Negotiations over delicate matters like property division and spousal support can quickly become heated during a divorce, but knowing what to expect may help spouses to avoid bitter disputes and reach amicable agreements. While Virginia’s equitable distribution law does not require marital property to be divided equally, it does call for the division to be basically fair. Spouses should prepare for these discussions by setting realistic goals, and they should not allow their emotions to get the better of them when the conversation turns to assets with great sentimental value.
Debts can also be a thorny issue during divorce negotiations, and spouses often agree to pay off any balances owed on the assets they will be receiving. However, banks are rarely deterred by divorce settlements when accounts fall into arrears, and ex-spouses would be wise to follow up and ensure that these promises are kept to prevent them from being held financially responsible for assets that they no longer have access to.
When negotiating alimony arrangements, the recipient will have to report it as income for tax purposes. Divorced spouses will also no longer be able to filed as married, and they may be required to pay capital gains taxes on assets received during property division and later sold.
Experienced family law attorneys will likely discuss these matters with their clients before negotiations begin, and they may urge their clients to consider the potential costs of a lengthy legal battle before walking away from the table. When spouses who are unable to reach an agreement wish to avoid litigation, attorneys could suggest an alternative method such as mediation.