Going through a divorce in Virginia is not an easy process. There are many elements involved. One of them is property division.
Virginia, like most states, follows the law of equitable distribution. What this means is that all marital property is split fairly, but not necessarily equally. This means the distribution may not be 50/50. It could be 60/40, 70/30, or something else entirely, depending on the circumstances. The court will look at factors such as the value of the marital property, how each spouse contributed to the marital property, the resources of each spouse, and how long the marriage lasted.
Virginia law requires that property and debts be classified as marital, separate, or both, i.e., hybrid. Also, marital property and debts must be classified, valued and equitably divided.
So, this begs the question: What exactly is marital property in Virginia? Marital property is defined as jointly titled property and any property acquired during the marriage that is not separate property. So, what is separate property? It refers to any assets acquired before the marriage in the sole name of one of the spouses, as well as any gifts or inheritances given to one spouse during the marriage. However, gifts from one spouse to another are considered marital property. An exception to this is an engagement ring. If it was acquired before the marriage, then it is considered separate property.
Marital property refers to anything of value that is acquired during the time in which the spouses were legally married. This includes bank accounts, income, investment portfolios, pensions, retirement accounts, houses, cars, jewelry, art, clothing, and furniture. Life insurance policies and lottery winnings are also considered marital property.
Even though you may consider your pet to be a child, your dog or cat is also considered marital property and visitation may need to be split in a divorce. If you and your spouse cannot agree on who gets Fido or Fluffy, then the judge may decide.
Keep in mind that assets are not the only thing split in a divorce. Any debt that you and your spouse have also needs to be divided. If there are debts titled in both spouses’ names, such as mortgages or auto loans, each spouse is jointly responsible for repaying the debt. If the spouses have individual debts, the court will decide whether the debt is marital or separate, and then divide it accordingly.
Marital property is split equitably in a Virginia divorce. This means that it is divided fairly, but not necessarily 50/50.
Learn more about separate and marital property and which may need to be divided in your divorce. The Manassas divorce attorneys at the Virginia Family Law Center can answer your questions and give you the advice you need. To schedule a consultation, fill out the online form or call.
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