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Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 42326
Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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my wife had 3 kids when we met, I treated the as my own. They

Customer Question

my wife had 3 kids when we met, I treated the as my own. They are now grown. I always had a job and took care of everything around the home(cooking, cleaning, lawn and home maint. etc.) she worked all but the last 5 yrs but never chipped in around the house. She feels she is entitled to half of everything. Is she?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for your question.The court would divide all marital property and debt acquired during the marriage.Since Virginia is an "equitable distribution" state, the marital property shall be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues otherwise the court will declare the property award.

Separate property is (i) All property, real and personal, acquired by either party before the marriage; (ii) All property acquired during the marriage by bequest, devise, descent, survivorship or gift from a source other than the other party; (iii) All property acquired during the marriage in exchange for or from the proceeds of sale of separate property, provided that such property acquired during the marriage is maintained as separate property; and (iv) That part of any property classified as separate. Income received from separate property during the marriage is separate property if not attributable to the personal effort of either party. The increase in value of separate property during the marriage is separate property, unless marital property or the personal efforts of either party have contributed to such increases and then only to the extent of the increases in value attributable to such contributions. The personal efforts of either party must be significant and result in substantial appreciation of the separate property if any increase in value attributable thereto is to be considered marital property.

Marital property is (i) All property titled in the names of both parties, whether as joint tenants, tenants by the entirety or otherwise, except as provided by Subdivision A 3, (ii) That part of any property classified as marital, or (iii) All other property acquired by each party during the marriage which is not separate property as defined above. All property including that portion of pensions, profit-sharing or deferred compensation or retirement plans of whatever nature, acquired by either spouse during the marriage, and before the last separation of the parties, if at such time or thereafter at least one of the parties intends that the separation be permanent, is presumed to be marital property in the absence of satisfactory evidence that it is separate property. For purposes of this section marital property is presumed to be jointly owned unless there is a deed, title or other clear indication that it is not jointly owned.

The amount of any division or transfer of jointly owned marital property, and the amount of any monetary award, the apportionment of marital debts, and the method of payment shall be determined by the court after consideration of the following factors: 1. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party to the well-being of the family; 2. The contributions, monetary and nonmonetary, of each party in the acquisition and care and maintenance of such marital property of the parties; 3. The duration of the marriage; 4. The ages and physical and mental condition of the parties; 5. 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; 6. How and when specific items of such marital property were acquired; 7. 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; 8. The liquid or nonliquid character of all marital property; 9. The tax consequences to each party; 10. The use or expenditure of marital property by either of the parties for a nonmarital 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 11. Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award. (Virginia Code - Title 20 - Sections: 20-107.3)

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