What are my property rights in a divorce?

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What are my property rights in a divorce?

My husband wants a divorce. We have been together for 19 years and married for almost 11. 3 years ag. I became disabled and can no longer work; Ireceive SS disability at approximately 30K per year. He wants to limit my alimony to 7 years. and allow me only 1/6th of our total gross income to live on. He also has demanded that I leave our home because he says I can no longer afford the mortgage on my 1/6th but he can. He wants to go through mediation with these requests. I think that I deserve more but don’t know if I can afford attorney’s fees. Do I have a leg to stand on to demand more than 1/6th of our gross and a longer duration of alimony? I feel that I am being strong armed because he knows I am sick and have no will to fight in court as a result of this.

Asked on June 26, 2012 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that if the parties can't agree, the marital property will be distributed in an equitable fashion, not necessarily equally. 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:

  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • Such other factors as the court deems necessary or appropriate to consider in order to arrive at a fair and equitable monetary award.

 

Separate property is (1) all property, real and personal, acquired by either party before the marriage; (2) all property acquired during the marriage by bequest, devise, descent, survivorship or gift from a source other than the other party; (3) 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 (4) that part of any property classified as separate property. [Based on Code of Virginia, Title 20, Section 20-107.3]

If you can not afford an attorney seek help from legal aid or any organization that may be able to help you as a disabled individual or a woman's rights organization.  I would also consider filing for exclusive use and occupancy of the home.  As for awarding attorney's fees, that is not generally done for all of the bill.  Good luck.

 


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