The courts in Virginia use the concept of equitable distribution to divide property fairly among the divorcing couples in Virginia.
In Virginia, there are two types of divorce cases. One is a fault-based divorce, which takes place when one spouse accuses the other of wrongdoing during the marriage such as adultery, conviction of a felony, desertion, and cruelty.
The second is a no-fault divorce which is a divorce with no grounds for divorce, but the couple has irreconcilable differences. There are no grounds in a no-fault divorce in Virginia and couples wishing to file for a no-fault divorce have to wait for a period of six months if there are no children and the parties have a signed and notarized separation agreement or one year if they have children during which they live in separate households before they are able to file for divorce. In no-fault divorces, there may be allegations of fault in issues related to spousal or child support and assets division.
When it comes to the division of marital resource, Virginia follows the concept equitable distribution which means the division of the assets between both spouses must be fair even if it isn’t equal. A court in Virginia will consider marital, separate and hybrid property in the assets division process.
Assets accumulated during the marriage is the assets that the couple acquired during the course of their marriage, it can be either titled jointly or titled separately even if acquired by one spouse.
Separate assets refers to assets owned by either of the spouses before the marriage. It may be considered assets accumulated during the marriage if the contributions of the other spouse led to an increase in its value or led to income being received through it. The marital share in any pension, personal injury compensation or retirement benefit of either spouse is also included as marital property.
Hybrid property is part marital and part separate wherein one partner contributes separate property to purchase assets accumulated during the marriage, for example paying the down payment on a house. But if the payment made by the partner can be traced and documented, it will be considered separate property.
To divide a property between the spouses, courts in Virginia will consider several factors including monetary and non-monetary contribution of each spouse to the family’s well-being, acquisition and preservation of assets accumulated during the marriage; the mental and physical health of each partner; the duration for which the marriage lasted; the circumstances which led to the dissolution of the marriage and if there are grounds for divorce such as adultery or cruelty; the nature of the assets in the assets accumulated during the marriage and how it was acquired; the debts and liabilities of each spouse and the basis of these debts along with any assets that may be used as security for these debts.
Special circumstances may also influence the property division process. For example, where one spouse spends deliberately with the intent to diminish the value of the property.
Joint marital property may be transferred to either partner or sold, but separate property solely titled on one spouse’s name may not be transferred to the other but can be settled by paying for it to the other spouse.
If you need to resolve issues related to property division, get in touch with an experienced divorce lawyer in Virginia.
Mr. Sris has helped clients for over 20 years with divorce cases that involve property.