With the exception of some custody matters, typically the property settlement portion of a divorce is the most difficult to resolve. If you and your soon-to-be ex are struggling with the division of assets and debts, you are certainly not alone.
Couples with little property and few debts have an easier time with this part of the divorce process. The more resources you have acquired and bills you’ve run up, the more complex it will be to extract yourself from the relationship.
But, don’t despair. Your Atlanta family law attorney has a few ways to facilitate this process and help you reach closure on this chapter of your life.
The first thing that you need to do is prioritize what you want to retain. Often, spouses will fight tooth and nail for the family home when it may be much more practical to go after a larger chunk of the retirement benefits. However, it depends on your unique circumstances regarding the assets you should pursue.
You will also need to professionally valuate major assets to determine their true value. You also should consider future value, tax ramifications, the item’s liquidity and the cost basis when making your decision.
As Georgia is an equitable distribution state, you won’t have to worry about community property issues. But spouses often are confused about the joint ownership of some assets like retirement benefits that are held solely in one spouse’s name. In a divorce, those benefits are subject to division according to the marital property laws of the state of Georgia.
Your marital property includes both parties’ retirement benefits, their incomes and any assets that they acquired during their marriage. Some property may be considered separate, e.g., inherited funds, but if any commingling of separate and marital funds occurred, it can negate that separation.
Suppose your father died and left you a sum of money. You opened a separate account for those funds so all is good, right? Maybe, but maybe not. Suppose you used some of those funds to build a backyard deck, take a trip with your spouse or make a major appliance purchase for the home. Your spouse’s attorney could credibly argue that made at least some of the funds become marital property.
It can be confusing, so make sure that you work closely with your attorney to get the best deal possible.