Having several properties makes divorce much more complicated. Georgia is an equitable division state. This means the property you get during your marriage becomes marital property, and you may lose it to your spouse. According to the Georgia code, separate property remains yours during a divorce.
However, some exceptions to separate property might convert it to marital property. During a complex divorce, there is no outcome set in stone.
Separate properties can change
Real estate you purchased before the marriage counts as separate property. Yet, this does not mean your property remains separate no matter what. If you add your spouse’s name to the deed, or your spouse spent time on the property, the courts might consider the real estate marital. Additionally, if your spouse worked to improve a piece of real estate, such as through a garden or additions to the home, they might have a marital claim to it. If the property increased in value because of your spouse’s actions, the courts might consider it marital property.
Inheritance is not a guarantee
If you received an inheritance or gift during your marriage, you might be able to claim it as separate property. However, the same rules described above apply to a gifted property. Just because someone’s will names you as the beneficiary of real estate does not mean your spouse has no claim to it.
Marital and separate property is a murky area that requires clear documentation to prove one way or the other. Understandably, people do not go into a marriage planning to lose their real estate to their spouse, but you can take some steps to protect your property with a postnuptial agreement.