Property Asset and Debt Division Attorney

When parties are unable to reach an agreement in their divorce regarding asset and debt division then those matters are litigated in the Circuit Court under the legal concept known as Equitable Distribution. For many divorcing couples, financial issues can be one of the most controversial and emotionally charged issues they need to resolve. It is not always easy to decide how to fairly divide the assets and debts of divorcing parties. James J. McCoart, III, has the experience and understanding of what is reasonable and what is possible during the asset-debt division phase of divorcing couples. It is common that when parties are in litigation that each party will serve the other with discovery requests. Discovery requests are used to allow a party to learn more about what exactly the property and debt issues are that need to be resolved. Common examples of discovery requests are:

  • Interrogatories. These are specific written questions that the other party must answer under oath.
  • Request for Production of Documents and Things. This requires a party to produce copies of all requested documents reflecting assets, debts, retirement accounts, and any other documents that are relevant to the case and, also, requires an oath that the provided documents are actual and complete.
  • Depositions. These are where a party, or other, is placed under oath before a notary and answers verbal questions posed by the attorney.

The Virginia Code Section that determines the property and debt division of the parties is §20-107.3. It is also known as the “Equitable Distribution Act.” It is important to understand that with the “Equitable Distribution Act” that the code contains no presumption that the parties will each receive an equal amount. During the “equitable distribution” phase of a contested divorce action, the Court shall determine the legal title, the ownership, and value of all property and debts of the parties. Also, the Court shall consider which property or debt is the:

  • Separate property or debt of a party;
  • Marital property or debt of the parties; and
  • Property and debt that is part marital and part separate.

Thereafter, the property and debts of the parties are divided by the Court considering the following factors:

    • The contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family;
    • The contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties;
    • The duration of the marriage;
    • The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties;
    • The circumstances and factors which contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce under the provisions of subdivisions (1), (3) or (6) of §20-91 or §20-95. (link through to VA Code at the end of this document.)
    • How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired;
    • The debts and liabilities of each spouse, the basis for such debts and liabilities, and the property which may serve as security for such debts and liabilities;
    • The liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
    • The tax consequences to each party;
    • The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a non-marital separate purpose or the dissipation of such funds, when such was done in anticipation of divorce or separation or after the last separation of the parties; and,
    • Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.

For over 20 years James J. McCoart, III, has represented clients in their asset and debt division in divorce cases. If you are interested in discussing your asset and debt matter with an experienced attorney, then contact The Law Office of James J. McCoart, III, by telephone (703) 369-2734, or by email.