If divorcing couples cannot reach an agreement about dividing property, a judge will hear evidence and issue a ruling. There is no uniform formula that Virginia courts apply to divide marital property.
While each couple’s circumstances are different, courts tend to apply some of the same guidelines when making rulings. Here are some of the most important things that people seeking a divorce in Virginia should know the disposition of property in divorce.
Only marital property is subject to division
Not everything that married couples own is subject to distribution. In accordance with Virginia’s statutory law about divorce, Courts divide only marital property. This consists of only property that people acquire during a marriage or own jointly. It generally does not include gifts or inheritances.
Virginia follows an “equitable distribution” doctrine
People usually associate the division of property and assets in divorce as a 50/50 split. Instead of splitting everything right down the middle, Virginia courts use an “equitable distribution” methodology to divide property in a way that would be fair and equitable to both parties.
The length of a marriage is important
In determining what would be most equitable, the length of a marriage may weigh heavily in a court’s analysis. If a marriage was fairly short, it may be appropriate for parties to leave with what they entered into it with.
Whether a married couple has modest or high-value property, it is essential that they approach distribution very seriously and strategically in divorce proceedings. A court’s ruling could have consequences that affect each party’s financial situation for many years to come.