Divorce is usually not an easy thing to process in your day-to-day life. You may be juggling professional and family responsibilities, and then comes another wrench of worry about your future and assets. If you have a home, you may just have the practical question of, who gets the house?
Who gets our marital house?
The short answer is: it depends. While not the most satisfying answer, Georgia is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means a judge can divide property based on multiple factors in the interest of a fair distribution, not pure equality. The judge can even force a home sale and decide how proceeds are split. A judge also has discretion to determine to award the home to one party in the divorce.
What if we can agree?
If both parties can agree on dividing the house or properties, you do have the option of entering into a settlement agreement. Many people choose to work on agreements in mediation because it gives them more say in what happens to the property.
If you want to keep the house and give another property to your spouse, or offer some other exchange, a settlement agreement can do this, and it can avoid the uncertainty of leaving the decision entirely to a judge. Some former spouses opt to keep the residence jointly and rotate in and out to maintain continuity for children, or maintain it as an income-producing property that they both share in the surplus cash and maintenance costs.
What if I owned the home pre-marriage?
If you owned the property individually before marriage it may not be considered part of the marital property to be divided. However, it is complicated to definitively say a home owned prior to marriage can be excluded from divorce because it too depends on individual circumstances.
There is no definite way to answer the question of who receives the marital home in a Georgia divorce, but if both parties can reach a mutually acceptable settlement, they can have a say in the process. Though, judges maintain a final say to ensure that one party is not receiving an unfair settlement. It is also understandable that agreements are not possible in charged situations, like a contentious divorce.