How Can I Keep My House in a Georgia Divorce?

How Can I Keep My House in a Georgia Divorce?

Divorce creates a lot of complicated problems. First, there are immediate emotional concerns. People must deal with grief often flavored with anger and resentment. If someone was abused, they may need intense psychological treatment, essentially “deprogramming” themselves from their previous mindset.

If that weren’t enough, there are many practical concerns in a divorce, often involving property. Even when someone isn’t emotionally torn by their marriage’s end, they could be worried sick over what happens next.

One major point of concern is the home. Sometimes, it’s simply easier to stay where you are, and it can be daunting to move and rebuild. Some people don’t want to lose their equity in a home they’ve nurtured for years. Others may have an emotional attachment to the house, and they don’t want to lose it.

People often ask what they can do to keep their house in a divorce. Unfortunately, there are no surefire, guaranteed ways to secure the home. To keep any property in a divorce, you must demonstrate your entitlement to that asset.

How Georgia Courts Divide Property in a Divorce

Georgia operates on an “equitable property division” model. Essentially, courts grant property to the most deserving spouse. The name on the lease and the person who spent money are only part of the story. Courts also look at who managed, cared for, used, and contributed to the property.

To keep your home in a divorce, you must demonstrate that you deserve it more than your spouse.

Arguing Your Entitlement

There are many effective ways to prove that you deserve the home. One is to show your contribution to the home.

Imagine a couple comprised of one workaholic and one stay-at-home parent. The unemployed spouse does not make financial contributions to the home, but they manage its upkeep. They keep it clean. Whenever repairs are needed, this spouse manages the project. Perhaps they even oversee full remodels or additions to the home. The workaholic, on the other hand, generally uses the home as a place to sleep between work. In situations like these, the stay-at-home parent has a legitimate claim to keep the home in a divorce.

Child custody is another avenue for entitlement. If you remain the custodial parent, keeping the home for yourself and the kids is obvious. Otherwise, you would be forced to take the children, secure a new place to live, and rebuild from there.

Avoiding Court

People don’t like being forced to do something. If a courtroom makes decisions for you, this is exactly what happens. You must, by law, follow these rulings or suffer legal consequences.

Fortunately, you have another option. Divorcing couples have a legal right to make all necessary decisions among themselves. Not all divorces end in bitterness and fighting. For the lucky few who can work together amicably, they can write up their own agreements, submit them to the court, and move on.

For everyone else, mediation is a good avenue for avoiding court. In this process, the couple meets with a neutral third party who works for both spouses. This person helps facilitate negotiations, keeps everyone listening, and cools down flaring tempers. Even soon-to-be-former spouses who can get along may benefit from mediation. As legal professionals, mediators can help make sure you don’t miss any necessary agreements, and they can offer even better solutions than the ones you create.

The best part is this: Every decision is something to which you agreed. No one is coercing you. If you genuinely believe that you are entitled to the home, you can negotiate alongside your spouse rather than against them. You can be comforted in the knowledge that you made every decision on your own.

For help with keeping your home after a divorce, contact our office. Through a free consultation, we can listen to your concerns, and we may be able to help guide your next steps. Call us today at (866) 580-3089, or contact us online.