In a Virginia divorce, martial property is divided through a process known as equitable distribution. The goal of equitable distribution is to divide the property as fairly and evenly as possible. Typically, this means that the property is split 50/50 between the parties. Factors the court will consider in the distribution include, but are not limited to, the contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family; the contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties; the length of the marriage; and the age and conditions of both parties. However, there are some instances when a court will deviate from an even split in property.
One major example of this phenomenon is adultery. In O’Loughlin v. O’ Loughlin, the wife was awarded 60% of the martial estate after her husband had a marital affair. The Court held that “Virginia has no presumption in favor of an equal division of the marital property. Instead, the applicable statute requires the trial court to determine the amount of the award and the method of its payment after considering the 11 specific factors. Once it has been determined that a monetary award is appropriate, the trial judge must determine the amount of the monetary award after considering the factors mandated by Va. Code Ann. § 20-107.3(E).” Thus, while equitable distribution typically means a fair 50/50 spilt of property, some circumstances or factors will allow for one party to receive more of the marital property.
If you have any questions about equitable distribution in your divorce matter, or want to know more about the subject, feel free to give us a call at 757-656-1000 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have!