What? I Don’t Automatically Get Half?

We have all heard about celebrities divorcing and the other spouse getting 50% of everything. That is not the case in Virginia. Virginia is considered an equitable distribution state. When two parties divorce, the court has to determine what category to place the property. There are three separate categories. First, there is the category of separate property. Examples of separate property, MAY include personal or real property owned prior to the marriage or an inheritance. Second, there is marital. Examples of marital property, MAY include the marital home, retirement earned during the course of marriage and even debt incurred during the marriage. The last is a hybrid category. Property may be part marital and part separate. Once the court determines which category the property belongs, then it looks to the eleven factors set forth in Virginia Code Section 20-107.3. Some factors considered are the length of the marriage and what contributions, both monetary and non-monetary, were made and by whom. After applying those factors, the court can divide the property as it deems fair and equitable, which at times is not 50/50. To discuss how the property you have acquired either prior to or during the marriage may be affected in a divorce in Virginia, consult an attorney.

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