How do we decide which parent gets primary custody of the children? How
much child support will I be required to pay? Who gets the furniture?
These are common questions Georgia residents and couples elsewhere ask
when going through a divorce. What those questions don't account for
are the financial realities of a divorce. For spouses in the divorce process,
and even dating and married individuals, learning and employing financial
safeguards in property division is important.
First, divorcing couples should consider getting some financial planning
education. There are a variety of tax and investment adult education classes
that are often offered at local high schools and community colleges. This
allows individuals to be informed and prepared when speaking to financial
advisors and divorce attorneys.
Second, couples contemplating divorce should update their insurance policies,
retirement plans and wills. Many individuals choose their spouse as their
designated beneficiary. Couples likely will want to change those designations
in the event of divorce so that their assets instead go to their children
or other beneficiaries. Divorcing spouses may also consider drafting a
"final instructions" document. This isn't a will. Rather,
it's a document that lists your assets. So it needs to be updated
regularly. A will directs heirs on how to divide assets in a manner consistent
with the wishes of an individual.
Couples in Georgia may come to their own agreement regarding their marital
property or they can go to court. In our state, property division is determined
based on equitable (fair) distribution. This means that rather than combining
all of the couple's assets and dividing them equally, a judge will
look at the couple's assets and determine how to fairly divide the
marital property based on a number of considerations.
In a divorce, determining how to divide marital property may be challenging.
However, working with an attorney to put protections such as those suggested
above in place may make the property division decisions easier for a divorcing couple.