The divorce of two Virginia residents requires a lot of hard work and compromise. Even when people are in agreement with their partners that ending their marriages is a good idea, they will they have to make concessions about particular matters related to their marital dissolutions. During a divorce, coming to terms with the division of a couple’s property can be especially hard on those who do not want to give up anything that they own.

During a divorce property is categorized as either marital or separate. If property is considered marital it is subject to division. If it is deemed separate then the owner of it may keep it when their divorce is completed. In Virginia, marital property is divided pursuant to a legal doctrine known as equitable distribution.

Equitable distribution is not equal distribution. If parties to a divorce were given equal portions of their marital assets then it would not impose many burdens on courts to settle divorce-related property matters. Rather, courts that must follow the tenants of equitable distribution must look at the characteristics of the couples that appear before them to make fair decisions regarding the division of their property and assets.

In an equitable distribution property hearing, a court may consider how long the couple’s marriage lasted, how custody will be established between the parents of shared children, the needs of the parties, and many other considerations. By weighing those and other factors a court may make a fair ruling on how the property of two divorcing parties should be divided. Readers with specific property division questions should direct them to their family law and divorce lawyers.