After talking with thousands of people about how assets and property are handled in a Georgia divorce case, certain questions come up often.  Below is a discussion of some of the more frequently asked questions we answer for clients.

We are getting divorced but we have joint property, do we have to sell it before we can get a divorce?
No, no property has to be sold for a divorce to take place; however, property will be divided during the divorce.

We are getting a divorce, I have moved out of the house, can I go back and take some things?
This depends on what point your divorce is at. If the property division part has already been taken care and you know which items the judge has stated are yours or if you and your spouse have agreed on what items go where, then it is understandable to want to take the items you know you will be receiving. However, if the property division has not taken place, you must know that either their value will be deducted from your final share or you will have to return them so the court can decide how to divide the property.  In a situation such as this, it is best to have an attorney contact your spouse or your spouse’s attorney to try and arrange an agreeable non-confrontational way for you to obtain some of your / marital assets for use while you are waiting for the divorce to be finalized.

What will happen to the assets I brought into the marriage?
Any assets that you had prior to the marriage are considered separate property and you will be able to 100% of those assets.

I am filing for divorce and my spouse is making some claims on their financial affidavit that aren’t true, what can I do?
Essentially, a financial affidavit is just a plead, something to show the spouses’ financial position. Even though an affidavit is supposed to be sworn as true, there is still a trial to prove that what was stated was true. If you know that what your spouse has listed is false, be able to provide information stating the truth. For example, if they listed that their car is worth $10,000 less than it actually is, have a copy of the blue book valuation of the car on ready to present to disprove their claim.

I am filing for divorce and my spouse will only agree to the divorce if I take the property they are giving me.  Should I take the offer so I can get the divorce?
It is important to know that the other spouse is not a judge and cannot decide solely on how the property will be divided or who gets what. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement on how the property will be divided, a judge will determine the best way to divide the property.

We both want to get the same asset, what can we do to get an agreement?
In most cases, a judge will not want to spend too much time on dividing a single piece of property and might recommend mediation as an alternative. Some compromise might be necessary but it is better to resolve it outside of trial. If the issue does end up going to trial, the judge will make a determination depending on who used the item most and for what, where it came from, who cared for it, and its value. This can be pretty costly so be prepared to pay some fees if an agreement cannot be reached.

We were married for a short time, less than a year, how will our property be divided?
The property that is mainly divided is any property obtained during the marriage or purchased with marital money. Any items like a car or home that was yours before the marriage will remain in your ownership. If there was a mixing of assets, the judge will most likely attempt to put you in the situation you were before you got married or close to it.

My spouse cheated on me and we are now getting divorce, does their cheating have any effect on how we divide our stuff?
In the state of Georgia, if it can be proven that the other spouse was unfaithful, it can have some impact on how the marital property will be divided and how much alimony will be awarded.  However, you should not expect the court to punish you or your spouse in their division of assets for infidelity.  More likely, the court will be looking to whether marital assets were spent or given away as a result of the affairs and infidelity.  It is also good to know that if can be proven that the unfaithful spouse used marital money on their paramour, then they will most likely receive a reduced award to compensate the innocent spouse for loss of marital money.  Even though the unfaithful spouse may not be entitled to alimony, there will generally still be awarded an equitable portion of the marital property.

I am expecting to receive a large amount of money from a lottery that I won.  My spouse and I are in the middle of a divorce, will they get half of it?
If the ticket was purchased with marital money and it was obtained during the marriage, then the other spouse would be entitled to half of those winning. It is advisable to consult with an attorney on how to best deal with a situation like this.

What will happen to the engagement ring during the divorce?
Since the engagement ring was given before the couple was married, it is considered a gift and also separate property. So the spouse that received the engagement ring will retain ownership of the ring.

What happens if the other spouse forcefully took the ring from me?
Since the ring is considered your separate property, the other spouse may be responsible for reimbursing your for the value of the ring.

What will happen to the gifts that were given to us?
Gifts are considered separate property and will remain with the spouse they were given to.  However, if it was a gift given to both spouses, it will need to be proven it was intended for both spouses.

We are getting a divorce but all of the stuff is in the name of the other spouse, does that mean they keep everything?
No, since Georgia is an equitable distribution state, the marital property will be divided fairly between the spouses. It might take some time to receive your share of the property, so until then, be sure to take the appropriate steps to maintain a decent lifestyle.

I got divorced and eventually remarried, is my 2nd spouse entitled to half of my stuff from the first marriage?
Everything that you brought into your second marriage is considered your separate property. Only assets that you obtained during your second marriage will be divided in your second divorce.