Divorce is considered one of the top five most stressful life events. Divorce turns your entire world upside-down—your family, your living situation, and, yes, your finances as well. In fact, financial stress is one of the top five causes of divorce. This means a lot of divorcing couples were already dealing with financial issues before turning to the divorce court for relief.
Virginia Divides Marital Assets Equitably Not Equally
Virginia divides marital assets in a divorce based on what is equitable, not on what is “equal” (50/50). Courts in Virginia evaluate several things in determining asset division when a couple of divorces, including, among other things:
- The contributions each party made to the well-being of the family and the acquisition of assets;
- The length of time the couple was married;
- Age and health of both people;
- The circumstances contributing to the dissolution of the marriage; and
- The use of the marital property for nonmarital purposes
Based on these factors, Virginia will decide what each person “deserves” in the dividing of the assets. This means a husband who single-handedly built a successful business enterprise may walk away with more than a wife who spent most of the marriage unemployed going from job to job, for example.
Protecting Your Assets in a Divorce
How can you help your attorney prepare to address the financial issues in your divorce? Consider assisting your attorney in the following ways?
- Gather 12-24 months of checking and savings account statements from each of your accounts;
- Gather 12-24 months of credit card statements from each of your accounts;
- Gather 12-24 months of retirement and investment account statements from each of your accounts;
- Locate and provide your past 3 Federal and State Tax returns;
- Locate and provide any statement reflecting large gifts you received from anyone other than your spouse or large payments you made during the marriage;
- Locate and provide statements of any debts you have; and
- Create a family asset sheet listing your family’s assets
Do You Need a Lawyer to help with Property Division?
Some of the things an experienced property division attorney can help you with include:
- How to legally and fairly handle anything you acquired after your spouse moved out;
- How to have one spouse’s name removed from the deeds to your cars, house, accounts, etc;
- How to divide up retirement accounts;
We also highly recommend consulting a financial expert (CPA, financial planner) to further navigate the financial implications of a Virginia divorce.
Protect Yourself with a Fairfax Divorce Lawyer
Lawyers can be expensive, but often not hiring a lawyer can be even more expensive. Curran Moher Weis helps clients navigate complicated property division cases. Contact us today to get the insights you need to make the most of your property division case.