There are essentially two forms of divorce: contested and uncontested divorces. In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on the terms for your filing before you ever go to court.
If you can’t reach an agreement, then the courts will set the terms for you. How do the courts divide property in contested divorce proceedings?
For the Virginia family courts, fairness is the goal
Virginia is one of many states that uses an equitable distribution standard for marital property in contested divorces. The judge needs to review the family’s circumstances carefully and then use those to help determine what is fair and reasonable.
Factors that the judge might consider include the length of your marriage, the income and future earning potential of each spouse, the contributions of the spouses to the household and the custody of minor children. They will then use those considerations to guide them in finding a fair way to split your property and debts.
Most everything acquired in marriage can be divided
When it comes to determining what assets are marital property and what are separate property, the courts aren’t going to look at whose name is on the account or who made the purchase. What they care about is whether the income used to acquire assets was earned during the marriage.
Everything from pension contributions to a hidden bank account could wind up split in a Virginia divorce. The sooner you discuss your needs and situation with a lawyer, the easier it will be for you to plan for both the divorce itself and for your life after the divorce.