If you are getting divorced and your spouse is not on the real estate deed, you might be wondering if he or she has any legal right to the property. Because Georgia has marital property and equitable distribution laws, both spouses generally have some property ownership despite not being named on the deed. Learn more about Georgia divorce laws and what might happen to your real estate during the process.
Is my real estate marital property?
Marital property includes any assets or debts that you and your spouse acquired during the period of time you were married. This includes real estate owned by either of you, even if your ex's name is not on the deed. In this case, the property is subject to equitable distribution. Real estate is only considered separate property if either of you received property as a gift, inheritance or before the marriage.
How will my property be equally divided?
A judge will divide marital property per equitable distribution rules if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own. This means that property is not automatically divided in strict halves. Factors that go into deciding a fair division of assets during the final hearing include:
- How long you were married
- Age and health of both spouses
- The value, type and source of your property
- Present financial circumstances and potential future opportunities
The court may hypothetically decide that one spouse deserves more property than the other depending on these factors. For example, if a spouse earns significantly less income, he or she may receive more marital property to make up for a lost standard of living.
Can my separate property become marital property?
In some cases, separate property can become marital property. For example, if you inherited a house from your father and are the only name on the deed, it is your separate property. But if you filed another deed with the name of your spouse, the house is marital property. In this case, the house will be subject to division. A divorce attorney will consider these specifics to ensure separate and marital property is properly categorized.
Getting a divorce is a complicated process, especially when multiple assets are involved. If you are concerned about protecting your property, it is important to talk to a divorce attorney. You and your spouse are entitled to a fair division of marital property and to keep any separate property. Make sure all your marital assets are evaluated and considered for equitable distribution.