How Does Virginia Law Address Marital Debt in Divorce?

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the law states that both parties in the divorce are owed an ‘equitable’ portion of all marital property. According to the law, that property includes any marital debts.

The division of marital property, like bank accounts, motor vehicles, valuable jewelry, and real estate, is handled similarly to the division of shared debts. However, it’s worth remembering that ‘equitable distribution’ does not mean everything is split 50/50. Nor does it mean that all assets will be considered shared marital property.

What is the ‘Equitable Distribution’ of Property?

Family law courts make an equitable division of property. Equitable does not mean equal. There are several factors that will be used to help determine how to properly divide property in a divorce.

Determining factors for equitable property division include the following:
Age of both spouses.
Duration of the marriage.
Earning capacity for both spouses.
Financial situations of each spouse.
Grounds for divorce.
How and when valuable assets were acquired during the marriage.
Mental and physical ability of both parties.
Monetary and non-monetary contributions made by a spouse for the acquisition or care of marital property.
Monetary and non-monetary contributions that either spouse made to the well-being of the family unit.
Personal debts, loan interest, and liabilities of the spouses.
Tax consequences for each spouse.
Who is the primary caretaker of children who are minors or otherwise dependents?

To learn more, please get in touch with our lawyers for marital separation in Roanoke, VA.

What Types of Debts Are Considered Equal Property of Both Parties in a Marriage?

Debt incurred during a marriage can be considered equally shared debt of both parties, regardless of whose name is attached to that debt. Anything you or your spouse purchased during the marriage and still owe money on could be considered marital debt.

Debts which may be subject to equitable distribution following a divorce may include:
Car loans and payments.
Credit card debt.
Home mortgages.
Money owed for family vacations.
Student loans.

Questions about expenses that one spouse did not approve of during the final days of a marriage may be up for debate. To ensure your interests are protected, consult with legal counsel for divorces in Roanoke.

When is Debt Excluded from Shared Marital Debts?

Not all debt that survives the end of a marriage shall be considered shared marital debt. This is termed as ‘separate debt.’

Examples of debts that could be kept separate from divorce property division include the following:
Debts owed on separate credit cards or accounts.
Expensive purchases made prior to the marriage or during a legal separation in which debts still exist. Certain expenses made during marriage may also be exempt, though this might be contested in court.
Student loans that existed prior to marriage

What is Hybrid Property?

Any asset that is a combination of marital and separate property will be considered hybrid property, and this includes debts. Take a house for example. Say the home was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage. Then, during the marriage, it was sold, and the proceeds were used to buy a new family home. That would be considered a hybrid property. If you have questions, please contact our law office.

What is a Freeze Order?

During divorce proceedings, the court may issue what is known as a ‘freeze order.’ Such an order prevents either spouse from selling or disposing of valuable marital assets until the divorce is finalized.

Schedule an In-Depth Case Evaluation with Experienced Divorce Lawyers Today

If you’re going through a divorce, you’re likely to feel like you’ve been caught in a whirlwind of emotions, stress, and legal conflict. One of the most worrisome aspects of divorce is the division of assets and whether you will be treated fairly under equitable division rules. And, naturally, the division of debts is just one of the concerns you likely have right now.

It’s critical to have legal professionals in your corner during a divorce. The Law Office of Seth C. Weston has the knowledge and experience to assist you during this difficult time. Schedule your initial consultation to discuss your case in more detail by calling our Roanoke-based law offices at (540)-384-4585.