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What is the Difference Between Separate and Marital Property?

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Going through a divorce is hard on most couples. You may have recently decided you want a divorce and need to talk to your spouse about what to do with your assets.

In Virginia, all property in a marriage is categorized as separate property or marital property under the equitable distribution policy.

What is Equitable Distribution?

Equitable distribution is when the court divides your property and assets by what is considered fair to both parties. However, this will not always result in a 50/50 split. The court will look at both of your contributions to the marriage, how much money you earned, and what your needs will be after your divorce.

It’s possible for you and your spouse to come to an agreement about what you think is a fair distribution of your property during the separation period. The court typically waits until the end of your case to divide your assets and categorize them as separate or marital property.

What is Marital Property?

Marital property is considered all properties or assets you acquired together during your marriage and titled in both names. All property you had during your marriage is considered to be jointly owned unless there is some form of clear documentation like a deed that says otherwise.

Courts can divide marital property based on some of the following details:

  • What contributed to your divorce, meaning any of the grounds for divorce in Virginia.

  • Any monetary contributions you made during the marriage.

  • Any non-monetary contributions you made that benefitted your marriage.

  • How you obtained your property, like through inheritance or if it was purchased during the marriage.

  • Any income you made during the marriage, including pension and retirement.

What is Separate Property?

Separate property in Virginia is personal property that you bought or acquired before your marriage. In some cases, separate property can be a gift or inheritance that was given to you and not intended to be shared with your spouse.

Your property can be considered separate property if:

  • You have a property that you made earnings from, and you’re the sole owner.

  • You bought a property during your marriage, but you maintained it by yourself.

  • There was an increase in the value of a personal property you have, such as a house, car, or boat.

It’s not easy to categorize property by yourself, Virginia’s property division laws can be difficult, and you may run into roadblocks without the help of an experienced family law attorney.

How Our Virginia Beach Attorney Can Help

Our attorneys at Bush & Taylor, P.C. are passionate about helping families work through disagreements during a divorce. Reach us at (757) 926-0078 to speak with one of our skilled family law attorneys about your case.

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