Jonathan B. Vivona, PLC
Attorney at Law

601 King Street, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
(Entrance on St. Asaph St.)
[email protected]

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703-739-1353

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Equitable Distribution
 
Virginia law applies the concept of equitable distribution to dividing property and debts between the spouses in a divorce proceeding.  Courts must follow the following steps to determine how the property will be divided:.
 
  • classify property and debts as marital property or separate property (some property can be both) 
  • value the marital property; and
  • divide marital property “equitably” based on a number of statutory factors contained in Virginia Code §20-107.3.
 
Classification of Property
 
Marital property is defined as all jointly-owned property and all other property, other than separate property, acquired from the date of the marriage to the date of separation.  Separate property is all property acquired by either spouse before the marriage or all property acquired during the marriage by inheritance or by a gift from a source other than one’s spouse.
 
Valuation
 
The value of marital property or marital debts is an issue of fact to be stipulated to by the parties or determined at trial.  Property such as cash, bank accounts, stocks, investment accounts and retirement accounts is normally easy to value.  Other property, such as a car, house or business may require additional inquiry by the spouses and the Court.  Parties can use various forms of evidence to demonstrate the value of property, including real estate or vehicle appraisal reports, income tax returns, certified public accountant opinions on valuation and the parties’ own testimony.
 
Division of Marital Property and Debts
 
The following factors are required to be considered in dividing marital property and debts:
  • contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
  • duration of the marriage;
  • ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
  • causes of the dissolution of the marriage,
  • when marital property was 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 illiquid character of all marital property;
  • tax consequences of dividing marital property; and
  • use or expenditure of marital property by either of the spouses for nonmarital purposes or dissipation of marital funds done in anticipation of divorce or separation.
 
Retaining Your "Equitable" Share
 
Equitable distribution can be ordered by the Court or agreed upon in a Property Settlement Agreement.  The valuation and division of real property may be especially difficult because it is illiquid, its market value can change quickly, the parties may not agree on whether to retain or sell the property, and there may be liens on the property.  No matter the case, you should prepare a comprehensive list of all your assets and liabilities and review it with your attorney.  This way you can properly catergorize and value the property and prioritize what is most important to you.
 
 
  Jonathan B. Vivona, PLC
  Attorney at Law

601 King Street, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
 

Tel: 703-739-1353
Email: [email protected]
 

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