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How Are Assets Divided During Divorce?

An important element of virtually every divorce is the division of marital property. In fact, this division often becomes a sticking point in the divorce process. Better understanding how this division works in the State of Virginia can help you become better prepared to make some of the difficult decisions you face – and consulting with an experienced Virginia Beach divorce attorney early in the process is one of the best ways to help ensure that you protect your financial rights. 

An Equitable Division

In Virginia, those assets that you acquire over the years of your marriage are considered marital property, which must be divided equitably in the event of divorce. In this context, equitably means fairly given all the circumstances involved and does not necessarily mean equally. If the matter goes to trial, the court will base its decisions on what it deems fair in your unique situation. 

Separate Property

Those assets that you and your spouse brought into the marriage with you and that you kept separate throughout will remain your separate property, which means a divorce won’t divide them along with your marital property. It is important to note, however, that keeping separate property separate throughout the busy years of a marriage is often no easy task, and establishing that separate property is indeed separate can be exceptionally challenging. Further, even when you keep an asset strictly separate, any increase in its value is marital property. A prime example is retirement accounts. The value of your 401k account when you entered your marriage is likely separate property, but any increase in its value that you’ve experienced over the years is very likely marital. 

Factors that Play a Role

The factors that the court takes into consideration in the division of marital property are wide-ranging and generally include:

  • The length of your marriage
  • You and your spouse’s separate contributions (both monetary and nonmonetary) to the overall well-being of your family and to the acquisition, care, and maintenance of your marital assets
  • How you and your spouse acquired the marital property
  • Your age and physical and mental health (and your spouse’s age and physical and mental health)
  • You and your spouse’s separate assets and debts
  • The tax implications associated with your marital and separate assets
  • The liquid or nonliquid character of your marital assets overall 

In other words, the division of marital property is complicated, and the following factors can make it more so:

  • Having high assets generally
  • Owning a business
  • Owning multiple real estate properties
  • Having complicated financials that intermingle marital and separate properties

Seek the Professional Legal Guidance of an Experienced Virginia Beach Divorce Attorney Today

The resourceful divorce attorneys at Mahoney Richmond Thurston, PLLC, in Virginia Beach, have a wealth of impressive experience successfully guiding divorce cases like yours toward beneficial resolutions that protect our clients’ financial rights as they relate to the division of marital property. To learn more about how we can also help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.