Virginia Attorneys – Divorce or Separation
Diligently Representing Virginia Residents in Complex Property Characterization Disputes.
When facing the prospect of divorce, it is a very stressful and uncertain time. If your marriage is one of long duration, you may have substantial marital assets that you worked hard in or out of the home to build. Dividing the assets and debts during divorce can be complicated if you have a high net worth marital estate, a family business, professional practice (physician or lawyer) or assets to which it is difficult to assign a value. Frequently, our divorce attorneys are able to facilitate reaching an agreement regarding the property in a marriage, but the animosity and pain of divorce can impair the ability of a divorcing couple to communicate effectively and resolve their property dispute amicably.
Our experienced marital property division attorneys have assisted clients in Virginia in navigating past these emotional hurdles to reach mutually beneficial property division agreements. The future of your financial security can be greatly affected by the division of marital assets during a divorce. Our experienced family law attorneys provide candid advice and negotiate to achieve a division of assets that will provide you with the financial foundation to rebuild for the future. Although we strive to negotiate to obtain a settlement of marital property issues that is in our client’s best interest, we recognize that sometimes an agreement is not possible.Our experienced Virginia family law attorneys to persuasively advocate for your best interest in court.
Factors in Division of Marital Property
A family court judge during a divorce has wide discretion in choosing how marital property in a divorce will be divided. Under Virginia law, property division is based on an “equitable distribution.” An equitable distribution is not necessarily the same as an equal distribution. Rather, an equitable distribution is a fair distribution that may or may not be equal. Property that was obtained by either spouse prior to marriage will typically be considered separate property and retained by the party that acquired the asset. The same is typically true of property that is acquired by inheritance or gift. The proceeds of separate property or property obtained in exchange for separate property also will typically be considered separate property assuming it was maintained with separate property funds.
With the exceptions above, property acquired during the marriage generally is considered marital property and will be equitably divided between the parties. Property that is titled in both parties names or that received marital property contributions generally will be considered marital property. There are a number of common factors that Virginia divorce courts look to when dividing marital property.
Factors that a Virginia family law judge may consider include:
- Marriage duration
- The age and health (physical and mental) of each spouse
- Relative financial position of each spouse
- How and when the asset was acquired
- Tax impact
[Derived from Virginia Code §20-107.3(E)]
Challenging Issues in Valuing and Dividing Property during Divorce
The process of dividing the marital estate (i.e. assets and debts) during a divorce can be complicated. Both assets and debts need to be listed on financial statements to both identify them and to facilitate valuing marital property. Sometimes assets can be difficult to value such as family heirlooms, stock options or a business enterprise.
Another complication that frequently interferes with the process of dividing marital assets occurs when one of the parties to a divorce hide or divert assets. Both parties to a divorce have an obligation to make full disclosure regarding marital assets so that an equitable division of property can be reached. This issue can be particularly problematic if one spouse owns a business or has had primary control of financial matters during the marriage.
The process of dividing property during a divorce is also made difficult when there are payments may during the marriage toward the maintenance of assets acquired prior to marriage. This means that a determination must be made regarding what percentage of the asset is separate property and what percentage of the asset is marital property. Common examples of this type of asset include a 401K or residence of one spouse that was acquired prior to marriage but received contributions from income of the spouse during marriage. Because income earned during marriage is marital property, the asset that was originally a separate property asset now has a marital asset component.
If the asset has appreciated in value, the appreciation must also be apportioned between the separate property and the marital property contributions toward the asset. Our experienced Virginia asset division attorneys carefully analyze our clients? complete marital estate so that we can seek the best possible resolution of property division issues in our clients? divorces.
In complex asset division cases, we may even employ experts like forensic accountants to help facilitate the best possible property disposition for our clients.
Retaining the Right Attorney
Before entering into any property settlement agreement in your divorce, we invite you to consult with the Virginia divorce and family law attorneys at Pirsch and Associates, PLLC. While negotiating a property settlement agreement can be an efficient and effective way to settle disputes in property division cases, it is important to have legal advice so that you can determine your rights and accurately evaluate a proposed division of marital property.
Once our experienced family law attorneys have help you reach an amicable agreement regarding division of property, we can help you draft a marital settlement agreement that effectuates the agreed upon resolution to your property settlement dispute. If an agreement cannot be obtained, we are prepared to diligently pursue your interest in court.
When you are involved in a divorce in Virginia, the experienced divorce attorneys at Pirsch and Associates, PLLC can help you eliminate the fear of an uncertain future by providing a candid assessment and guiding you to a favorable resolution of your marital property division dispute. We offer a free case assessment so contact Pirsch & Associates, PLLC at 703-548-5182.
Come meet us in person:
Pirsch & Associates, PLLC
1307 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Our divorce and family law attorneys serve the needs of clients in Virginia. Our law firm offers easy payment arrangements, which includes all major credit cards and even flat fee rates for certain types of legal matters.