Q: Does the court automatically determine who gets what? What leeway does the couple have to determine distribution?
Absent a settlement between the parties and their lawyers or resolution of the case through mediation or the collaborative process, the court can resolve the distribution of assets and debts after a trial. A couple always has the right to settle their disputes in a manner they choose prior to the trial. Settlement terms are typically memorialized in a contract between the parties commonly titled a “property settlement agreement.” Property division in Virginia is known as “equitable distribution.” “Equitable” does not always mean “equal,” and diverse factors influence how marital assets are split up.
Q: What are some of these factors?
* How long your marriage lasted;
* The tax ramifications for each person;
* The liquidity of the assets: can they be sold and their revenue easily divided?
* When the various assets (and debts) were acquired and under what circumstances;
* The health, well being, mental state, ages and earning capacities of each spouse;
* Each spouse’s contributions to the family, measured both monetarily and non-monetarily. (For instance, if one spouse spent the last seven years taking care of the children, the court will obviously take that into account.)
* What happened to dissolve the marriage? For instance, did someone commit adultery, desert the marriage, or engage in abusive behavior?
* The size, diversity and nature of any liabilities or debts of the marital estate.
Q: What is alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a court-ordered sum of money that one spouse pays the other, either in a lump sum, in a continuing arrangement over time or a combination of the two.
Q: What determines alimony in a Virginia divorce?
Alimony is not guaranteed during a divorce. Many factors can influence how much spousal support should be assigned and under what circumstances, including:
* The couple’s history and lifestyle;
* Each spouse’s level of sufficiency and resources;
* Each spouse’s income stream, earning potential, age, and mental and physical health;
* Each spouse’s past contribution to the well being of the family;
* Whether one spouse was at fault (e.g. committed adultery, deserted the marriage or engaged in abuse). If so, or he or she may be denied spousal support.
* Past decisions made by both parties regarding educational and career opportunities as well as the bearing of those decisions on current and future income capacity.
If you need assistance now with your Fairfax Virginia divorce, call our team at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC right now for a consultation at (888) 530-4374.