Some couples in the Arlington area may be married for years or even decades. However, not all these marriages are happy ones, and some couples may ultimately decide to divorce. One worry that many people who are facing divorce have is who will get what when it comes to dividing their property. After all, each side wants to get their fair share.

On what basis will courts in Virginia divide property in a divorce? 

When it comes to property division in a divorce, Virginia courts will make decisions based on “equitable distribution.” What is equitable distribution? It is a means of dividing marital property in a manner that is fair to both spouses, even if this does not lead to an exact 50-50 split. Marital property is that which the spouses obtained while married (with some exceptions) and that is jointly owned, even if only one spouse’s name is on the title.

There are certain factors that courts will consider when deciding how to divide marital property in a divorce. One factor is the monetary and non-monetary contributions each spouse made to support the family and the monetary and non-monetary contributions each spouse purchase and maintain marital property.

How long the marriage lasted will also be considered. Other considerations include each spouse’s age and health. Courts will consider the grounds on which the divorce was based, and how and when marital property was purchased.

Each spouse’s debts are a consideration especially if an asset serves as security for these debts. Whether a piece of property can be sold may be considered, as may any tax consequences that would result if a party was awarded certain assets. If a spouse used marital property for a non-marital purpose or if a spouse got rid of an asset in anticipation of divorce may be considered. Finally, as a catch-all, courts can consider any other factor necessary to make the outcome of the property division process fair.

Facing property division issues? An attorney may be of assistance

This post only scratches the surface of property division. If a couple has a significant amount of marital property, property division can be one of the most complex divorce legal issues they face. In the end many people facing divorce find it useful to consult with an attorney to make sure their interests are protected, and they get their fair share in the property division process.

Family law attorneys understand how the legal process of divorce works, and can provide practical, professional advice based on the facts of each client’s unique circumstances. This allows their clients to make choices that lead to a brighter future post-divorce.