You're just concerned with planning the perfect wedding. You're probably not thinking about what will happen to your perfect coffee table if you get divorced. But if you're in one of the many states without marital or community property laws, a judge could decide who gets that coffee table, along with any property gained during your marriage. Property is usually divided based on whether a state follows the legal theory of community property or equitable distribution. Georgia, like most states, doesn't recognize community property where everything acquired by each spouse during the marriage is owned equally by both spouses.
Property Division in Georgia
In Georgia, property division during divorce is governed by court cases instead of legislative statutes. Georgia courts will generally distinguish between what's marital property and what's separate property. Marital property is defined as those assets acquired during the marriage, like real estate, stocks and bonds, cars, income, and some insurance policies. Assets defined as separate property will normally include property acquired before marriage, gifts, inheritances, and items you and your spouse agree are separate property.
While Georgia courts have complete discretion when distributing marital property, they'll normally consider the following factors:
- The financial status of each spouse;
- What the separate property entails;
- Evidence of misconduct, by either spouse, resulting in waste of assets;
- The behavior of each spouse during the divorce process; and
- The future needs of each spouse.
Courts will generally distribute property in what they believe is a fair manner based on the case. But keep in mind that a judge may consider who's at fault for a divorce when dividing marital property. For example, in a case of adultery, it's possible that the innocent spouse could receive more from the settlement if he or she can prove that cheating occurred.
Georgia Marital Property Laws at a Glance
While it's important to read the actual statute when conducting legal research, it can also be helpful to read a summary of the statute in plain English as well. Below you can find a brief overview of Georgia's laws relating to marital property as well as links to relevant statutes.
||Georgia Code Section 19-5-1, et seq. (Divorce)
|Community Property Recognized?
|Restrictions on Property During Divorce
Once a divorce petition has been filed, property cannot be transferred by either spouse unless it's to pay of a preexisting debt.
|Dower and Curtesy
Dower and curtesy abolished as per Section 53-1-3
Georgia Code Section 44-1-1, et seq. (Property)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Georgia Marital Property Laws: Related Resources
If you'd like more information and resources related to this topic, please visit the following links:
Have Questions About Georgia Marital Property Laws Questions? Get Legal Help
If you have questions about marital property laws or property division in Georgia, it's a good idea to speak with a local divorce attorney who can answer your questions and guide you through the divorce process. Having more information and help as early as possible is the best way to avoid problems down the road.