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Frequently Asked Marital Property Questions

Q.  Is an engagement ring marital property?
Q.  Is a medical/law degree marital property?
Q.  Do I lose the house if I commit adultery?
Q.  Can I/my spouse take whatever I/my spouse want(s) of the furniture when I/my spouse leave(s)?

Q.  Am I responsible for my spouse's debts?
Q.  My spouse is an alcoholic and was in a bad accident. Can my house be taken to pay for the victim's expenses?
Q.  Should I co­sign for the home equity loan or guarantee a car loan or mortgage if we are not getting along?


Q. Is an engagement ring marital property?

A. No. It was acquired prior to the marriage.

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Q. Is a medical/law degree marital property?

A. No. Although professional degrees are in some states, the Virginia courts have ruled that they are not marital property.

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Q. Do I lose the house if I commit adultery?

A. Not necessarily. It depends on may factors and is decided on a case-by-case basis.

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Q. Can I/my spouse take whatever I/my spouse want(s) of the furniture when I/my spouse leave(s)?

A. It is best if the parties can agree on a division of property. If there is a dispute and the police are called, the police will only allow a spouse to take clothing. In many cases a spouse leaves and takes whatever he/she wants while the other is not present. At the time of the divorce, a Judge can decide whether any items should be returned or one spouse is entitled to a marital award (money) in lieu of the property taken.

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Q. Am I responsible for my spouse's debts?

A. Not unless you co-signed or signed as a guarantor.

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Q. My spouse is an alcoholic and was in a bad accident. Can my house be taken to pay for the victim's expenses?

A. Joint assets cannot be attached if only one spouse is liable for the bill or debt. If the car was in joint names, both the driver and the owner can be liable and joint assets such as a house can be attached. Ways which may avoid this, (1) do not have the car owned jointly by both spouses (2) insurance should be a reasonable amount and not the minimum.

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Q. Should I co-sign for the home equity loan or guarantee a car loan or mortgage if we are not getting along?

A. Absolutely not.

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