Divorce is one of the biggest changes in life a person can undertake. Not only is one transitioning from married life to being single, but they may find that this transition touches not only their personal life, but their financial situation as well. Therefore, it is important to have a clear understanding of financial issues that will need to be settled in the divorce process.
One issue that will affect just about everyone going through a divorce is property division. Virginia is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that when marital assets are divided in a divorce, the court will do so based on fairness and equity, which may not mean equally. While one may think of things such as the family home, automobiles and other tangible assets as marital property, marital property could also include non-tangible assets including deferred benefits, such as pensions, stock options and more.
If a couple has minor children, child support will need to be addressed. Virginia, along with all other states in the nation, utilizes a standard formula to calculate what the minimum amount of child support payments should be, although courts have the ability to increase these payments if they feel it is necessary. Child support payments will be reviewed periodically taking inflation and changes to each party’s income into account.
Some spouses may anticipate either paying or receiving spousal support after a divorce. However, permanent awards of spousal support are falling out of favor. Instead, spousal support is often limited to a certain number of years, often what is deemed to be sufficient for the receiving party to become financially self-sufficient. In addition, courts will take into consideration not only the receiving party’s needs, but also the paying party’s ability to meet their spousal support obligations.
Transitioning from married to single can be challenging, especially when it comes to finance issues. If the divorce process is dominated by one party, it could result in a decree that places the other party at a financial disadvantage. Therefore, both parties will want to ensure they have the assistance they need to protect their interests throughout the divorce process, so that the final outcome is fair and appropriate.