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How Do I Protect Marital Property from Being Sold During My Pending Divorce?

When married couples are considering a divorce it is usually at a point in the relationship when they aren’t seeing eye to eye on a number of issues. Divorce litigation provides several opportunities for disagreement. Whether the issue is who gets custody of the children or possession of the marital assets it is important for each party to ensure that their interests are protected. In particular, the possibility of obtaining access to equity in large assets such as the marital residence is one of the most hotly contested matters in this field. Superior Courts throughout the State of Georgia have standing orders that govern how parties are to conduct themselves during a pending divorce. Standing orders are typically issued by the Superior Court judges of the county in which the divorce is filed and serve to restrict a spouse from harassing the other party and from hiding or selling assets. Standing orders issued by Superior Court judges for divorce cases take effect immediately after a petition for divorce is filed. However, while it will be viewed as a violation of the Court’s order for a spouse to dispose of a marital asset during the pending litigation a Standing Order does not put a possible recipient of a disputed asset on notice that there is a superior claim to that property.

A far more effective tool that can be utilized to put third parties on notice of another party’s claim to real property is a Lis Pendens filing. In fact, the definition of Lis Pendens means “pending suit”. The Lis Pendens notice is filed in the office of the clerk of the Superior Court in the County where the real property is located. In doing so third parties are thereby put on notice that someone else has a claim. Essentially, anyone wanting to purchase real property would find the notice in performing the typical due diligence the average home buyer is required to do before completing the sale of the home. The time between the filing of a divorce petition and the Court issuing a final decree can range from a few months to a year, depending on the circumstances. If a party purchases property which is subject to a Lis Pendens filing, they face the risk of loosing the property to the holder of the Lis Pendens if the Court awards it to them.

If a divorce is filed and real property is at risk of being transferred or sold it is best to file a Lis Pendens in order to protect your interest in the property. At the Faucette Law Firm we know that each case presents its own unique set of circumstances. We assist clients daily with divorce, custody, child support, alimony and modifications in Douglasville and the Metro Atlanta area. Contact our office today for consultation.