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
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
- The liquid or non-liquid 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 non-marital 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.