For many people in Virginia and throughout the United States, divorce can be a complicated process. Property division may be one of the most difficult topics to discuss, as people become attached to items they have amassed during the marriage.
Knowing how property division works in the state can help to facilitate the process, and could help maximize how much each party receives in the final decree.
What is equitable division of property?
Rather than have property divided equally in half between spouses, equitable division of property separates martial items according to what the judge deems ‘fair and equitable.’ According to the Virginia State Bar, each party must disclose all property in his or her possession. Afterward, the courts classify all property as marital, separate, part marital or part separate. While marital property is everything acquired throughout the marriage, such as the house, cars and furniture, separate property includes all things obtained before the marriage, as well as inheritance money or gifts given by a third-party.
What factors does the judge consider?
The judge presiding over the case will carefully consider certain factors pertaining to the situation, and then make a decision as to who receives what in the final settlement. These factors include the following:
- The amount each party contributed to the property value, as well as to the familys’ well being
- The length of the marriage
- The physical and mental health of each party
- The occupation or each party, as well as their ability to earn a living
- The debts and liabilities of each party
- The tax consequences that dividing the property will have on each party
The judge may also consider whether one spouse stayed home to take care of the children while the other party furthered their education or career.