Going through a divorce entails negotiating and finalizing a number of issues. Dividing property accumulated during years of marriage may be one of the most complicated issues to tackle in the divorce process. Knowing what constitutes marital property can help ensure you receive all you deserve in the divorce settlement.
Virginia, as well as many other states in the nation, follow an equitable distribution of property model when dividing property. This means that the judge presiding over the case determines who gets what in the settlement after carefully considering several factors involved in the case. It does not necessarily mean that each party will get exactly half of the marital property and assets, as they would in a community property state.
The judge may take into account the following factors before finalizing the settlement:
- How long the couple was married
- The ages of each party, as well as their mental and physical condition
- How much each party contributed to the accumulation of the property and assets
- To what extent each party contributed to the wellbeing of the family
- The tax consequences each party would experience
- Why the couple filed for divorce
In addition, the judge may look at the amount of debt involved in the marriage and where the debt came from.
Keep in mind that you can negotiate the division of property through mediation if you wish to bypass the court system. During mediation, both parties can negotiate the terms of the property division according to their unique circumstances.