Marital vs. Separate Property in Divorce, Who Owns What?

At Family Matters Law Group, we pride ourselves on working with our clients to make sure they are knowledgeable about the law and how it can affect their case. Our ongoing Legal Snack series provides short video introductions to crucial legal topics. This month’s Legal Snack addresses a common concern about types of property. The video discusses the difference between marital vs. separate property and how each is divided.

Let’s listen to Mrs. Edidiong Aaron, the owner, and founder of Family Matters Law Group:

Key Questions From This Legal Snack

In this short video, Mrs. Aaron answers two key questions:

  • What is the difference between marital and separate property?
  • How is each of these divided up during a divorce?

Marital vs. Separate Property

When you think about your property during a divorce, the key concern is when you obtained that property. There is a big difference between a property that you owned before getting married and the property you acquired while married.

Any property that you owned before marriage is considered separate property. It’s considered yours entirely and will not be lumped in with assets to be divided during your divorce. What you brought with you into the marriage will leave with you when the marriage dissolves.

On the other hand, any property that was obtained during the marriage is considered marital property and will be equitably split in the divorce. As Mrs. Aaron points out in the video, it does not matter whose name is on the property or who purchased the property. It is still considered a marital asset. This can be as significant as a house or as small as a set of silverware that is used daily.

Also, remember that it doesn’t matter whose money was used to purchase the property, even if you are keeping separate accounts. If it was obtained during the marriage, it’s considered marital property.

How Is Property Split During A Divorce

In the case of separate property, it won’t be split up. Whoever owned it before the marriage will get to keep it. In the case of marital property, the court will split assets in terms of equitable division. 

Equitable doesn’t mean equal. Don’t expect the court to split your assets 50/50. In Georgia, the law states that the division should be fair, but that doesn’t mean that the monetary value of the assets will be the same on both sides after it’s split. 

Keep in mind that you can intermingle your property, meaning you can take an asset that would generally be considered separate and convert it into a marital asset. For example, imagine you had money in a savings account before you got married, but you used part of that money to buy a boat during your marriage. That money you used is now part of a marital asset and will be split between parties.

It’s Time To Hire An Attorney

If you are trying to sort out a property division issue in your divorce that involves both marital and separate property, you need an attorney who can help establish fair values and a truly equitable split. For clients in the Atlanta metro area, especially Henry, Clayton, and Fayette counties, Family Matters Law Group can help.

We’ve fought for fair property divisions for years with great success. Setting up a consultation is easy: call or use our online contact form. We look forward to learning more about your situation and fighting hard for you in court.