The court has to assess which assets owned by the party are marital or hybrid (meaning that they are part marital and part separate). The Division of Assets is responsible in a divorce case for dividing all marital property between the parties to the extent that the parties cannot do themselves.
Every single item of marital property and every portion of hybrid property that is marital is going to be divided by the Virginia courts if the parties are not able to resolve any issues such as property division.
A property settlement is an agreement that has been executed by both parties and contains parameters for dividing marital property between the spouses. If parties are able to enter into an agreement that resolves all property division, then the court will not need to do equitable distribution after the divorce.
Sale Property Divisions
If there is an asset, such as a home that neither party has asked the court to award to them or neither party has the ability to financially maintain on their own, then the court will order that the property item sold.
In the divorce case, the Virginia courts will make a ruling as to each party’s respective interest in that asset so that when the property is sold, the parties know what they are supposed to do in terms of dividing the sales proceeds. It can be easier than property division and sometimes necessary because there are certain items of property that cannot be divided.
When you look at a bank account that might be owned by the parties, it is easy for the court to say, for example, there is $1,000 in this account, one spouse gets $500 and the other gets $500.
That does not work when you are talking about a car, a house, or other things that cannot be divided. In those circumstances, it is easier to order the sale and division of the proceeds than trying to buy something that cannot be chopped in half.
Existing Assets or Debts
The parties typically sit down, look at the list of assets, and look at the lists of debts and overtime, because these things often cannot be resolved in one meeting, but over time the parties decide what makes sense in terms of who gets which asset or if there are assets to be divided, how they will be divided.
Similarly, when it comes to debts, the parties can make agreements on who is going to be responsible for debts. Those kinds of things do not necessarily have to track whose name is on the debt.
If there is a personal loan that was taken out in the name of one spouse during the marriage, if the parties want to, they could make the other spouse responsible for it by crafting appropriate language in a property settlement agreement. When working on and creating the settlement agreement one could say, ¨the non-titled party is responsible for paying this loan¨ if the parties have an enormous amount of freedom in terms of dividing assets and debts.
It is often the case that parties will consult with attorneys and do their best to figure out what a Virginia court is likely to rule in their case. It is very hard to predict the outcome in court because there is no specific formula for asset and debt division.
With the assistance of an attorney, an individual can usually figure out some range of possibilities and this comes into play in terms of the property settlement agreement. Typically, when the parties are trying to resolve property and debt division issues, they will be working within the scope of possible outcomes that will come from the court.