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Dividing property in a divorce in Virginia

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Family Law

If you are in the process of getting a divorce in Virginia, it is important that you understand exactly what is involved in property division and how it will affect you. In Virginia, property division is also referred to as equitable distribution. It is the process of dividing the property responsibilities and rights between two spouses who are divorcing. The best-case scenario is that the property is divided amicably by two spouses who agree through a property settlement. If that doesn’t happen, it may need to be decided in court in front of a judge.

The decisions that are made regarding property division are affected by state laws. Virginia is an equitable distribution state. Only property that was obtained during the marriage can be divided in a divorce situation. Some of the issues that are considered by the court when it comes to property division are contributions that are not monetary, contributing to a partners education, improper economic behavior and some other factors under Virginia Code § 20-107.3.

Exactly how do we divide property?

According to the laws of Virginia, marital property is property that was obtained or comes directly from work and investments of the two people in the marriage. The term, “equitable division” doesn’t necessarily mean that the property will be divided equally. However, it will be divided equitably based on the factors set forth in Virginia Code § 20-107.3. Those factors include the ages of the spouses, their health, their ability to earn a living and property that should not be considered marital property.

Does property division only occur during a divorce?

Any property that is considered marital property will be divided during the divorce. If either spouse has property that they acquired either before the marriage started or that they acquired completely independent of the other spouse (for example, an inheritance from their grandmother), that will not be divided. Interestingly, some property may have started out as individual property but if the other spouse has contributed to the value of that property during the course of the marriage, it will be considered comingled property and will be subject to some division between the spouses.

Some property division is complex

Even if you started out in your marriage with almost nothing, by the time you have been together for several years, you may have acquired a substantial amount of property and assets. Dividing the property between the spouses in that case is not always so simple. There may be situations in which the couple needs several different professionals to help them sort out the property division in a way that satisfies everyone involved. Thankfully, there are people with the expertise that is needed so that the situation turns out well.