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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4788
Experience:  I have assisted many customers and clients with their family law questions and I'm experienced in family law litigation.
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I have been married for almost 13 years and I am in the process

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I have been married for almost 13 years and I am in the process from separating from my husband and moving out of the home. My question is about our 2 checking accounts we have am I entitled to at least half of the money that we have together? There has been cheating on my part and I wanted to know if that also has an affect on that as well. Thank you.

texlawyer :

Good morning. I'll be assisting you with your question.

Customer:

Good morning.

texlawyer :

Virginia follow an "equitible distribution" policy, like most states. That doesn't necessarily mean a 50/50 split (although it often does).

texlawyer :

When dividing up the property, the judge will look at the following factors:

texlawyer :

  • The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each spouse to the well-being of the family

  • The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition, care and maintenance of the parties' marital property

  • The duration of the marriage

  • The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties

  • The circumstance and factors that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, including certain grounds for divorce

  • When and how certain items of marital property were acquired

  • The debts of each spouse, the basis for the debt and the property serving as security for the debt

  • The liquidity of the marital property

  • The tax consequences of dividing marital property

  • Any dissipation or expenditure of assets or funds in anticipation of divorce

  • Any other factors a judge deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable distribution

texlawyer :

As you can see, the 5th factor down allows the judge to consider the reason for the divorce when dividing up the property.

texlawyer :

So, if the divorce is because you had an extra-marital affair, the judge could reduce your portion, but that doesn't mean he is required to do so.

Customer:

Ok we also work together he is a business owner and obviously makes more money then I do. Am I entitled to take my check that I receive which pays our mortgage?

texlawyer :

Once the divorce is filed, the judge will enter temorary orders dictating how the bills are to be paid, etc.

Customer:

So should we get a lawyer together or separate because we are trying to be fair to one another without having to go to court.

texlawyer :

An attorney can only represent both parties to a divorce if nothing is disputed. Basically, if you have one attorney, they are there to complete the motions and walk you through court. If you want to go that way, you and your husband need to have everything worked out before you go see the attorney.

Customer:

Ok I understand so it is ok to have one lawyer as long as we have an agreement worked out is that correct?

texlawyer :

Give me one second to check the Virginia law on that...

texlawyer :

An attorney cannot technically represent both parties, but that does not prevent you and your husband from working everything out, and one of you hiring the attorney, and the other representing him or herself. Ultimately, if everything is worked out, the attorney will only be filing the agreed pleadings and carry out the divorce. So, you won't have to spend money on two seperate attorneys, but you can still have the divorce proceed smoothly.

Customer:

Ok and one last question. Am I better off to stay in the home or go ahead and move out. Don't you have to be separated for at least one year in Virginia before getting a lawyer or is that something we can do now while still living together? That's where I am getting confused.

texlawyer :

You can still live together while the divorce is pending. Legally, you can live together even after a divorce.

Customer:

So I guess there is no such thing as having to be living separate for a year before filing for a divorce. So do you need to file a separation agreement as well or just the divorce?

texlawyer :

No, you do not need to be separated to get a divorce.

texlawyer :

You can skip the separation part altogether and move straight to divorce.

Customer:

Ok well that answers that for me. Thank you very much I really appreciate your answers. They have helped.

texlawyer :

Glad to help.

texlawyer :

If I can't do anything else for you, please remember to "rate" my answer. Good luck.

Customer:

Most definitely and thank you.

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