Preparing for Your Virginia Divorce: Determining Commingled Property
After your initial divorce paperwork is filed, you and your ex will need to come to an agreement on how to divide assets and debts. If you cannot come to an agreement, the judge hearing your case will ultimately be the one who makes a determination. Because Virginia is an equitable distribution state, it means the court will look to divide your property in a fair and equitable manner. This does not mean however, that it will be a 50/50 split down the middle like you might be thinking with a community property state.
Determining what can be categorized as separate and marital property is important if you’re attempting to negotiate an agreement. It’s not always as easy as you might think, either. This is where a Leesburg divorce attorney is helpful. Determining what is marital property can be convoluted, especially if your separate property has been commingled with your marital property.
When Separate Property Becomes Marital Property
When you mix separate property with marital property, it’s known as commingling. It can take your separate asset and now make it divisible in your divorce. Essentially, commingling assets involves integrating them in some tangible manner with assets that are jointly held. Here are some common examples of commingling funds:
- A family member leaves you $2,500 and you deposit it into a joint account with your spouse.
- Your parent leaves you a classic car and you put the vehicle in you and your spouse’s names.
- You inherited a piece of property from a family member. You fix it up, sell it, and then use some of the funds to help with renovations to your family home you share with your spouse.
Examples where assets are not commingled can include:
- A relative leaves you $5,000 and you deposit it into an investment account that is solely in your name.
- Your parent leaves you a classic car and you keep the vehicle in your name only.
- You inherit a piece of property from a family member. You turn around and sell it and deposit money into an investment account titled in your name only.
- Your grandmother leaves several antiques to you and you display them in your marital home. If you still retain sole ownership, if that was the intent, and you can take them.
How to Avoid Commingling?
The main way to protect your separate property is to do just that — keep it separate. Don’t deposit any money from an inheritance into your joint account or use any of the funds to make purchases that would be considered joint ones. It’s important to save any documentation that can show the asset in question was intended for you.
Contact a Leesburg Divorce Attorney
Proving what property is separate versus joint can be a convoluted process. This is why you need a Leesburg divorce attorney on your side. Contact the experienced team at Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 today to schedule an initial consultation.