Involved With a Property Settlement Dispute?
Property settlement agreements are common in Virginia, particularly in cases where there are no children. This is because Virginia law allows for a shortened separation period (six months instead of one year) in cases where the spouses submit a written property settlement agreement to the court. A property settlement agreement may resolve dividing property, resolving child support and spousal support, and deciding custody and visitation rights of the parties.
The Division of Marital Property
In Virginia, marital property is divided by equitable distribution. This means that, regardless of how property was titled, any property acquired by the couple during the marriage is considered marital property and may be divided according the court’s discretion. Property that is considered separate property is:
- Property acquired by either spouse prior to marriage
- Property acquired by either spouse during the marriage by gift or inheritance
- Property acquired in exchange for separate property, so long as that property is not commingled with marital property
- Property acquired after the spouses separate or divorce
In Virginia, there is no presumption that the property should be divided evenly and the judge may divide the marital property in any proportion that he or she sees fit. When determining how marital property should be divided, Virginia courts consider the following factors:
- Contributions each spouse made to the family and to the acquisition of marital property (both monetary and non-monetary)
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and physical and mental condition of each spouse
- Circumstances that may have contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, such as adultery, cruelty, desertion or the conviction of a felony
- Debts and liabilities of each spouse
- Liquid or non-liquid character of marital property
- The tax consequences to each party
The Family Residence
One of the most significant pieces of marital property is the family residence. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, usually both spouses have an interest in the home. Courts will often do one of the following when dividing interest in the family residence:
- Order the property be put up for sale and then distribute the sale proceeds to the parties
- Order one spouse to buy out the other spouse’s equity in the house
- Order a sheriff’s sale
Talk With an Experienced Family Law Attorney at Dua Law Firm, PLLC
We understand the frustration associated with coming to an agreement about how your property should be divided upon divorce. We work with our clients to achieve the best result possible. Contact our firm today for representation in your divorce proceedings and resolving differences through a property settlement agreement.
Call Travis Van Hook or Raj Dua at (703) 382-7300.
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