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 issue of separate property.
Under Virginia law, separate property is defined as all property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or all property acquired during the marriage by inheritance or by a gift from a source other than a person’s spouse. Common examples include sums of money inherited by one spouse from a third party kept separate during the marriage or a vehicle given to one of the spouses by a parent that is only titled in the name of the spouse who received it. Separate assets remain the property of the original owner and are not subject to equitable distribution between the parties in the divorce action.
The classification of property as marital, separate, or part marital and part separate has a direct effect on how the property is ultimately divided to the parties during the divorce proceedings. For more information, contact an attorney at Paulson & Paulson, PLC.