Divorce is on the rise in northern Virginia

On behalf of Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC posted in Divorce on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

The U.S. recession has had interesting impacts on divorce rates, including those in Virginia. During the recession, divorce rates were low. Yet,now that the recession is over the rates on are the rise primarily because couples are no longer as concerned about issues of property division.

A study done by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia explains the reason for this recent rise, especially in northern Virginia. The study states that couples had a greater commitment to staying married during the recession. Other legal professionals are a bit more frank. They believe that couples delayed divorce because their financial situations were uncertain, and they did not want to have to divide up lost property or property with uncertain values.

Whatever the theory behind the increase, it is quite evident that divorces are on the rise now that the recession is over. The study reveals that between the years of 2009 and 2011, divorces and annulments rose 18 percent in northern Virginia. In other parts of the state, divorces rose by seven percent.

The division of property in divorce is a complicated matter and supports the theory that couples deferred divorce until after the recession. Virginia is an equitable division state. This means that at the time of divorce, a judge relies on the notion of equity to divide property instead of dividing it equally. For instance, the higher earning spouse may receive two-thirds of the property and employment benefits while the lower earning spouse receives only one-third. When determining who gets the marital home, a judge may consider additional factors, however, like who primarily raises the children to ultimately decide who gets the family houses.

Property division is a major aspect of divorce. Although Virginia couples can avoid the difficult division process by executing a prenuptial agreement before or early on in marriage, they often do not prepare for a divorce early in their relationship. Instead, they must tackle this difficult matter right when it arises. Thus, understanding Virginia law is important as well as seeking appropriate legal guidance.

Source: Washington Post, "We don't like each other so much: End of recession in Northern Va. spells D-I-V-O-R-C-E for many," Tom Jackman, December 19, 2012.

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