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 classification of valuation.

In general, Virginia law provides that marital property and marital debts are valued as of the date of the evidentiary hearing or trial. One exception to this rule involves retirement plans. Since the marital portion of these plans are the contributions and earnings which occur during the marriage, they are valued from the date of the marriage to the date of separation. Courts can order that the non-working spouse can receive up to fifty percent (50%) of the marital share of any profit-sharing plan, pension plan, deferred compensation plan or retirement benefits. In addition, marital debts constitute another exception to the rule and are valued as of the date of the evidentiary hearing. Credit card charges that are not related to a marital purpose incurred post separation are not marital debts.

Gathering real estate appraisal reports, income tax returns, valuation reports of motor vehicles or boats, published valuations for stocks, bonds and mutual funds, opinions on value of businesses and consumer debt statements is critical in the collection of evidence needed to properly value marital property and debts in a divorce.

The valuation of property has a direct effect on the rights of the parties during the divorce proceedings. For more information, contact an attorney at Paulson & Paulson, PLC.