Splitting Assets in a Divorce: What’s Yours in the Divorce Settlement?

splitting assets in a divorce

Ending your marriage doesn’t have to be an all-out battle if you take the time to plan ahead and stay organized throughout the proceedings. By understanding your legal rights, getting an experienced lawyer on your side, and working with your spouse to come up with a divorce agreement that works for everyone involved, you can ensure that each party receives their due without having to resort to expensive court battles.

Whether you’re looking for tips on dividing up family finances or want advice about protecting yourself in a high-asset divorce situation, Edwards Family Law has you covered.

Speak with an Atlanta divorce lawyer today to make sure that everything is handled fairly when it comes time to split assets in a divorce settlement.

Understanding the Role of Equitable Distribution in Deciding Who Gets What

Equitable distribution is when marital property is divided between spouses based upon fairness rather than strict equality. This means that one person may receive more property than the other, depending on certain factors such as economic needs or contributions made to the marriage by either party during their time together.

In some cases, couples come up with a mutually agreeable arrangement without court intervention. If they cannot agree on a fair division themselves, however, an Atlanta divorce lawyer can help represent them in court proceedings and negotiate terms of equitable distribution.

In any case in which equitable distribution applies, both parties should be aware of its implications, so they have realistic expectations regarding the outcome of their split settlement.

Common Types of Assets Eligible for Division in a Divorce Settlement

Commonly divided assets in a Georgia divorce are “marital property”—or property gained during the marriage—and can include:

  • Real estate
  • Financial accounts and investments
  • Furniture and other household items
  • Vehicles
  • Pensions and retirement plans
  • Business interests or professional practices
  • Insurance policies with cash values
  • Debt obligations owed by either spouse
  • Physical possessions that have monetary value

Separate Vs. Marital Property 

When it comes to a divorce settlement, the first step is identifying separate versus marital property since the separate property will be excluded from asset division in divorce proceedings.

This can be tricky because what one spouse may think of as their own asset or income could actually belong to both parties in the eyes of the law.

Separate property includes any items acquired before marriage, such as real estate and investments made prior to becoming married. Anything owned by only one person after getting married is also considered separate property. In Georgia, gifts given specifically to just one partner during the marriage will remain separate property, too.

Marital property, on the other hand, is everything else—assets acquired while married like vehicles and bank accounts with both spouses’ names on them, pensions earned while married, furniture purchased together during the marriage… basically anything not listed as separate property falls into this category.

Addressing Liabilities in a Divorce Settlement

When it comes to divorce settlements, addressing liabilities is just as important as figuring out what’s yours.

Liabilities can come in many forms and could have a major impact on the outcome of your settlement. You must consider all potential outcomes when assessing how much you may receive (or owe) in a divorce settlement.

In addition to debts like mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and student loans, also be aware of taxes that need to be paid off or any liens against the property that needs to be addressed. You’ll want to make sure all such obligations are considered when coming up with an agreement, so you maintain financial security after the divorce.

It’s worth talking over everything with your attorney before signing anything related to your assets or liabilities during the course of the proceedings. That way, both parties will know exactly where they stand financially once the process is complete.

Factors Used by Courts to Divide Assets in a Divorce

The first factor courts take into account is each spouse’s financial situation before marriage, as well as their contributions to the marital property during the course of the marriage. Ultimately, however, most courts strive for an equitable split between both spouses rather than awarding all assets or debt solely to either party.

The court will evaluate various criteria, such as earning power, prospective income streams generated by certain pieces of property, and other qualitative elements that could sway the judge’s opinion on how best to divide up items between ex-spouses. Taking these considerations into account can help ensure that splitting assets in a divorce results in an outcome that fairly benefits both parties involved.

Examining the Impact of Pre- and Post-nuptial Agreements on Asset Distribution

Pre-and post-nuptial agreements are often considered by courts when determining who gets what during the settlement process.

The contents of each agreement vary but usually include an outline of which property will be subject to division or if there is any type of spousal support that should be paid out. They may also address other financial issues, such as debt division or investments made during the marriage.

A court will typically consider the agreement’s validity before taking it into account while making decisions about asset division.

In some cases, pre-and post-nuptial agreements can provide clarity for couples on their rights and responsibilities after getting divorced. However, they must meet certain legal requirements for them to be upheld in court. Otherwise, the judge may not take them into consideration when making decisions about property division.

Seeking Professional Advice From a Divorce Attorney

Splitting assets in a divorce can be complicated and emotional, and it is important to seek professional guidance from an experienced divorce attorney. Contact an Atlanta divorce lawyer today to discuss how splitting assets in a divorce should be handled in your family law case.

Author Bio

Regina Edwards is the Owner and Managing Attorney of Edwards Family Law, an Atlanta family law and estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With more than 21 years of experience practicing law, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, legitimation, wills, trusts, probate, and Medicaid planning.

Regina received her Juris Doctor from the Tulane School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Atlanta Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers for six years, as well as being named among the Pro Bono All Stars by the Georgia Bar Journal in 2019.

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