Who Decides Who Gets What in a Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, one of your top questions will likely be, “Who gets the house in a divorce?” The most valuable marital asset is usually the house, with the most significant debt typically being the mortgage; so, it makes sense that the question about the house is a top concern. The house is one of the biggest complications in a divorce settlement. But remember, who decides who gets what in a divorce is not always about the house.

Ultimately, the court makes the decision on the division of assets and accrued debt. Here are some factors impacting the decision:

  • In Georgia, equitable division of property does not necessarily require that the property be divided equally. Nor does it mean that all of the property owned by each person will be considered in the division.
  • A house belonging to one spouse prior to the marriage will typically not be subject to division. Instead, it will remain the property of the spouse who was the original owner. However, the other spouse may receive payment for certain value increases. For example, if he or she helped create value through remodeling, maintenance or mortgage payments.
  • A house acquired during the marriage through inheritance is not generally subject to equitable division. Even a house given as a gift to one of the spouses is not generally subject to division.
  • For a house that is joint marital property, meaning purchased together during the marriage, one spouse cannot kick the other spouse out of the house prior to the divorce without an order of exclusive occupancy from the court.
  • Couples can continue to own a house jointly for an extended period after divorce. This is commonly done to provide a stable environment for children until they reach the age of 18. After this period of time, the spouse remaining in the house can buy the other spouse out. Selling the house is another option.
  • Co-ownership as part of the divorce settlement is one option for dealing with property when one spouse wants to stay in the house but cannot afford to buy out the other spouse. The co-ownership agreement would clearly state how the costs of the house, payments, taxes, repair and maintenance are to be allocated.
  • When one partner is keeping the house, this spouse must refinance the home to remove the other spouse from financial obligation. The court will state a deadline for the refinance.

Experienced Family Law Attorney

Dealing with property and division of assets in a divorce is a very complicated situation, and it is important to understand what the law in Georgia states about these matters. By working with an experienced family law attorney, you can avoid a lot of the stress and confusion that comes with this part of the divorce settlement process. A professional attorney will be able to carefully analyze your case and pull in a forensic accountant if necessary to provide you with the support you need for your case.

Get the answers you need to the question, “Who gets the house in a divorce?” by calling Reeder Law Firm at (770) 504-4747 for your free consultation.