There are many considerations that must be taken into account by both parties when going through a divorce. One of the most important of these is property division. Although many people assume this only deals with the distribution of assets, it involves the distribution of debts as well. Increasingly in Georgia, divorcing couples these days find that they have more debts than assets to divide.
A weak economy has altered the focus of property division in the case of divorce from assets to debts. These debts include student and car loans, mortgages and credit cards. Georgia is not immune to this trend, and the state applies an equitable division principle to the distribution of debt among parties. This means that a judge gets to determine what is a fair division of debts.
Most states, including Georgia, follow the principle of equitable division when distributing property during a divorce. Equitable division means what is fair under the circumstances, but not necessarily equal. Certain property is not subject to equitable division and is considered separate property. Separate property includes gifts or inheritance collected before marriage.
All other property is considered marital property and is subject to equitable division. Marital property is any property acquired during marriage, including debts. Thus, when an equitable division of marital property occurs, it involves the distribution of existing debts amongst the parties.
Going through divorce proceedings can lead to emotional hardship for both parties, but people must be aware of the possible financial hardships as well. Those considering divorce should understand that debts acquired during marriage will be distributed along with assets and they should be aware of their financial situation before making any decisions.
Source: The Augusta Chronicle, "Debt often focus of divorce proceedings," Kyle Martin, Sept. 23, 2012