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Georgia is an equitable property state, meaning that judges are required to divide marital property equitably (not necessarily equally) between spouses. This means that debt is divided in a way that seems fair, rather than strictly 50/50.
Under Georgia law, marital debt refers to all of the debt you or your spouse acquire, together or separately. This includes mutually acquired credit card debt, even if one party was responsible for accruing that debt as well as a loan taken out in one person’s name. It also includes car loans and mortgage loans acquired during the time of the marriage.
In division of this debt, Georgia has no specific formula for distribution. Marital fault, responsibilities of custodial parents, education level, age and future earning capacities can all be considered. If debt is acquired after divorce has been filled for, the party who accrued the debt will most likely be solely responsible for paying it off.
There are two approaches to dividing the debt – the court will either assign various accounts for each spouse to pay off, or both spouses will be obligated to pay a certain percentage until the accounts are paid off.
Secured debt such as mortgages or auto loans may be treated differently if one of the parties is keeping the home or the car. In this case, the court will usually relieve the other party of payment toward that debt.
In the case that you have enough assets to cover your debt, Georgia courts will allow couples to eliminate debt through an equitable distribution of assets.
An important note to mention is that contract law supersedes divorce law in the case of marital debts. This means that creditors can come after you in the case that your ex-spouse defaults. Only if your divorce decree “indemnifies” you from those debts can you take your spouse back to court for a reimbursement of any money lost from debts assigned to them.
In the case that one or more of the parties had separate debt that has not been converted into marital debt, the court will most likely order each party to be responsible for paying off their separate debt. An example of debt accrued prior to marriage includes student loans or credit card debt that was obtained prior to the date of legal union.
Coleman Legal Group, LLC team of divorce and family law attorneys handles cases in the following cities and communities: Atlanta, Alpharetta, Roswell, Johns Creek, Milton, Cumming, Marietta, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Gainseville, Norcross, Lawrenceville, Midtown, Inman Park, Duluth, Buckhead, Dunwoody, Vinings, Old Fourth Ward, Sugar Hill and Smyrna.
Our dedicated team of divorce and family law attorneys frequently handle cases for clients residing in the following counties: Fulton, Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cobb, DeKalb, Henry, Cherokee, Douglas, Carroll, Coweta, Paulding, Bartow, Hall, Barrow, Walton, Newton, Rockdale, Henry, Spalding, Fayette and Clayton.
Coleman Legal Group, LLC’s Georgia lawyers practice in the areas of Divorce, Family Law, Bankruptcy, Immigration and Business Law. We have two convenient offices located at:
Alpharetta Georgia Office
5755 North Point Parkway
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Atlanta Georgia Office
659 Auburn Avenue Northeast
Atlanta, GA 30312
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