The Commonwealth of Virginia is one of more than forty states that utilizes an equitable distribution law when determining the division of marital property and debt in divorce proceedings. Since marriage is considered an economic partnership, in order to determine a fair and equitable division of marital property and debts, Virginia law that the property and debts be categorized and classified as marital, separate, or part marital and part separate; that the property and debts be properly valued and that the property and debts be equitably divided in accordance with the factor enumerated in the Virginia Code. This article addresses the division of marital property and debts in a divorce proceeding.
Virginia law provides that the following factors are required to be considered in dividing marital property and debts:
1. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
2. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
3. The duration of the marriage;
4. The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
5. The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including certain grounds of divorce;
6. How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
7. The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
8. The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property;
9. The tax consequences of dividing marital property;
10. The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for nonmarital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and
11. Such other factors as the Court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.
Equitable distribution of marital property and debts does not automatically equate to an equal division. The Court must make the final decision based upon what is fair, just and equitable.
The division of marital property and debts has a direct effect on the rights of the parties during the divorce proceedings. For more information, contact an attorney at Paulson & Paulson, PLC.