How to Determine Separate Property in a Divorce Settlement

Sometimes things don’t always work out the way we planned them to. This is true with small issues as well as large issues. For instance, all newly married couples plan on spending the rest of their lives together. They plan their futures as if nothing could go wrong.

Then something goes wrong.

It is no secret that divorce takes place. In fact, the divorce rate is higher than it has ever been before.

Divorces often come with a dispute of who gets to keep what after the household breaks apart. The process of deciding who gets what can be very intense and is often the cause of many fights. Laws are in place to help with the transition and the process of dividing up a couple’s property.

The bedrock legal principle here is simple to state: Each spouse gets to keep his or her own separate property, but jointly owned property is subject to being divided between them. This naturally leads to one of the common questions that couples going through a divorce have: “What is considered to be separate property?”

According to the State of Virginia, separate property is:

  • Prior purchased property. Any property that was purchased by either party before the marriage took place is considered to be separate property. This includes all property, real and personal.
  • Property maintained as separate. Any proceeds that came from the sale of separate property or property that was acquired from an exchange of the separate property is considered to be separate property as long as the property acquired is maintained as separate property.
  • Other. Any property that was acquired during the marriage that was acquired due to bequest, devise, descent, survivorship, or gift from another party is separate property. Also considered to be separate property is the part of any property that has been classified as separate.

Dealing with divorce and the legalities it contains can be difficult. Fill out the contact form on this page if you would like to learn more about divorce law and how we may assist you.