When couples marry in West Virginia, they begin to share a life together. They may purchase a home together and have children together. Typically one or both will have jobs and earn incomes which the couple will share together. They may also have retirement accounts and other investment accounts. They may also have vehicles and other property together. During the marriage they will be able to share all of these possessions as they share their life together.
If the couple divorces though, they must divide the life they built together into two separate lives. If they have minor children this process will involve determining child custody and parenting time. Every couple regardless of whether they have minor children or not will need to divide their marital property though. This is generally all of the property that the couple acquired during the marriage regardless of whose name is on the title or on the account.
Exceptions to the presumption of equal division
It is presumed that that this marital property will be divided equally. However, the court does not need to divide it equally after considering both the monetary and non-monetary contributions towards the acquisition or improvement of the property. Non-monetary contributions include, but are not limited to:
- Contributions as a homemaker or child care
- Work performed for less than normal compensation for a family business
- Physical labor provided to the improvement of property or management of accounts
- Contributions to the other spouse’s education and career opportunities at the expense of their own educational and employment opportunities.
For the most part fault for the divorce will not be considered when dividing property. However, the court can consider if one spouse unnecessarily dissipated marital assets throughout the marriage.
There are many divorces each year in West Virginia. Each of these divorces will need to deal with similar issues. However, the outcomes of the divorce will depend on the unique circumstances of each marriage. Experienced attorneys understand the complexities that arise during a divorce and may be able to guide one through the process.