Understanding equitable distribution in a Virginia divorce

Virginia courts aim to divide marital property equitably – or fairly – and that doesn’t always mean an even split in a divorce. There is a real possibility of getting a little bit more or less than your spouse.

Understanding how property is classified is necessary to grasp how things work in a Virginia divorce. Here is what you should know.

What constitutes marital property?

Only marital property or the marital share of hybrid property is divided during a divorce in Virginia. It includes all assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage, such as:

  • Income earned by either spouse
  • Assets acquired using marital funds
  • The marital home
  • Retirement accounts
  • Stocks and other investments

Any property acquired during the marriage, regardless of title, is presumed to be marital property. Separate property owned by each spouse before the marriage can either remain separate or become marital property depending on how it is handled during the marriage.  For partly (or hybrid) marital assets, either party can trace their separate interests in such assets upon divorce.

What factors do courts consider when dividing marital property?

Some aspects of your marriage that may affect property division in a divorce include the contribution of each spouse to the well-being of the family, financial or not. A spouse’s role in acquiring or maintaining marital assets will also weigh in.

Other things the court will look at include the duration of the marriage, the tax consequences to each party, age, income, health and existing financial obligations of each spouse. However, the list is incomplete as any other factors the court deems relevant could also affect the property division decisions.

Getting what you deserve from your divorce

The law seems straightforward at first, but things can get pretty complicated. It is prudent to consult further and understand your rights and legal options when you encounter any issues to ensure you end up with a fair settlement when your divorce is settled.




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