How High-Value Assets are Divided in a Virginia Divorce

By: John Whitbeck


Some divorces have assets that extend beyond the family home and a couple of cars. Some couples have their own businesses and a lot of assets. Some of these assets can be worth a lot of money, like antiques, artwork, stocks, intellectual property, and more. The process of dividing these assets can be time-consuming and filled with plenty of tension. Sorting out who gets personal items is easy, but when there are valuable assets acquired by both spouses, you’ll need the assistance of a skilled Virginia divorce attorney who can help.

Factors Considered in Property Division 

If you don’t reach an agreement with your spouse on how to divide your marital assets, the court will be left to sort it out for you. To do so, they will look at several details. For example, if you and your spouse are big art collectors, determining who gets the art and what the value is are important decisions the court has to make. In order to make a ruling, the court will consider factors like:    

When was the art purchased? Was it purchased during the course of the marriage?    

Is any of the artwork inherited by only one spouse during the course of the marriage? 

Is there any art that was inherited or purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage?    

Did one spouse give the other spouse a gift of artwork?    

Was the artwork purchased during the course of the marriage using separate funds from one spouse only?    

Regardless of how the art was acquired, did it gain a lot of value during the course of your marriage? Was it ever used as collateral to fund the marriage’s lifestyle? What happens if the artwork was created by one of the spouses? This can be a confusing twist to deal with. You may assume that whoever creates the artwork is entitled to take it or claim its full value. However, there are situations where the other spouse may be entitled to some of the value. Imagine if the artist spouse works full time from home on their craft. If the non-artist spouse is the one working a traditional full-time job to pay the bills, he or she may be entitled to a portion of its value due to the “shared” effort. Confusing scenarios such as this is why it’s a good idea to seek help from a knowledgeable Virginia divorce attorney.

How to Determine High-Value Assets Worth?    

Determining the value of these types of assets can be more challenging compared to something like a piece of land or a vacation home in another state. In cases involving assets like artwork, antiques, stocks, retirement accounts, etc., valuation experts are used. These are specialists who can help reach a determination on the value of complex assets. Do not be surprised if both sides reach different value figures. If you cannot come to an agreement after this, the court will still need to make its own determination on the value and who gets what share.

To learn how our team can help you, contact WhitbeckBennett by calling 800-516-3964 or emailing clientservices@wblaws.com.

To learn more about divorce, visit our Divorce Law page.

Related: Divorce Law

John Whitbeck

John Whitbeck


John C. Whitbeck, Jr. is the founder of WhitbeckBennett. His practice focuses on family law, special education law, and mental health law. He regularly practices in several jurisdictions in the Northern Virginia area. He has also been certified as an expert witness in litigation.


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