Check out this article to learn the answers to 4 questions about the divorce process in Georgia. Then call Hall & Navarro for a legal consultation.
1. How is an inheritance treated during a divorce?
I have several clients who have called me about their inheritance. They are in the middle of a divorce and they want to know how the inheritance would be treated in the divorce. Inheritance in Georgia is considered separate property, meaning it’s not subject to division in a divorce. It is not marital property. It is separate property, so long as the inheritance is kept separate, and what I mean by that is kept solely in your name.
2. What happens during the division of assets process?
Oftentimes, we get calls from our current clients wondering how the court goes about distributing their assets and what happens to their assets and their debts. In Georgia, in divorce cases, an equitable distribution of property and debts is normally required. What happens is the court will want us to itemize all of your assets and all of your debts, track them back to where they came from and who paid for them or how they were transferred into your name. So long as it is marital property and up for distribution, the court is going to walk through the value, any mortgages or debts owed on property or vehicles. We’re going to look at the equity and decide equitably and fairly what should the split be on both your assets and your debts. Oftentimes, we’re able to put together an exhibit or basically a chart for the court so that it’s easily looked at to see how much equity you’re dealing with in your assets and we always propose to the judge what we think would be a fair split of those assets. We would, of course, work with our clients to decide what they believe is fair and walk through every asset and every debt individually so that we give the court a full picture of what’s really going on in their financial circumstances.
3. What is the first step in the divorce process?
I had a friend of mine call me who was considering a divorce and wanted to know what the first steps were that she needed to take when considering divorce in Georgia. The very first step that you need to take is to contact an attorney to help guide you through the process. Step one would be that consultation with the attorney where you get basically an hour’s worth of advice about what to do with regards to your assets, your debts, and whether or not you’d be eligible for spousal support. If there are children involved, what would your parenting plan look like? What would your custody time look like? How much child support might you receive? You can get all of that information in a consultation with me. The first step after that consultation would be the filing of your complaint for divorce.
4. What will happen to my personal belongings in a divorce?
I got a call the other day from a client who had some personal belongings they had questions about in their divorce case. In Georgia, your personal property, including pictures, clothes, any items in your home, may still be considered marital property. It’s very important that you take your time to itemize all of your personal belongings, tell us who purchased or inherited the items, track who bought those items, whether they were gifts, whether they were inherited, and whether you purchased those prior to your marriage. All of those things are important to know as we’re figuring out what should happen with those personal belongings. Ultimately, the court is going to take your list of personal belongings and your spouse’s list of personal belongings and look to see which ones are seperate property. You keep your clothes. Your spouse keeps their clothes. Those are the easy ones. The not so easy ones may be if you have cars, boats, jet skis, stocks, investments, etc. — all of the things that you still want to keep that you may have received.
The court is then going to look at what equity you have in those pieces of personal property. Do you have jet skis that are paid for? Those may be of value to the marital estate and the judge is going to divide those equitably, so whatever is fair, divide those between the parties at any final trial. You can also reach an agreement to split pieces of personal property and our courts really do encourage you to do that. In Georgia, if you have an agreement as to who keeps the jet ski and who keeps the RV, well, the court is going to sign off on that so long as it seems to be fair. We would ask that we narrow down during your case, narrow down your personal items to what you may be okay with the other party keeping or what you want to keep in your possession and to the extent you’ve reached an agreement, the trial court is going to sign off on that. If you’re not able to reach an agreement on certain items of property, the court considers that like any other asset and is going to divide that fairly and equitably under Georgia law.
Are you or a loved one in the process of a divorce in Statesboro, Springfield, or Swainsboro and have questions about your inheritance in the divorce process in Georgia? Contact the experienced Georgia divorce attorneys at Hall & Navarro today for a consultation and case evaluation. We can help get your life back on track.