection of your assets, so you should consult with your attorney to determine the best legal options to meet your needs.
Keeping accurate financial records lets you show the courts how your assets were acquired and used. It’s also a good idea to avoid commingling assets.
It’s ultimately up to a court judge to determine how your assets will be divided, unless you and your spouse come to an agreement in advance. Understanding how marital and separate assets are identified helps you protect your financial interests for the future.