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Who Gets The House?


Arguably one of the most controversial decisions to be made during a Georgia divorce is the disposition of the marital home, especially if there are no children. While Georgia is not a community property state, many times the house winds up being sold and the proceeds divided, simply because it represents the most equitable alternative for both spouses. However, each situation is different, and understanding what works for you may take some research.

Property Division In Georgia

Georgia is a state that uses the equitable distribution system of asset division, unlike some other states which divide items under a community property system. Equitable distribution means that marital assets are divided in the most fair way possible, rather than 50-50 between the spouses. Many different factors will go into the specific case’s definition of ‘equitable’ – for example, one spouse may have been out of the workforce for many years, while the other may have a high-powered job and the earning potential to support themselves much easier than their former spouse.

In the case of large assets like automobiles or homes, division can be difficult, simply because there is so much in one asset that the offset would take up a large portion of the rest of the marital estate. However, the court must assess what is equitable and appropriate, and if it decides that the marital home can be granted to one spouse, it will do so, and then make provisions for the other spouse to receive their equitable share.

Three Ways To Go

There are three ways that a Georgia court will choose from in order to dispose of the marital home. Arguably the easiest is to put the home up for sale and divide the proceeds, as these can be divided with very little maneuvering. WIth liquid assets such as cash, the process of comparison and division is much easier than having to balance assets against each other, so to speak. Another possibility which is perhaps less common is for one person to live in the house and the other contributes to the mortgage so that the house still builds equity. This is usually only done on a temporary basis to help build a home’s equity prior to sale.

The third and most common method of distributing the marital home is for one spouse to retain it and the other to receive a share of the marital estate that is appropriately equitable in return. During the divorce, the home cannot be sold, by Georgia law, and neither spouse has the authority to kick the other out. If the home can be appraised, one spouse can ‘buy the other out’ by granting them enough assets to cover the equity in the home that would not otherwise be part of the first spouse’s portion of the estate. Which method works for you depends on a host of individual factors.

Ask An Attorney For Help Today

While asset distribution is tricky, disposing of the marital home can be one of the most difficult parts of the process, due to the good memories and the enormous literal and emotional value. It may be a good idea to contact an experienced divorce lawyer to ensure that the home is handled appropriately. The Atlanta divorce attorneys at Buckhead Family Law will work with you toward what is hopefully a fair outcome. Call us today at 404-600-1403 to schedule an appointment.


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