Understanding Marital Property VS. Separate Property

Going through divorce often raises many financial concerns for the parties involved. Virginia courts seek to distribute property fairly. That does not always mean that property and debts will simply be divided right down the middle in an equal 50-50 split. Moreover, in complex cases, there may be disputes concerning what property fits within the marital estate and what assets are considered the separate property of one spouse not subject to division of the court at all.

Aggressive Advocacy And Diligent Preparation

Duff Kronfeld & Marquardt P.C. in Fairfax is well-respected for our thoroughness and aggressive advocacy in complex and high-asset divorces. If you believe that you or your spouse will have a marital property vs. separate property dispute, you need to work with an attorney with the financial acumen and resources to safeguard your rights. Evaluating, investigating and tracing assets require detailed analysis of every asset. Our lawyers are skilled in focusing on the finer points to protect the financial interests of our clients.

It is becoming more and more common for couples who hold significant assets before getting married to consider entering into marital agreements to help define how property will be characterized should the marriage eventually break down. However, even in the absence of an agreement, Virginia law recognizes that some property may not be subject to equitable division in a divorce.

Common assets that may be characterized as separate property include:

  • An inheritance from a family member received by one spouse during the marriage
  • Gifts given to one spouse by anyone other than the other spouse that were never commingled with marital assets
  • Assets acquired by one spouse before the marriage, including a business interest, retirement account or a home

Some Property May Blend Marital And Separate Concepts

Determining what may be separate property is not always a clear-cut process. Some assets may be characterized as a blend of separate and marital property, depending upon the individual circumstances. For instance, if one spouse inherited a family business, the business interest may remain separate property. However, if the other spouse worked to substantially increase the value of the business during the marriage, the rise in the value of the business may be deemed marital property.

Your financial stability following divorce is important for your future well being. To learn how our extensive experience in resolving complex family law problems can help you, call us at 703-591-7475 or contact us online to schedule a confidential appointment with one of our lawyers.