A married couple often has a decent amount of property and assets. First, each spouse likely came into the marriage with some property of their own. Next, the couple likely acquired a significant amount of property during the course of the marriage. When a couple divorces, how that property will be fairly divided is an important issue that should never be taken lightly. You should always have the assistance of an experienced attorney to ensure you receive a fair and equitable property settlement.
First, an attorney will help you differentiate separate property from marital property. In Virginia, only marital property will be divided between the spouses. Separate property usually includes:
- Property owned prior to the marriage
- Gifts to one spouse from a third party during the marriage
- Inheritance received by one spouse during the marriage
- Some personal injury settlements
Almost everything else acquired during the marriage is considered marital property.
Furthermore, equitable division of property does not always mean that a couple splits everything 50/50. Sometimes, it makes more sense for couples to negotiate and make trade-offs with certain types of property or assets. For instance, in many circumstances, one spouse—especially a custodial parent—will want to remain living in the family home. In such situations, it would not make sense to sell the house and divide the profits. Instead, deals can be made so one spouse takes over ownership of the home and the other spouse receives compensation for their share in a different, fair manner.
If the spouses cannot agree on the property division, they may want to try alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before dragging the argument into court. Raymond Benzinger is experienced in mediation and conciliation services to assist couples in negotiating and reaching an agreement on property division without the expense, stress, and time delay of litigation.
No matter whether you have a little bit of property or a very high net worth, property division is one of the most important determinations in every divorce. If you are facing divorce, do not hesitate to call the Law Offices of Raymond B. Benzinger at (703) 312-0410 for assistance today.