Divorce Property Division Lawyer Fairfax
The division of property in a divorce in Virginia is governed by the principle of “equitable distribution.” This means the court looks at the equity of the situation to determine the property split, rather than just splitting everything down the middle like in a community property state.
The court must first take an inventory of all of the assets and debts of the parties and then determine which assets and debts are marital and which are non-marital. As a general rule, anything earned or purchased during the marriage is considered marital. However, there are several exceptions to this rule including property that is inherited or received as a gift from a non-marital source.
Once the court has determined the character and value of all marital assets and debts, it will apportion the assets and debts between the parties based on the following factors listed in Virginia Code § 20-107.3:
1. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
2. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
3. The duration of the marriage;
4. The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
5. The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivisions (1), (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95;
6. How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
7. 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;
8. The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property;
9. The tax consequences to each party;
10. The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital 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
11. Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.
Another factor that can affect a property division is a prenuptial agreement. In cases involving prenuptial agreements parties often feel that it is not necessary to have an attorney because their agreement governs the case. It is important to have an attorney who is familiar with the statutes and case law governing equitable distribution to ensure that you receive a fair settlement or judgment in your case even if you have a prenuptial agreement. Our attorneys will advocate for your position and tailor our representation to your specific needs.