While the vast majority of divorcing couples are able to amicably come to agreeable terms concerning division of their property, there are times when you need to rely on an attorney to guide you through the rough patches. The process of dividing property (and debts) is one of the more complex areas of divorce and family law. Virginia's property distribution scheme is referred to as "equitable distribution." Having a divorce attorney that is well-versed in Virginia's equitable distribution scheme will ensure the best possible outcome for your case.
The Impact Of Divorce On Mutually Owned Property
In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the process of property division is called "equitable distribution." In equitably distributing property, the Court, with the assistance of the parties' respective attorneys, must identify all assets owned by the parties, classify the assets as marital property, separate property or part-marital, part-separate or hybrid property, and then value each asset. Property is generally valued as of the date of trial. The courts also identify and classify all debts of the parties. The amount of any debt is generally determined as of the date of the parties' separation. The courts only have the power to distribute those assets that are classified as marital property or partly-marital property and to allocate marital debts between the parties.
In determining how to effectuate equitable distribution and whether to make a monetary award, courts consider the following factors:
- The contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
- The contributions, monetary and non-monetary, 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, specifically including any ground for divorce;
- 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 non-liquid character of all marital property;
- The tax consequences to each party;
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; and Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.
Our divorce attorneys at Smith Law Firm, PLC have a wide range of experience, education, and training. If you have any questions concerning property division, the division of assets and debts, or equitable distribution, please do not hesitate contacting someone at Smith Law Firm, PLC.