During a divorce, many people may imagine that they will divide their assets in half. However, people have to follow Virginia laws about asset division.
In Virginia, courts use a system known as equitable distribution to divide a couple’s assets. According to FindLaw, equitable distribution means that a court divides the assets fairly. This does not mean that each spouse receives half of the assets. Instead, the specific circumstances of each family determine how the court divides the assets.
The details of the marriage
According to the Virginia State Bar, the courts consider certain factors before deciding how to split the assets. These include the length of the marriage and the contributions of each spouse, such as their salary. The court also considers nonmonetary contributions, such as child care. The age and health of each spouse is also a factor. Sometimes the court also considers the circumstances that led to the divorce.
If one spouse stayed at home to raise the children, the court may determine that this person needs a larger share of the assets. Conversely, people may receive a smaller share if the court considers them to be at fault for the divorce.
Before dividing the assets, officials have to determine what is marital property and what is separate property. Only the marital property is subject to equitable distribution. The court also determines the value of the marital property and considers how much each spouse contributed to this property. People may need to supply copies of their tax returns and credit card statements so the court can go over all this information.