FAQs About Property Division During Divorce

If you have questions about property division during divorce, then you are not alone. In this section of our website we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions we hear. Our answers will provide you with information about the division of retirement accounts, businesses, real estate, inheritances, and other assets and liabilities. Please browse these FAQ answers to learn more.

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  • Do Equitable Distribution Laws Always Apply in Georgia Divorces?

    Because Georgia is an equitable distribution state, couples must divide all marital assets in a fair and equitable way, regardless of who bought or “owns” it at the time of divorce. Read on to find out more about your divorce property rights in Georgia.

    Do equitable distribution laws always have an effect on property division in Georgia?

    Georgia equitable distribution laws will affect what property you receive, unless you and your spouse drafted and signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

    If you and your spouse did not draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you will need to fill out a Separation Agreement, which will detail who receives what. Remember that you must divide the property equitably. This does not mean that you need to divide everything right down the middle, but it must be a fair division (e.g., you may be able to keep your business if you let your spouse keep the house).

    If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, you must take your case to court, where a judge will decide who receives what. 

    Property division can go smoothly or it can be quite a bumpy road. The property division attorneys at Ward Law Firm can help protect your property rights in either case.

    Contact us today at 770-383-1973 to schedule your REAL Case Analysis.

  • What's the Difference Between Marital Property and Separate Property?

    Because Georgia is an equitable distribution state, couples must divide all marital assets in a fair and equitable way, regardless of who bought or “owns” it at the time of divorce. Read on to find out more about your divorce property rights in Georgia.

    Marital Property vs. Separate Property 

    Marital property is anything that you or your spouse acquired during the marriage, including any wages from work, your marital home (even if you were the only one who bought it), vacation homes, family business, retirement accounts, pensions, collections (e.g., wine, art, etc.), vehicles, checking accounts, etc. This also includes debt, such as credit card debt or student loans, given you or your spouse acquired it during the marriage.

    Separate property includes any assets you owned before the marriage, as well as anything given solely to you (e.g., inheritance, gifts). For example, if you owned your house or vehicle prior to the marriage, it is likely that a court will consider that separate property.

    Contact us today at 770-383-1973 to schedule your REAL Case Analysis.

  • Are There Exceptions to What Is Considered Marital or Separate Property in a Divorce?

    Because Georgia is an equitable distribution state, couples must divide all marital assets in a fair and equitable way, regardless of who bought or “owns” it at the time of divorce. Read on to find out more about your divorce property rights in Georgia.

    Are there any exceptions to what a court usually considers marital or separate property? 

    There are quite a few exceptions to how a court will define property. For example, while something you inherit is often separate property, it will not be if the will named you and your spouse as inheritors.

    Gifts are not always safe from division either. While you would think gifts are your separate property, this is only true if the gifts are from a third party. If your spouse buys you a car, that property will likely be subject to division, especially if your spouse bought it with marital funds.

    In addition, even if you owned your house before marriage, if your spouse helped pay the mortgage, the courts may consider it marital property. The same applies to vehicles.

    A business can be difficult to classify as well. Even if you started your business before you were married, if you used marital assets to help keep the business afloat, it will likely be marital property.

    Division can become even more complicated than this if your assets commingle, or combine. This can occur if you both place money in an account, even if the money you contribute it is a gift or inheritance.

    We recommend you discuss your case with an attorney from the Ward Law Firm who can help trace the origin of the assets and figure out what is separate and what is marital.

    Contact us today at 770-383-1973 to schedule your REAL Case Analysis.

  • How does pet custody work in Georgia divorce cases?

    Many people consider their pets as part of the family. However, the law categorizes pets as property to be divided during a divorce. In many cases, the pet is awarded to only one spouse, thus preventing the other spouse from seeing their pet. But some courts might take an approach that more resembles child custody than property division when it comes to pet custody.

    If you are getting a divorce, consult with an attorney to go over the options you might have to determine custody of your pets. Call the Ward Law Firm at 770-383-1973.

    How is pet custody determined in Georgia?

    Georgia courts determine pet custody based on numerous factors. Because Georgia law considers pets as property, property division laws apply.

    Georgia is an equitable division state, meaning that courts will divide the marital property in a fair and equitable manner. Equitable does not mean equal, so the court may not necessarily split the property down the middle.

    The court will consider all of the couple’s marital property that is subject to division, and divide it in a way it deems fair and just. The pets are lumped in with the rest of the property. But this brings up an important point: when the pet was acquired can affect these cases

    Marital vs. Separate Property

    Marital property is property acquired during the marriage and is subject to division between the spouses during a divorce. Therefore, if the couple acquired the pet during the marriage, the court will consider it marital property to be divided with the rest of the marital property during divorce.

    Any property obtained before the marriage, as well as gifts and inheritance during marriage, is separate property and will not be subject to division. If one spouse acquired the pet prior to marriage or if the pet was a gift to or the inheritance of one spouse during marriage, then it is not subject to division. It is the property of the spouse who acquired the pet or received it as a gift or inheritance.

    Documentation of when you acquired the pet can be crucial in these cases, not only when it comes to custody of the pet, but ownership of any property.

    Will the court make special considerations to determine pet custody?

    As stated above, courts typically apply property division laws when determining pet custody. However, some courts will consider other factors when deciding who should get the pet.  Some of these factors include:

    • Which spouse is more responsible for caring for the pet
    • Which spouse has closer relationship with the pet
    • Which spouse spends more time with the pet
    • Which spouse, if any, has been abusive or neglectful of the pet

    It is important to gather documentation, photos, testimony, and other evidence to create a clear picture of your relationship with the pet, helping the court answer these questions.

    Is joint pet custody an option?

    In some cases, courts will award joint custody of the pet and come up with a shared pet custody agreement. While we are aware of such cases, we have never personally represented a client where this was the resolution to a question of pet custody.

    While sharing custody of a pet may sound ideal, it can become complicated and cause hostility and disagreements in some cases. We encourage our clients to fully consider the property that matters most to them when getting a divorce, whether it be the house, investment properties, or even the family pet.

    If you are getting divorced, call 770-383-1973 to schedule your REAL Case Analysis with the Ward Law Firm. We can discuss all matters relating to your divorce, including custody of your pets.