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Military divorces can be somewhat complex at times. One reason for that is because both federal and state laws can impact a military divorce. Though federal laws can impact property division considerations during a military divorce, such as pensions, and jurisdiction for a military divorce can be another potentially complicated issue, it is helpful for divorcing military couples to understand basic property division laws in Virginia.

Understanding the basics of the property division can help divorcing couples know what to expect and plan for the future. Property that is divided during divorce includes marital property which is, generally, property the couple acquired during the marriage. Marital property is contrasted from separate property which is not subject to being divided. Separate property includes property one of the spouses entered the marriage with, gifts and inheritances and some other types of property. Additional complexities can arise if property was co-mingled and in some other circumstances as well.

Equitable property rules are followed in Virginia which means the family law court will divide property in a manner that is fair but not necessarily in half. The court will consider which party will make the best use of the property when dividing property between the spouses. The court will consider a variety of factors when dividing property including the income and liabilities of the spouses; the age and health of the spouses; how long the couple was married; pension and retirement benefits; if one of the spouses has prior alimony obligations; if each spouse can support themselves; the tax consequences of property division; and other factors as well.

The property division process during a military divorce, or any divorce, can be challenging at times but it does not necessarily have to be acrimonious. Provided divorcing couples have some understanding of the process and the complexities associated with it, they will be better prepared for the property division process to reach a fair settlement during their divorce.

Source:, “Virginia Marital Property Laws,” Accessed May 11, 2018