Equitable Distribution in Virginia
Courts must first identify property as separate, marital, or hybrid. Separate property is property acquired prior to marriage, through an inheritance, or as a gift from someone other than a spouse. Spouses generally have no interest in the separate property of the other spouse, as long as it has been segregated and maintains its separate identity. Marital property is any property acquired from date of marriage until date of last separation, regardless of title. Hybrid property is property which is part separate and part marital.
Courts then must value the property and debt. Equitable Distribution calls for the judge to fairly divide the property between the spouses, using the following factors, which are set out in Virginia Code Section 20-107.3(E), which provides:
1. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
2. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
3. The duration of the marriage;
4. The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
5. The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivisions (1), (3) or (6) of § 20-91 or § 20-95;
6. How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
7. The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
8. The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property;
9. The tax consequences to each party;
10. The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and
11. Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.