Divorce is never an easy process and how property will be divided is often a main issue for all that are involved. The simplest way to divide property and debt during a divorce is to make an agreement between each other; however, because divorce may be contentious and complicated, this may not be a realistic option for most. There are many factors to be considered when distributing property in a divorce and the experienced family lawyers at our office will assist you in this delicate process.
Virginia Is An Equitable Distribution State
States follow different laws when dividing property after a divorce. The State of Virginia is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution means that when a couple cannot agree on how to divide their property during their divorce, a judge will. Under equitable distribution, at the request of either spouse, a judge will decide how to separate the property and who gets what.
How Does A Judge Decide Who Gets What?
In the State of Virginia the law will guide the judge on how to distribute property fairly. First the judge will determine the ownership and the value of all property of each spouse. Next the judge will determine what property is marital property and what property is separate property. At this time the judge will also determine the debts of both spouses.
What is Separate Property Or Marital Property?
Separate property is typically all property acquired before marriage and after separation. An example of separate property may be a car you purchased before your marriage. Separate property may also include personal gifts, inheritance received during the marriage and property bought with separate funds and strictly maintained as separate during the marriage.
Marital property is typically all property titled and owned by both spouses. Marital property may also be all property (when not separate property) acquired during the course of your marriage. This will also include such properties as pensions and retirement funds acquired before separation.
Similarly, separate debt is all debt acquired by a spouse before marriage. Marital debt is typically debt acquired by both parties during their marriage.
Marital Property Gets Distributed
After the judge decides what property is separate and what property is marital, the marital property will be fairly distributed. Separate property will remain separate and not distributed. When distributing marital property a judge is not simply splitting it down the middle as 50/50. The judge will distribute marital property fairly while considering an array of factors such as the monetary and nonmonetary contributions of each spouse, length of the marriage, age and physical wellness of the spouses and many other factors.
Reach Out to Us for Help
When attempting to fairly divide property and debts during a divorce, there are many financial factors and non- financial factors that must be considered. The lawyers at Shannon & Associates, P.C. will assist you in this difficult process of property distribution. Contact or call us at (757) 228-5529