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Who owns the property that is acquired during marriage in Georgia? What happens to that property at divorce or death?

Kennesaw, GA |

I know this is a general question, but I really would appriciate your answer. Even if its few words. Thanks!

Attorney Answers 3


  1. First of all, Georgia does NOT have community property. A simple answer to your question, because of all the variations, would be a few hundred pages.

    A few basics: the way land is titled affects what happens at death - sole ownership, joint tenancy and tenants in copmmon have three different answers (and even MORE answers when you throw a will in the mix), so before you buy property, you need to ask a lawyer how the property should be titled (and also make sure your spouse does a will). Also complicating this is the possibility of seeking years support against property after death.

    As to divorce, absent a prenuptial agreement, property is equitably divided. That means "whatever the court thinks is fair." That may be 50-50, but could be 100-0, 90-10, 60-40, etc.

    So the simple answer is anytime you are married and plan to buy property, you need to talk to a lawyer before signing the contract and determine the method of ownership.

    Hope that helps!

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


  2. As a general rule, property acquired during the marriage as a result of the labor and investments of the parties or either of them during the marriage constitutes marital property and is subject to equitable division upon divorce. "Equitable" does not necessarily mean "equal." In determining the division of assets and debts, the Court looks at various factors, such as the age of the parties, the condition of their health, ability to earn an income, educational background, the length of their marriage, contributions to the marriage, conduct during the marriage, and the like. The Court might divide the marital assets in what amounts to a 40%-60% split, 20%-80% split, etc. More often than not, however, all things being pretty much equal (i.e. no egregious conduct, both parties having made contributions to the marriage in one way or another....), you will often see a division of assets that is more in line with a 50/50 split.
    Property you are awarded in the divorce is yours - to sell, bequeath, devise, transfer, encumber, etc. If you intend to stay married and want to make sure that certain of your assets or you interest in those assets is left to someone other than your spouse (i.e. in trust for a niece or nephew), then you should speak to an attorney about drafting a Will for you. If you do not have a Will, you property will be devised in accordance with the laws of intestacy in Georgia - i.e. if you are married and do not have any children, then your spouse will inherit your entire estate.

    This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It is not offered as nor does it constitute legal advice. This answer does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Do not rely on this answer in prosecuting or defending against any criminal or civil legal action. Speak to an attorney in your area about how to protect yourself and your interests.


  3. I agree with the other attorney's, your "general" question is extremely complex. With this type of question there are exeptions to the general rule. With this type of question I alway ask my client why are you asking this question and what do you want to know. To answer your question, without going into the exception to the general rule. Who owns the property; generally assetts aquired during the course of the marriage are subject to equitable division. Equitable means in a way that is fair. The divorce will determine what happens to the property. Your question as to what happens to the property at death, assuming that your spouse dies after the divorce is finalized, and there are no issues to the property that the divorce has not resolved, first you will look to how the property is titled, and then as to the owners will or the rules of intestacy.

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