Virginia is one of many states in the nation that has adopted an equitable division of property model when it comes to separating marital items in a divorce. Rather than split all marital property equally in half, the court divides property, assets and debts according to what it deems fair and equitable.
Whether you are able to negotiate property division with your spouse without using the court system or you rely on the court to make that decision for your case, it is important to understand the property division process.
Classifying marital property
According to the Virginia State Bar, marital property includes property, assets and debt accumulated during the marriage. Not only does this encompass the family home, vehicles, furniture and bank account contents, but marital property also includes these less common items:
- Term life insurance policies, 401k plans, money market accounts, stocks and retirement accounts
- State and federal income tax refunds
- Expensive collections, such as wine, classic cars, art, antiques and coins
- Memberships to exclusive country clubs and golf courses
- Intellectual property, such as patents, trademarks and copyrights
- Gifts you and your spouse exchanged during the marriage
Property and assets loaned to a third party during the marriage are also considered marital property and the court may divide it once it is repaid.
Dividing marital property
Once each party has (divulged) all property and assets in their possession, the court will divide it accordingly after consideration of several factors. The court will look at how long the marriage lasted, whether there are children involved and why the marriage ended. The court may also consider each party’s contribution to acquiring the property and assets. Furthermore, it may factor in each person’s job, ability to make money, age and health.