Just as the physical and emotional separation involved in a divorce can be taxing, so too can be the process of separating the property and assets a couple acquired during their marriage. If the parties can’t reach an agreement as to the division and distribution of their property, the court will do it for them. The law governing property and asset division in Virginia is often complicated, and disputes over property can be contentious, requiring a divorce lawyer who fully understands the principles that determine who gets what when a marriage ends.
At Gore & Kuperman, our Fairfax divorce lawyers understand the nuances of property division and asset valuation and have the legal and financial acumen to ensure that our clients keep or obtain the assets and resources to which they are entitled under the law.
Property Division in Virginia
When property is divided in a Virginia divorce, the first step is determining what assets are “marital property” and which are “separate property.” Only marital property is subject to division and distribution in a divorce. Generally, separate property are those assets each spouse had at the time they got married as well as property one spouse obtained by gift or inheritance during the marriage. Marital property is whatever was acquired during the marriage, including the increase in value or appreciation of separate property during the marriage (“hybrid property”).
Marital property in a Virginia divorce is divided by using a legal principle known as “equitable distribution.” It is important to understand that “equitable” does not mean “equal.” Rather than simply dividing property 50/50, Virginia courts will consider a number of factors in determining how to fairly and equitably distribute a couple’s property.
Specifically, the following considerations go into a judge’s determination as to how property is to be divided between the spouses:
- 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;
- 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 tax consequences to each spouse;
- The use or expenditure of marital property by either spouse for a separate nonmarital purpose or the dissipation of such funds.
What can make asset division tricky and complicated are issues relating to the proper valuation of property, the allocation of debts and liabilities, and providing for the distribution of such assets as pensions, retirement accounts, profit sharing plans, and the like. Ensuring that each spouse receives a fair distribution of marital property that reflects the proper value of that property and complies with the law is a task that no one going through a divorce should attempt without sound guidance and counsel from an experienced Virginia divorce attorney.
At Gore & Kuperman, we have the knowledge and insights necessary to navigate the complexities of property division and asset valuation and have the advocacy and negotiation savvy to ensure our clients receive a fair and equitable share of assets after the end of their marriage.
Please call the Fairfax divorce and family law attorneys at Gore & Kuperman today at (703) 385-7300 or contact us below. We look forward to assisting you.