During our divorce proceedings, will our property just be divided 50/50?

Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple.

First of all, you and your ex-spouse have the option to divide up your assets on your own. You never have to set foot in a courtroom to have your property division decided upon if you are able to come to an agreement without a judge. Not all former spouses are able to work together amicably like this, but it is definitely the preferred option for many people because…

The spouses get to have a say in the property they keep, and can choose to retain—rather than sell—specific items that have sentimental value.
Handling the division of marital property by mutual agreement can save considerable time and money.

You certainly do not have to do this completely on your own, and it is actually recommended that you have a lawyer facilitate the discussion to make sure all of your bases are covered properly.

If you do determine that you need your property divided in a court of law, Virginia follows the idea of "equitable distribution." With equitable distribution, your marital property (property accumulated during the marriage) is divided up fairly. This does not mean it is split 50/50; rather, it means the judge splits in it a way that he feels is fair. He will look at what each spouse contributed to the marriage (monetary and non-monetary) and decide from there. Sometimes, the person who was the household breadwinner will get 2/3 of the property, while the other spouse will get 1/3. It really depends on your specific, personal situation.

H. Van Smith
Trusted Virginia Family Law Attorney Serving Richmond to Williamsburg