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What is equitable division?

Part of your divorce process will involve dividing your marital property. In Virginia, the court will use the concept of equitable division to help do this. Before going to court and dealing with the property division process, you should have a good understanding of what equitable division is and how it works.

There is a misunderstanding that when a court divides property it does so evenly. The reality, and the basis for equitable division, according to the Virginia State Bar, is to divide property in a fair manner. To do so, the court needs to categorize property as either marital or separate. It is possible for property to be partial both marital and separate.

You both own marital property. It is something you acquired during the marriage. Only one of you owns separate property. You would have acquired it before your marriage. For something to be partial marital and partially separate property, you would need to have some overlap where separate property somehow became marital property is some way. For example, separate property that increases in value may end up with the increase in value labeled as marital property.

Separate property may also become fully marital property. This happens if you comingle it with marital property. For example, if you put separate money into a joint account, it then becomes marital property. You may be able to prove it is separate property if you have excellent records, but this is difficult.

The court will look at all marital property and separate it between you in an equal way by considering the value of the property. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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