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How might a Georgia judge divide marital property during a litigated divorce?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2023 | Property Division |

Someone who is thinking about filing for divorce may have a hard time envisioning their future. The longer a marriage lasts, the harder it can be to predict what the future may hold after it ends.

Unless someone has a prenuptial agreement with very clear instructions about what will happen to marital and separate property when they divorce, there are few guarantees about the outcome of Georgia divorce proceedings. Many couples work with their attorneys to negotiate a settlement out of court, but others find that they need to go to court to have a judge rule on their contested divorce filing.

A judge must construct a fair solution

The law in Georgia requires a judge to equitably divide marital property and debts. The final property order should be fair given the unique circumstances of the divorcing individuals. Retirement accounts, real estate, household furnishings and countless other resources acquired during the marriage will be subject to division during the divorce proceedings.

The person who purchased the assets, earned the income or opened the account will not automatically get to retain certain assets. They will have to share anything acquired during marriage or with marital income. A family law judge will consider the length of the marriage, the economic circumstances of the spouses and many other factors when deciding what would be fair. The judge can award specific assets to one spouse or the other. They can order one or both spouses to pay certain debts. They can also order the sale or liquidation of marital property when necessary.

There are very few certainties when a judge decides how to divide marital property. Yet, seeking legal guidance to better understand Georgia’s equitable distribution rule can help divorcing couples better understand what to expect if they need to litigate the dissolution of their marriage.