Understanding Your Marital Property Rights
Property division in your divorce can have a big impact on the quality of your life after your divorce. You should understand your rights, as well as how the law views marital property in the divorce process. At Robert L. Isaacs & Associates, we can help you identify your marital property interests and develop an individualized plan based on your needs and goals to achieve an equitable division of property. With over 35 years of combined legal experience, our lawyers understand the issues and know how to protect your rights.
Virginia’s Laws On Property Division
Marital property division, meaning “assets and debt obligations,” in Virginia, is called “equitable distribution.” During a divorce, the court must first classify the property into one of three categories: marital, separate or hybrid. The court must also determine the property’s value. Classification and valuation are determined through legal analysis, appraisals, tax assessments or expert opinions. The law expects the court to divide the property in a fair and equitable way, which may not mean a 50/50 split.
In determining how to divide this property, the court will consider factors such as:
- Monetary and nonmonetary contributions of each spouse
- Length of the marriage
- Tax implications
- Circumstances that contributed to the divorce, including adultery
Our job is to argue for the most favorable property settlement for you. Starting with your initial consultation, we will map out a detailed plan. Through the divorce process, we help identify, value and classify property accumulated during the marriage. We will work diligently to make sure that both assets and debts have a proper value assigned to them and protect your rights to any separate property. Once your divorce is final, we can also assist you with updating your estate plan.
Dealing With Complicated Assets
Property division can present extremely complex challenges that require the help of an experienced and dedicated legal team. This is especially true if your marital property includes complicated assets such as:
High-value assets – If you own assets like investment properties, off-shore accounts and investments or luxury goods such as boats or expensive art, you may need to involve specialty appraisers and tax professionals to understand the full value of the property.
Business assets – Whether you own a business on your own, with your spouse or others, have an investment interest in a business or run a professional practice, you will need the help of a professional business valuator to assess your interest.
Retirement savings and investments – Most people have some type of retirement or investment account and special rules apply to dividing the money in these accounts. If one of you serves in the military, you will need to follow guidance for dividing a military pension and other benefits.
We have developed unique and proprietary tools to help facilitate and explain the division of assets. These tools simplify property division and keep the various assets and liabilities in proportionate perspective. Most importantly, they help us plan efficient strategies and solutions.