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Why divorce isn't an 'all or nothing' event

Maybe your spouse is so angry about the end of your marriage that they've sworn you will "walk away with nothing." Maybe you're so angry at your spouse's behavior, such as infidelity that you have dreams of taking all the marital assets yourself.

Well, divorce isn't really an "all or nothing" kind of a deal. There are rules in place to make sure that all of the marital property and debts are divided up with an eye toward fairness.

Georgia is an equitable distribution state. That means that marital property and debts are divided as fairly as possible. It's important to understand that fair may not mean "equal," however. Some of the things that the court will probably consider include:

  • The ages and health of each spouse
  • The education and employability of each spouse
  • The financial means of each spouse
  • Evidence that one spouse has wasted or misused the marital property
  • Evidence that one spouse has drastically wronged the other or has intentionally made the divorce process more difficult
  • Any existing prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement between the parties

Even a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that's tight won't necessarily cause you to be shut out of the family fortunes. The courts may generally consider a lopsided prenup that is heavily weighted in one spouse's favor as unconscionable and unenforceable.

It's important to have realistic expectations as you head into your divorce. That can help you both bargain from a position of strength and understand the limits to any threats your spouse may make financially. Your attorney can provide valuable guidance.

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