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Property division can sometimes be rocky in the Mountain State

Many couples have found romance in West Virginia, known for its beautiful mountainous terrain. However, many other couples have endured rocky marriages and are beyond ready to call it quits.

Divorce can certainly give an unhappy couple the chance to break free from the marriage and to move on with their own lives. However, it can also spark conflict when it comes to dividing shared property, such as cash and other assets. Here is a glimpse at how judges handle property division during divorce proceedings in West Virginia.

Marital property versus community property

Marital property is essentially all of the shared interests and possessions that you and your spouse acquired after walking down the aisle. Because West Virginia is an equitable distribution state, your divorce court judge will divide you and your future ex-spouse's shared property in a manner that he or she deems equitable, or fair. This is different from what happens in a community property state, where a judge will divide a divorcing couple's property 50/50.

Exceptions to the law on marital property

Whereas items such as real estate, cars and investments must undergo property division during divorce, certain items -- known as separate property -- are exempt from this. These assets include an inheritance that you received from a relative or even a gift made out to you, for example. In addition, anything that you or the other party brought into the marriage and did not comingle with marital property -- such as money in your joint bank account -- can remain separate following the divorce proceeding.

Your rights during divorce property division

In many cases, divorcing couples have no choice but to go to trial to resolve their property division issues, as they cannot find common ground in this area. However, this is not always the case. If you and your future ex can see eye to eye on how to divide your marital property, you may be able to reach a settlement through an alternative process to litigation, such as mediation or informal negotiations.

Whether you go to trial or take advantage of an alternative dispute resolution process, you have the right to fight for your fair share of assets when tackling property division. After all, the outcome of your divorce proceeding will have a long-term impact on your finances in the years following your marital breakup.

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Joseph Brophy Cordell, Attorney at Law
115 1/2 West King Street
Martinsburg, WV 25401

Phone: 304-707-0673
Fax: 304-263-3378
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