Do’s and Don’ts for Property in Divorce

Do’s and Don’ts for Property in Divorce

Property in a family law or divorce case is one of the second most frequently contested issues in divorce following child custody. Marital property is the property that will be equitably divided in a Georgia divorce; however that property is not just limited to the property acquired prior to the divorce filing. Property acquired during the divorce proceedings may also be taken into consideration as joint marital property and may also be equitably divided between the parties. It is imperative during a divorce to maintain status quo and retain property and financial stability. A stable static position going into a divorce will make it easier to ascertain between marital and non-marital properties as this is not always an easy task –and only becoming more complicated with changes throughout the divorce.

During a divorce there are numerous ways to find yourself in serious trouble concerning your and or both party’s marital properties. If it is avoidable one should refrain from committing one of the nine following don’ts of divorce regarding property.

• Do not destroy property – destroying property will reflect negatively on your character and the judge in your case can make you replace damaged property and or provide monetary reimbursement for item.
• Do not dispose of property – destroying or disposure of property almost always appears malicious in nature and may violate a standing order, placing the violator in contempt of court, if a standing order is in place.
• Do not sell property without previous disclosure – In some situations it may be difficult to differentiate between non-marital and marital properties. In these situations one may accidently dispose of a marital asset and find themselves in serious trouble –always consult with an attorney first.
• Do not attempt to hide assets – Playing hide and seek games with assets during discovery is never a good idea as almost all property is discoverable and one will eventually get caught in deception.
• Do not dissipate marital funds – Do not use marital funds to go on shopping sprees or use them to support an new romantic partner.  Your spouse will only use this against you in court to harm your reputation and character.
• Do not immediately believe that non marital property is not a marital asset – in some situations a property can go from being a non-marital asset into a marital asset because of the assets use as communal property. Again this is why it is important to maintain the status quo of all properties.  You will also want to avoid disposing or selling of any property that may actually be marital or is in dispute.
• Do not remove money or close out of joint accounts – This includes children’s accounts, health / life policies, and retirement funds etc.
• Do not argue over insignificant property – Arguing over insignificant property can generate an over accumulation of attorney’s fees and have you exceed the worth of the property you are trying to acquire. For example you can end up paying thousands of dollars, in attorney’s fees, for a cheap and replaceable coffee maker.
• Do not make any major purchases until the divorce is finalized – Any property purchased during a divorce proceeding is still considered marital property. Avoid purchasing any new cars, boats, real estate etc. during a divorce proceeding unless you desire for the assets to be subjected to equitable division between the parties.

During a divorce your objective should be to make yourself as stable and secure as possible. If one does not avoid the don’ts of a divorce it is easy for them to find themselves in a precarious situation usually both financially and legally. The most efficient way of empowering yourself within a stable and secure position during a divorce is again to remain status quo. The following are a few steps you can make to ensure that you will survive a divorce in top shape:

• Do maintain your property – Maintain your car, house, or any other assets that may be either non-marital or marital.
• Do ensure that bills are taken care of – Make sure that bills are getting paid as normal and also make sure that all joint accounts are free from excessive run –ups of debt.
• Do obtain a free credit report – Periodically run a free credit check to ensure that an unknown debt is not ruining your credit score.
• Do complete discovery – During the divorce proceeding complete discovery in full; making sure to include all marital and non-marital property (separate gifts, inheritance, etc.). Also be sure to provide discovery on time- if there is marital debt be sure to include it on your financial relations affidavit.

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