In Virginia, the courts are required to consider very specific statutory criteria when dividing property and debt pursuant to a divorce. Like most states (all on the east coast), Virginia is in equitable distribution state. That means that courts must make decisions on how to divide property and debt based on what the judge feels is “fair” (equitable) . . . and ”fair” does not, necessarily, mean “equal”. In mediation, we consider the very same set of criteria, with emphasis on those areas that our clients feel are most important to their case. This list is straight from the Virginia Code, Annotated §20-107.
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
- The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of the marital property of the parties;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
- The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage
- The time period and circumstances of when and how specific items of property were acquired;
- The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
- The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
- The tax consequences to each party under differing distribution options;
- The use or expenditure of marital property, by either of the parties, for a non marital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and
- Such other factors as the parties deemed necessary and appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable distribution of their marital property and debt.
This blog and its materials have been prepared by Graine Mediation for informational purposes only and are not intended to be, are not, and should not be regarded as, legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel.