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Property Division

Unless the parties agree as to how the property will be divided, a court will look to the Virginia Code (§ 20-107.3) and determine distribution through a process called “equitable distribution.” This does not necessarily mean that the parties will walk away with a 50/50 split. Factors (monetary and non-monetary) to be considered include:

  • Is the property marital property, or is it separate property (acquired before the marriage or after separation; acquired during the marriage using funds from the sale or exchange of separate property; or inherited by or gifted to one spouse, etc.)?
  • What contributions were made by the parties to the well-being of the family? Did both spouses work? Did one spouse take a career break to stay home with the children?
  • What are the contributions by each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of the marital property?
  • How long were the parties married?
  • What are the ages and physical/mental conditions of each of the spouses?
  • What circumstances led to the break-down of the marriage? Are there grounds for a fault-based divorce (as dictated by statute)?
  • How and when marital property was acquired?
  • What are the debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts, and the property which may serve as their security?
  • Is the martial property easily liquidated (sold)?
  • What are the tax consequences for each spouse?
  • Has either spouse used marital property for non-marital purpose, i.e. in anticipation of a divorce?
  • Are there any other factors the court needs to consider to reach an equitable result?

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