Property Division FAQ
Northern Virginia Property Division Lawyer
If you have questions about property division, the division of assets and debts, or equitable distribution, you are not alone! Many people find this process to be one of the complexities associated with divorce and family law topics. Luckily, you can have a Northern Virginia divorce attorney on your side to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Read more about some common property division questions below:
How is property divided?
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the process of property division is called "equitable distribution." In that process, the court, with the help of the parties' attorneys, will identify all of the parties' property, value it and divide it. Courts consider a number of factors in dividing property, such as:
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
- The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage;
- How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
- The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property;
- The tax consequences to each party; and
- The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties.
What is marital property?
Marital property is generally considered to be any property acquired during the marriage by either party, regardless of who paid for it.
What is my separate property?
Separate property is generally considered to be any property that was acquired either prior or subsequent to the parties' marriage or acquired by separate gift or inheritance during the marriage from anyone other than your spouse. In most cases, you retain your separate property. Under certain circumstances, however, you can transform ("transmute") separate property into marital property.
What kinds of assets are divided in a divorce?
The Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes three types of property: separate property, marital property and hybrid property. Generally, in a divorce all of the parties' respective assets are identified, valued and allocated between the parties. This includes small things such as pots, pans and silverware; larger things such as furniture, cars, boats and planes; and even larger things such as businesses, real estate and retirement/investment accounts.
Why is valuation important?
In many ways, the division of property is nothing more than the division of values. Determining a fair value of your property - whether it's a closely-held business, an investment/retirement account or your marital home - placing an appropriate value on assets is crucial to achieving a truly equitable division. Attorneys often have the knowledge, experience, and resources (such as access to accountants, business and property appraisers and other professional experts) to help ensure you present a well-reasoned value to the court.
If you have any additional questions regarding property division, do not hesitate to contact a Northern Virginia property division attorney at our firm.