Equitable distribution is Virginia’s term for dividing property and debt in a divorce. Equitable distribution allows for the sorting or classifying of property among married couples. Married couples may have separate, marital, or even hybrid property interests. Hybrid property is a property that is part marital and part separate. This unwinding of the financial aspects of marriage may involve the use of other professionals such as appraisers or accountants. These professionals often assist the married couple, the attorneys, and the Court to understand the value of the property. They will assist with ensuring a fair and equitable division of the marital estate.
When your marital estate must be decided by the Court, the Court will consider several factors when determining how to divide the property and debt. These factors are found in Virginia Code Ann 20-107.3 and are as follows:
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties
- The duration of the marriage
- The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties
- The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivision A (1), (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95
- How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired
- 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
- The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property
- The tax consequences to each party
- The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a 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
- Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award
As you can see from the list of factors above, there are significant considerations when dividing property owned by married couples. If you are considering a divorce, it is wise to seek sound advice from one of our family law attorneys at Phillips & Peters.
We are prepared to assist in protecting your financial interests. Our team has years of experience handling complex equitable distribution matters whether there is a family business involved, separate equity in a marital residence, retirement accounts, or inherited assets. We will provide you with strategic advice for when you are ready to take the next step forward.