Wednesday, July 27, 2011

division of marital debt in Virginia

Virginia Code 20-107.3 which distinguishes separate and marital property and provides the rules that the court uses to divide up marital property between spouses was recently changed to include rules about debts. Before the change, there was no provision distinguishing “separate” and “marital” debt or instructing the court how to divide them. Some courts routinely divided debts 50-50 while others divided them more in proportion to the parties’ relative incomes. Now the Court must sort out the debts according to the reason they were incurred (marital purpose or separate one). Even student loans can be considered marital if they were incurred for a “marital purpose” like increasing one spouse’s earning ability. The law was changed in response to rulings by the Court of Appeals regarding division of marital debt.  

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