When a couple in Virginia decides to end their marriage, they will need to make some important decisions regarding the division of their assets and liabilities. These decisions can affect their entire future post-divorce. It is important for each party to be prepared with the right information before property division negotiations begin.
Once you have made the decision to divorce, it can help to take inventory of all your assets and pertinent financial documents. This includes identifying your marital and non-marital assets, as well as gathering bank statements, investment account statements and the deed to your house. Similarly, any statements or documents regarding debts, such as a mortgage or credit card account, should be collected. Estate planning documents and insurance policies are also useful to have on hand. Finally, if you have a prenuptial agreement, make sure to locate this important document as it can help the entire property division process run smoother.
Once you have identified all of your assets and liabilities, it is necessary to determine what property is marital and what property is separate. In general, marital property includes any assets or liabilities obtained during the course of the marriage, and separate property is that which a party owned prior to marriage. However, if a person’s separate assets have been commingled with marital assets in such a way that it becomes impossible to distinguish which assets are separate and which are marital, the separate assets will lose their separate nature and be deemed marital assets. However, a prenuptial agreement, if there is one, can also delineate which assets are to be separate and which are to be marital.
Being prepared to address the financial aspects of your divorce can be key to reaching a satisfactory outcome. Property division is an important part of any divorce, and one that can be contentious, especially if both spouses believe they should be awarded certain assets. However, many couples are eventually able to reach a settlement regarding the division of assets out of court. And, should the issue need to be litigated, being prepared to make your case can help the judge make a decision that is fair and appropriate to all.