Many people who enter second marriages or first marriages later in life have accumulated assets such as stocks accounts, real estate, and savings. While no one plans for a marriage to end in divorce, it's important to enter the marriage knowing what might happen to your property if divorce happens.
You may have heard that what you bring to a marriage is what you take out if the marriage ends in divorce. Unfortunately, that statement is not always true. There are things you can do during your marriage that can make your separate property become marital property.
Here are a few examples:
- Suppose you deposit your personal savings into a savings or checking account you hold jointly with your spouse. Your separate property will become marital property, and your spouse is entitled to an equitable share.
- Suppose refinance your home during your marriage. The mortgage company may ask that your spouse's name be added to the deed. If you do this, you just made a substantial gift to your spouse.
- Suppose you move money or other assets around and don't save all of the paperwork. The burden of proving that your asset is separate property and not marital property falls upon you. If you can't prove an asset is separate property, it is marital property.
The list goes on. The moral of the story is don't rely on information that comes from friends or family members about what is and is not marital property. Instead, seek legal advice from a competent Georgia divorce lawyer.