Virginia Divorce & Splitting Assets: What You Need to Know
The distribution of property is among the most contentious aspects of a divorce if spouses don’t agree on how assets should be divided. Unlike community property states, which divide marital property 50/50, Virginia uses equitable distribution to effectuate a fair division of the marital assets.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
Under Virginia Code, marital property must be divided according to equitable distribution. Divorcing partners can decide to create their own picture of a fair distribution
Some work by themselves or use the services of a divorce mediator. Those couples who cannot reach an agreement on their own will have a judge determine how splitting assets is most fair.
Separate vs. Marital Property
Importantly, the courts only decide how to divide marital property, rather than separate property. For the most part, marital property refers to assets gained during the marriage.
Separate property is acquired before the marriage or after the separation of the parties. In some circumstances, separate property may be acquired during the marriage. Some examples of this are inheritances passed to one spouse or an asset acquired during the marriage using only separate property.
However, some property may be acquired before the marriage and still be considered partially marital property or “hybrid” property. For instance, a home that was acquired by one spouse before marriagemay be considered partially marital property if, during the marriage, the parties paid down the mortgage balance using marital funds.
Debts Count Too
The distribution of property in a divorce settlement also includes debts. With some exceptions, debts acquired during the marriage will be considered marital debt.
Details that Inform Splitting Assets
When the judge determines how to divide the marital property and apportion debt to create an equitable settlement he or she must consider the following factors:
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
- The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivision A (1), (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95;
- How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
- The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property;
- The tax consequences to each party;
- The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and
- Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.
Virginia Divorce & Splitting Assets
If you have questions about the distribution of property in a divorce, consult the professionals at Grenadier, Duffett, Levi, Winkler & Rubin, P.C., by calling 703-683-9000 or clicking here to schedule an appointment remotely or in person.