In Virginia traditional alimony was the only form of recompense allowed to a divorced spouse until 1977. Property was divided according to title, either his, hers or theirs. In 1977, the legislature added the possibility of a "lump sum payment" based upon the "property interests of the parties" after considering "the contributions, monetary and non-monetary, of each party to the well-being of the family," among other factors. This language gave little guidance as to when such an award might be appropriate or what specific factors were to be considered.
A survey conducted by Ingrid Hillinger for the Family Law Section of the Virginia Bar Association in the fall of 1981 indicated that the role of§ 20-107 in property division was unclear. Many attorneys were still filing suits for constructive or resulting trusts. Most believed that Virginia should adopt some form of equitable distribution. The 1981 Virginia Legislature had also recognized the need for change and appointed a committee to study the problem. HB 691 was the result of their study and the Virginia General Assembly adopted their proposal with few changes, replacing § 20-107 with § 20-107.1 - 20-107.3. Some may see § 20-107.1 through § 20-107.3 as a mere extension and outgrowth of the old § 20-107. To some extent, it is, but domestic relations attorneys will find themselves in a new age.
- Journal title
Virginia Bar Association Journal
- Date submitted
7 September 2022