Dissolving a marriage is stressful and overwhelming. You face an exhausting process of splitting your assets and resolving issues that might arise. It can be challenging to navigate even if you and your ex are on good terms.
Worrying about whether your ex can walk away with specific property is common. You might wonder whether they are entitled to the marital home, bank account, or spousal support. You should hire a lawyer to help negotiate the terms of your divorce.
Virginia Is an Equitable Distribution State
According to Virginia Code § 20-107.3(B), both parties have interests and rights in marital property. Neither spouse is automatically entitled to marital assets until a judge considers various factors and determines how to divide everything equitably.
Equitable distribution is a method of dividing property in a divorce. Instead of splitting assets down the middle, courts divide everything equitably but not necessarily evenly.
You can avoid the court’s involvement by agreeing between yourselves on how to divide the property you and your ex own. However, if you can’t settle the matter, a judge must step in and decide on the issue. That means you have no control over the outcome of the case. That’s why reaching an agreement with your ex is crucial if you want a say in the property you can keep.
Types of Property in a Divorce
In a divorce, there are two types of property: marital and separate.
Marital property is all property titled in both parties’ names or assets each person acquires during the marriage that isn’t considered separate property. Common types of marital property include:
- Investment accounts
- Real estate
- Pension funds
- Motor vehicles
- Retirement plans
Separate property belongs to one spouse instead of both. It is not subject to division during divorce proceedings. Separate property includes:
- All assets one party acquires during the marriage by descent, bequest, survivorship, devise, or gift from someone other than the other spouse
- All real and personal property either spouse acquired before marriage
- Property acquired while married in exchange for or from the proceeds of selling separate property if it was maintained as separate property during the marriage
How Spousal Support Works in a Divorce
Spousal support is the financial support one person provides another after finalizing a divorce.
According to Virginia Code § 20-107.1(E), judges must consider various factors to determine the nature, duration, and amount of spousal support, such as:
- Standard of living established while married
- The law regarding marital property
- Physical and mental condition and age of each spouse and the family’s special circumstances, if any
- A child’s age, mental or physical condition, or special circumstances making it inappropriate for a party to seek employment outside of the home
- The time and costs involved, the opportunity for, and ability of a spouse to obtain the appropriate employment, education, and training to learn the necessary skills to enhance their earning ability
- Each person’s monetary and nonmonetary contributions to the family’s well-being
- Both spouse’s interests in real and personal and tangible and intangible property
- The couple’s decisions about economics, employment, parenting arrangements, career, and education during the marriage and the effects of the decisions on current and future earning potential, including the duration one or both spouses were absent from the job market
- Each spouse’s earning capacity, including education, training, and skills and employment opportunities based on the earning capacity
- Each party’s needs, obligations, and financial resources, including income from profit sharing, retirement accounts, or pensions
- The extent of either person’s contribution to the other’s attainment of training, career position, education, or profession
- Length of the marriage
- Additional factors in determining equitable distribution, including each party’s tax consequences and the circumstances contributing to the dissolution
Need a Divorce Attorney? Contact Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. Today
You should not pursue a property division arrangement alone. Hardt Law, P.L.L.C. can represent you during divorce proceedings and protect your rights. We will learn your wishes and try to reach a favorable outcome in your case.
Call us at (757) 962-5588 for a confidential consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer in Virginia Beach, VA.