The state of Virginia is not a community property state. As such, spouses who find themselves arguing a divorce case in front of a judge are not facing the inevitability that the value of their marital estate will be divided 50-50 between them.
Virginia is an equitable distribution state. This means that a judge can ultimately hand down any asset division order that they deem to be “fair” under the circumstances. Alternatively, if they are in a position to work collaboratively alongside their attorneys, spouses can mutually agree to divide their assets in any way they like.
If you’re pursuing a divorce in Virginia, you’ll need to examine whether the value of your marital estate should be divided in any way other than a 50-50 split in order to secure a fair and equitable divorce arrangement. For example, if you used a personal inheritance to start your family’s business and you’ve done the lion’s share of the work in running that enterprise, the value of that asset may need to be divided disproportionately in your favor.
By carefully considering what a genuinely fair distribution of your marital assets would look like, you’ll be in a stronger position to advocate for what you’re owed. Whether you hope to keep your divorce process amicable or your divorce is likely to become contentious, understanding your rights under Virginia law will be critical to ensuring that your divorce results in a truly equitable division of your marital assets.
Should you have questions about how to conduct a thorough valuation of your marital estate, which assets should be treated as marital property or how you should start constructing an equitable asset division plan, don’t hesitate to seek legal guidance. Knowing your rights can be empowering. Seeking assistance in protecting your interests can help you to act on the knowledge you’ve gained.