Virginia Family Law Blog

How does property division affect a lawsuit settlement or award?

Getting a divorce can raise many questions that some Virginia residents may not have considered before. In particular, when it comes to property division, individuals may wonder what belongs to whom and whether specific assets will be divided during the legal proceedings. If one party received a settlement or award from a lawsuit, the other party may wonder whether he or she is entitled to a portion of the funds.

Because Virginia is an equitable distribution state, the law considers most assets obtained during the marriage as marital property. Two important exceptions are gifts or inheritances left to one spouse that have not been commingled with marital assets. When it comes to dividing property, the marital assets are distributed as equitably, or fairly, as possible.

Virginia property division: Is your spouse hiding assets?

You've likely heard the saying that all is fair in love and war. Marriage can sometimes feel like both. If you're one of many Virginia spouses who are contemplating divorce, you might relate to others in the past who determined their relationships were more like war than love, so they decided to move in life without their spouse. The problem is, not everyone plays fair in divorce.

When you and your spouse navigate property division proceedings, you're both supposed to agree to full disclosure. This means each of you must be willing to provide all pertinent information regarding your assets and liabilities. Do you think your spouse is trying to beat the system? How can you know for sure? Hiding assets in divorce is illegal, and the court typically doesn't look favorably upon someone willing to commit such acts to try to gain the upper hand in a divorce.

How to handle living with an ex during divorce

In many cases, when individuals decide to end their marriages, finding alternative living arrangements is not always immediately possible. As a result, some Virginia residents may have to continue living together even though they have made the decision to divorce. This can certainly become a tricky situation to navigate, which is why it is best to prepare.

Sharing a space with anyone can be touchy at times, and doing so with an ex can be even more complicated. In efforts to make the ordeal a little less complicated, setting up boundaries is a good place to start. The parties could indicate that certain areas of the house are for one person and that other areas are for another. They may even decide to set up boundaries for when they are at the house at the same time or even when it comes to communicating with each other.

High-asset divorce may take longer than other cases

When Virginia residents and those elsewhere decide to end their marriages, they often want to get it over with as quickly as possible. Of course, try as they might to move matters along, divorce can take time. The exact amount of time will depend on numerous factors pertaining to a specific case.

The complexity of the case can play a major role. If individuals have children and numerous assets or complex assets, making decisions regarding child custody and property division may take longer than for individuals without children and only a few assets. In some cases, appraisals and valuations may need to occur or more information may be needed to determine exactly how to divide the property in the most equitable way possible.

Divorce does not always come with a clean break

The feelings associated with any relationship can be complicated. Some days married individuals may love their spouses more than anything, and other days they may wonder how they even got together. Unfortunately, when those latter days significantly outnumber the former, some Virginia residents may start considering divorce.

When there is a considerable amount of turmoil and conflict in a marriage, ending the relationship can bring about a sense of relief. Though the process itself can certainly cause stress, many people find that they are relieved once the proceedings come to an end. They may realize that they can make decisions on their own that they once had to negotiate or debate with their spouse, and even that modicum of freedom can bring about tremendous relief.

Discussing divorce, child custody with kids can be tricky

Being a parent often means putting the needs of the children before one's own. Even if Virginia parents feel emotionally vulnerable themselves after deciding to divorce, they know that the situation can be even more difficult for their children. As a result, they may have to find ways to put their emotions aside to talk to their children about the divorce and child custody.

Breaking such news can be tricky. Children should certainly know about the divorce, but it should only come up after the parents have firmly decided that they are ending their marriage. Telling the kids that their parents are no longer going to be together and then changing their minds can be confusing and detrimental to children. It is also important that both parents and children have time to process and discuss the news and be with each other.

Are you eligible for spousal support?

If your marriage is heading for divorce, one important concern you may have is whether you will be struggling financially in the years to come. This may be especially true if you have been married many years or if you depend on your spouse's income, such as if you left your career to take care of the children.

Achieving a fair division of marital property may alleviate some of your fears. However, spousal support can provide the assistance you need. After you and your spouse have completed asset division, the courts will determine the amount of spousal support, if any, that you will receive. By understanding how courts reach this decision, you may have a better idea of how to fight for the financial assistance you need.

Differences in financial views could contribute to divorce

When many Virginia residents get married, they often feel optimistic about the future. They may envision the happiness that they and their spouse will have together and the many adventures they will take. Of course, many marriages end in divorce, and this often happens because those hopeful ideas do not manifest into reality.

For example, some people may marry only to find that they and their spouse have very different views on important matters. One spouse may have amassed considerable wealth and is conscientious of spending, and the other may burn through cash without a worry. Unfortunately, this type of scenario can easily lead to strain on a marriage, and if the differences persist, it could spell divorce for the couple.

Should parents divorce or stay together for the kids?

Many people in Virginia and elsewhere live in unhappy relationships. They may do so for a variety of reasons, and one of those reasons may be because they think that staying together will be better for the children than putting them through a divorce. However, parents who stay together but continue to fight may not provide an example of healthy relationships.

Some parents may think that they are making a sacrifice for the good of their children by remaining in high-conflict relationships. On the contrary, children who grew up with married parents who fought a lot are more likely to get divorced themselves. If parents in high-conflict relationships divorce, their children do not see as high a likelihood of getting divorced.

Prenups can offer divorce protection but still need to be fair

Being handed a prenuptial agreement could come as a shock to some Virginia residents. They may worry that their future spouse thinks that they will divorce or that something else is wrong with their relationship. While a prenup does not necessarily point to a relationship issue, individuals should still carefully look over such a document before signing.

Prenups are intended to protect the parties involved from certain difficulties that could arise during a divorce. However, these agreements are supposed to be fair for both parties. As a result, if one party creates a prenup with terms that favor him or her more significantly than the other party, it may be wise to pause before signing. Boundaries are not necessarily negative, but it is important that those boundaries are not detrimental to the other party.

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