When dividing property in a divorce, things can get complicated quickly. Trying to figure out what ownership is of every asset and debt you have in your marriage is not an easy process. It only gets more difficult when you learn there are three categories of property.
You probably know that assets can be separate or marital, but the Virginia State Bar explains that some property can be partially marital and separate. This is where things get complicated.
One situation that could make an asset both separate and marital property is comingling. This can occur when you use martial money for the upkeep or maintenance of separate property. It could also happen if you pay for something that was separate using marital money.
If the value of separate property increases during the marriage, the court can consider the amount of the increase to be marital property. You would then need to calculate how much the value increased during the marriage and then divide that between you as marital property.
There are other situations where the court may deem property that was separate as partially martial. It is also possible for the court to rule something that started as separate is now fully marital.
Typically the issue of property being separate and marital occurs most often in longer marriages where your lives are more entwined. It can be tough to unravel what belongs to who and how during the marriage the property may have changed.
This is why property division can become so complex. You need to fully identify the category property goes into in order to be able to properly divide it in an equitable manner.