You spend hundreds of dollars a month, if not thousands, on your home. Between your mortgage, your escrow account and improvements you keep making, a significant portion of your annual income goes directly toward maintaining your residence.
If you start thinking about divorce, keeping the home might be your first priority. How is it determined who keeps the house when a couple divorces in Georgia?
Is the house separate property or marital property?
The first thing you need to determine is whether the house is separate or marital property. The Georgia courts will not divide separate property. If one spouse inherited or owned the house prior to marriage, it may be their separate property.
However, if marital assets and income went toward paying the mortgage or maintaining the property, the non-owner spouse may have a claim to a partial share in the home’s equity. If you bought the house jointly, it is marital property that you will have to divide.
What do judges look at when they make the decision?
If you and your spouse can’t work out on your own, with the help of your attorneys, who will keep the house, the family law judge presiding over your divorce is the one who decides. The judge in your case can look at factors like the length of your marriage, misconduct like wasting marital assets and your individual income when deciding what to do with your house.
They might award it to one spouse and give the other spouse a significant amount of equity. They might even order a couple to sell the house and split the proceeds. If a specific outcome with your home is of the utmost importance to you, your family law attorney can help you work toward that outcome.