While divorce is certainly an emotional event, it is also a major financial one. Individuals may be on the receiving or paying end of child support and alimony, and property division can set the stage for one's post-divorce financial standing. This is why Virginians need to understand the law as it pertains to these family law matters. Only by doing so can they better ensure that they negotiate and argue for resolutions that further their financial interests.
These arguments are often required when it comes to property division. Virginia recognizes equitable division of marital property, which means that assets should be divided fairly amongst the parties. This is not the same as an even split of assets and debts. One major issue that arises in this context, though, is what constitutes marital property and is therefore subject to property division. This is because property that is deemed to be separately owned is not divisible during marriage dissolution.
So, what type of property is considered separate? Assets owned prior to marriage are likely to be considered separate so long as they are not comingled with marital assets. If a separately owned bank account is merged into a jointly held one, though, then those separate assets are likely deemed to transform into marital assets. Gifts and inheritances left to one spouse are considered separate as well. However, these, too, may be considered marital assets if they are comingled with marital property. Other property like personal injury awards and property previously stipulated to as separate, such as through a prenuptial agreement, are likely to be considered separate.
There can be a lot at stake when dealing with property division during divorce. This is why Virginia residents are often well-served by discussing these matters and creating a legal strategy with a competent family law attorney.