Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Georgia

Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Georgia

Kaylyn McKenna
 | 
Divorces are stressful and filled with uncertainty. The family home is often the asset that families are most concerned about. Keeping the home can provide some much-needed stability during tumultuous times, especially if children are involved. If you are worried about whether you’ll get to keep the house, keep reading to learn about Georgia’s rules for division of property during divorces. 

How Are Assets Divided During a Georgia Divorce?

Georgia is an equitable distribution state. This means that all marital assets will be divided equitably while each spouse retains their own separate assets. Georgia is unique in that their code does not include instructions for the division of property in the event of divorce. Their status as an equitable distribution state and precedent for what factors will be considered comes from case law from Stokes v. Stokes, 246 Ga. 765m 273 S.E.2d 169 (1981).

Equitable distribution means that assets will be divided fairly, not necessarily equally. The court will consider the following factors to decide how to fairly divide the assets:

 
  • the duration of the marriage and whether either spouse had been married before
  • the age, income, health, occupation, vocational skills, and employability of each party 
  • Each spouses’ debts, liabilities and needs
  • The future earning potential of each spouse

Georgia courts are required to consider non-monetary contributions to the household as well. This generally means that a stay-at-home parent’s contributions towards childcare and the upkeep of the home must be taken into account when determining how to fairly divide the assets.

How Will the Proceeds From a Home Sale Be Split?

One of the most common solutions to dividing home equity in a divorce is to sell the home. Be aware that the proceeds from the sale may not be split 50/50. In Georgia, it is not uncommon for the higher-earning spouse to be awarded a larger percentage of the proceeds. If you each kept a separate bank account and split the mortgage equally, this is not a likely scenario. However, if you had shared accounts and one spouse greatly out-earned the other, the higher-earning spouse may be granted a larger interest in the home.

What If I Want to Keep the Home?

If you wish to remain in the home after the divorce you have a couple of options. You could buy out the other party’s equity in the home if you have the money or financing available. You can also negotiate with the other party to allow them to take your share of other assets such as 401K accounts, shared vacation homes or rental properties, or other high value assets. 

In some cases a higher share of assets such as the home can be given in lieu of alimony or granted to the spouse that will be retaining primary custody of the children. Georgia encourages the use of alternative dispute resolution or mediation to work through the division of assets between the divorcing parties.

Consult an Attorney

If you are going through a divorce or considering filing for divorce in Georgia, consult an attorney. Our Lawyer Search tool can help you find one in your area. In equitable distribution states, it is important to have assistance advocating for your fair share of the home and assets, as it is less cut-and-dry than a community property state divorce. Judges do have some discretion in the division of assets in Georgia divorces, so it’s important to ensure that you and your interests are well-represented.


This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.
 
Kaylyn McKenna

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