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What factors will a court use in the property division process?

Couples seeking a divorce in Virginia, whether they have been married only a few years or whether they have been married for decades, are faced with decisions about what to do with the property they amassed while married. Who gets the house, the cars, electronics, furniture, artwork and jewelry? Couples seeking a divorce may be surprised at just how much marital property they have that must be divided.

Sometimes a couple can negotiate property division out-of-court, but other times they must turn to the court to determine who gets what. When this happens, the court will consider a number of factors when dividing marital assets.

First of all, the court will consider what each spouse contributed to the family's well-being and the acquisition and care of marital assets. These contributions may be either monetary or nonmonetary. The court may also consider how long the marriage lasted. The age and health of each spouse may be considered. The court may also consider the circumstances that led the couple to decide to divorce. How and when a piece of property was obtained may also be considered.

Each spouse's debts, along with property that secures these debts may be considered. The liquidity of a piece of property may be considered. The tax consequences of keeping a piece of property may also be considered. How a spouse used a piece of property for nonmarital reasons, or in the case of funds, to dissipate them, in anticipation that he or she will be getting a divorce may also be considered. Finally, the court will consider any other factors needed to achieve a fair division of marital property.

As this shows, the division of property in a divorce takes careful consideration. In the end, any result should be fair to each spouse. To learn more about property division in Virginia, it may help to seek legal advice.

Source: Virginia State Bar, "Financial Issues in Divorce in Virginia," accessed Aug. 13, 2017

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