The circumstances leading up to divorce can sometimes bring out the worst in a person. For example, committing adultery can cost you the trust of your spouse and can easily end a marriage. Or a spouse might be tempted to spend all the marital funds on lavish purchases for themselves in anticipation of the end of their marriage, which could backfire later. These poor choices can not only lead to divorce, but they can cost a person dearly in the property division process.
The division of marital property
In Virginia, the court has the authority to divide marital property between spouses in a divorce. Virginia statutes outline what constitutes marital property, but in general, assets obtained during marriage, commingled assets, the appreciation of marital assets and the appreciation of separate assets that both spouses contributed efforts to count as marital assets.
In addition, the court has the authority to award a monetary sum to one spouse if equity so demands. This lump sum is not the same as alimony.
How marital assets are divided and whether a lump sum will be awarded is based upon the consideration of several statutory factors. Some of these factors are directly related to the actions of one or both spouses while married and after separation.
Can bad behavior affect property division?
One of these statutory factors is the circumstances that lead to divorce. Specifically, anything listed as a fault-based ground for divorce under state statutes may be considered in the property division process.
One of these fault-based grounds for divorce is adultery. If one spouse cheats on the other, and this infidelity was the reason behind the divorce, this adultery might be considered in the property division process.
Another property division factor is the waste of assets in anticipation of divorce or after separation. If a spouse spends the marital assets for their own personal benefit in anticipation of divorce or after separation, this dissipation of assets might be considered in the property division process.
Most people in Virginia want to treat their spouse with respect, but as humans, they can make bad decisions that put their marriage in jeopardy and can ultimately end in divorce. These poor choices can cost them in the property division process, putting them in a worse position financially after their divorce is finalized.