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Virginia Property Division Factors

In Virginia, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Domestic Relations Court within the Decree of Divorce.

Virginia is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Domestic Relations Court will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Domestic Relations Court to be fair.

Virginia defines separate property as (i) all property, real and personal, acquired by either party before the marriage; (ii) all property acquired during the marriage by bequest, devise, descent, survivorship or gift from a source other than the other party; (iii) all property acquired during the marriage in exchange for or from the proceeds of sale of separate property, provided that such property acquired during the marriage is maintained as separate property; and (iv) that part of any property classified as separate.

Virginia defines marital property as (i) all property titled in the names of both parties, whether as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety or otherwise, except as provided by subdivision A 3, (ii) that part of any property classified as marital, or (iii) all other property acquired by each party during the marriage which is not separate property.

When dividing the property, the court will consider: a. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family; b. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties; c. The duration of the marriage; d. The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties; e. The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage f. How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired; g. The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities; h. The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property; i. The tax consequences to each party; j. The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and k. Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award. (Virginia Code - Title 20 - Sections: 20-107.3)