Consider the Gifts during the Holiday Season and their Impact on Equitable Distribution in Virginia

If you have made the very difficult decision that your marriage is ending and you’re ready to divorce your spouse, chances are you have questions about what property is yours and what property is your spouse’s. In Virginia, marital property is generally considered any property that is purchased or acquired during the marriage, and all marital property is subject to equitable distribution in a divorce action. In Virginia, separate property in part is property acquired before the marriage or after the date of separation, or property acquired by gift of a third party or inheritance. Virginia also recognizes hybrid property- property that has characteristics of both marital property and separate property. How does this work in practice?

During the holiday season, if your mother in law decides to give you a framed piece of artwork for $1,000.00 as a present, it would be considered your separate property. If you mother in law decides to give you and your spouse a $1,000 in Coca-Cola stocks, the stocks are going to be considered marital property.  If you take the framed artwork you received and sell it on January 2, and use the money to buy a new espresso machine for $1,500 which you put in the kitchen for you and your spouse to use on a daily basis, you’ve now created hybrid property- the espresso machine is hybrid- $1,000 of the value is separate, and $500 of the value is marital.

It may be wise for parties contemplating divorce to consider carefully what they choose to buy and or have others buy for them during the holiday season.

If you have questions regarding equitable distribution or divorce, please contact us at 804-423-1382 or for assistance.