Divorce, no matter the circumstances, can be a very painful and emotional undertaking. It is not uncommon to be anxious about what will happen to the assets you have accumulated while in marriage. And if you share children, it is absolutely natural to wonder what their living arrangement will be like going forward.
If you are going through a divorce in Virginia, it is important that you understand the state’s marital property laws. This will minimize conflicts that may arise while ensuring that each party walks away with their fair share of the marital property.
Virginia is an equitable distribution state
Virginia is one of the states that apply equitable distribution law when diving marital property. The goal of this property division system is to ensure that each party gets a fair share of the marital property. However, it is important to understand that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that the marital property will be divided on a 50-50 basis.
So what exactly is marital property?
It is not uncommon for people to get into marriage with property (and debts) of their own. Still, they may acquire more assets or enter into debt while in the marriage. Consequently, commingling of these sets of assets can cause confusion.
Fortunately, Virginia law defines marital property as any asset or debt that a couple acquires from the date of the marriage. These include each party’s earnings, pensions and retirement plans, homes and other movable assets. Debts like credit card debts or mortgages (if the home was acquired under joint tenancy) are also treated as marital property.
Considerations when dividing marital property
To ensure fairness in dividing marital property, the divorce court will take the following factors into account:
- The length of the marriage
- Each party’s contribution to the household’s wellbeing
- Each party’s contribution to the acquisition of the marital property
- The nature of the assets
- Each party’s debts and liabilities
- Tax implications of property division
Property division can be confusing, to say the least. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while litigating property division during your Virginia divorce.