When you are planning to file for divorce, you need to understand how the process works in Virginia and how marital property is divided by the courts. This information will help prepare you to live on your own financially. In addition, it can assist you in working out a property settlement with your spouse or knowing what to expect if a judge divides your marital property.
What Is Marital and Separate Property in Virginia?
Marital property is income acquired after a marriage and before the spouses separated. Property purchased can include property that is bought after a separation or divorce if the marital assets had not been divided at that time. The following kinds of property can be considered separate:
- Property that was acquired before the marriage
- Property that was acquired after the spouses separate
- Property that was inherited or given as a gift by someone other than the spouse
- Property that was purchased during the marriage from selling separate property or exchanging the separate property for the property being acquired
- Income received from separate property
- Capital gains earned from separate property
What Factors Do Courts Consider in Dividing Marital Property in a Divorce?
Virginia is an equitable distribution state. This means that a judge would decide if the property is marital, separate, or a hybrid property and make a fair division of the property. However, this does not mean that the property will be split evenly. When dividing property, the courts will consider these factors:
- Monetary and non-monetary contributions of both spouses to the family
- Monetary and non-monetary contributions of both spouses to the acquisition and care of marital property
- Duration of the marriage
- Age, physical condition, and mental condition of the spouses
- Circumstances and factors that led to the divorce
- How and when specific pieces of marital property were acquired
- Debts and liabilities of each spouse, why the debt was acquired, and any property securing the debt
- Liquid or non-liquid character of the marital property
- Use and expenditure of marital property by either spouse for non-marital purposes or disposing of marital property while contemplating divorce or after the separation
- Any other factors that the court decides are just
Are you considering filing for divorce? Fill out our online form to schedule an appointment with a member of our family law legal team to discuss your situation and how your property could be divided.