Whether you have already filed for divorce, or are simply in the beginning stages of considering a separation, you may be uncertain of how property is divided in a settlement. Virginia follows an equitable distribution of law model when dividing property, which means that property and assets are divided in a fair and equitable fashion. Ultimately, the judge is responsible for determing who is entitled to what in the settlement. 

When creating a divorce settlement, the judge appointed to the case may consider several factors. These include the following:

  •          How much each party contributed to acquiring the property and assets.
  •          How long the couple was married.
  •          The ages, occupations and earning potential of each party.
  •          What were the ground for divorce.  

In addition to these factors, the judge may look at the tax benefits and consequences of each party once the property is divided.

It is important to keep in mind that not all property is eligible for division in a divorce. Separate property stays in the possession of the original owner once the estate is settled. This property consists of any property that was owned by either party prior to the marriage, inheritance given to either party or gifts given to either spouse by a third-party before, during or after the marriage. It is crucial that separate property remains in the sole name of the owner, as once the other spouse’s name is added to the estate title or account, the property may become marital.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.