Equitable DistributionExperienced, Respected, Trusted Family Law Guidance
Fairfax Equitable Distribution Attorneys
Highly Experienced Negotiators to Protect Your Spousal and Property Rights
At Hicks Crandall Juhl, P.C., our property division lawyers represent clients in Fairfax and the surrounding northern Virginia counties in all issues relating to equitable distribution of property, including valuation of assets and protection of separate property. Our attorneys have extensive experience in some of the most high-asset cases, such as those involving medical practices, law practices, internet companies, service companies, and other businesses. Our lawyers represent both owning and non-owning spouses, so you can trust that we will skillfully negotiate the outcome you are looking for as best we can.
Let Hicks Crandall Juhl, P.C. protect your spousal right to property today. Call (703) 884-1098 or contact us online to get started.
How Does Equitable Distribution Work?
When it comes to property division, Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is divided equitably between the parties, not necessarily evenly. While there is no presumption that each party will receive exactly 50% of the marital property, a division close to 50/50 is a good place to start, especially following a long-term marriage. From there, it may be reasonable to increase or decrease the percentage one party receives based on a multitude of factors (below).
Note that only marital property is up for division (property belonging to the marriage). Separate property, or property that belongs to each spouse individually, will not be subject to division. Marital property might be any type of property acquired or earned during the marriage, and an example of separate property is a gift or inheritance to one spouse alone.
Our property division lawyers have experience handling a variety of high-asset and standard distribution cases, including more specific cases like:
- Retirement asset division: Retirement benefits are subject to division just like any other asset acquired during the marriage. To receive everything you are entitled to, it’s important to be aware of all the different retirement assets your spouse may have and the ability to divide these benefits in the future.
- Distribution of assets for unwed cohabitants: Real estate, bank accounts, and other assets accumulated by unmarried cohabitants can be divided using a partition suit.
Factors the Court Will Consider When Dividing Property
The first step to the property division process is valuation of property, where spouses will determine how much their marital property is worth. After valuation, you can proceed to negotiation of division. Note that the court will consider the following factors when determining the division plan:
- each spouses' contributions, monetary and non-monetary, to the well-being of the family and to the acquisition, care, and maintenance of the marital property;
- the length of the marriage;
- the spouses' age and physical and mental condition;
- how and when the spouses acquired the marital property;
- each spouse's debts and liabilities;
- the liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property; and
- tax consequences of the property.
In the context of property division law, monetary contributions include marital property, any appreciation in the value of that property, income, and the use of separate funds for the benefit of the marriage. Non-monetary contributions include homemaking, childcare services, and other unpaid work.
The court may also factor in bad behavior when deciding the division of property. For instance, if one spouse had an affair, committed a crime, abused the other spouse, or committed some other fault, that bad behavior will count against that spouse in the court's evaluation of how they should fairly divide the property. Also, the court can increase one spouse's share if the other spouse did something to depreciate the marital property.
If you have legal questions or concerns about equitable distribution, do not hesitate to consult Hicks Crandall Juhl, P.C. for guidance on how to approach your negotiation. Our attorneys are highly experienced negotiators and can help you navigate the property division discussion in your divorce. We can help you identify what marital property is up for division, how your retirement assets might be divided, and how assets might be handled if you are unmarried cohabitants. We have handled many high-asset cases throughout our career and can handle yours, too.
Schedule an initial consultation online or at (703) 884-1098 to get started with Hicks Crandall Juhl, P.C.