Divorce almost always involves a division of marital property, which is generally defined as any property — personal or real — that was acquired by using funds that were earned during the marriage.
Most of the time, property and debt distribution is settled between the parties in a signed Marital Settlement Agreement. If the matter is unable to be resolved out of court, a judge will ultimately determine who should receive which property and who will be responsible for any debt that accrued during the marriage.
Virginia is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that when the two sides are unable to negotiate a division agreement on their own, the circuit court will impose division following specific codified rules:
- A discovery process will put all marital assets and debts on the table — these assets and liabilities will be characterized as either marital, separate or part-marital/part-separate.
- All assets and debts will be assessed for their dollar value so that a logical division may be made.
- Assets and liabilities will be divided equitably — not necessarily a 50/50 division, but making every effort to be fair and acceptable to both sides.
Property to be divided includes everything acquired during the marriage:
- Real estate
- Complex assets like family-owned businesses
- Personal property, like cars, ATVs, trailers
- Investment accounts
- Stock options and employer stock awards
- Pensions, IRAs and 401(k)s
Our lawyers will help you distinguish between separate and marital property. Furthermore, our lawyers know exactly how, through the discovery process, to find assets the other spouse may have concealed or overlooked. We can also assist in dealing with assets that were commingled during the marriage. We are skilled in dividing even the most difficult assets, such as retirement and pension savings, which may require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or Court Order Acceptable for Processing (COAP).
It is critical that you have an attorney skilled in financial analysis and alert to the strategies of the other side in this process. To discuss your case and its special problems, contact the property division attorneys at The Laurel Brigade Law Group in Leesburg, at 703-777-6161.