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How do you divide a horse in a divorce settlement?

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, asking how to divide a horse in a property settlement is not as crazy as it sounds. In addition to the marital home, divorcing couples accumulate property of all kinds, including house pets, farm animals and thoroughbreds.

Virginia is an equitable distribution state. To couples who decide to divorce, ownership of the property in question becomes an important issue.

Equitable distribution and normal assets

In some states, the property of a divorcing couple will be split 50/50, but in Virginia, equitable distribution means that division of property will be fair in the eyes of the court, not necessary equal. An attorney experienced with family law helps clients understand which assets are going to be subject to division. The main items undergoing division in some way are the marital home and any other real property, bank accounts, investments, retirement savings, household possessions, vehicles and valuables. Valuables include such items as fine paintings, a rare wine collection or a thoroughbred horse.

Setting a value

Your attorney may want to call in professionals who can help evaluate your possessions and put a dollar figure on each. In the case of the horse, proper evaluation would include such details as what he is trained to do and at what level he is able to perform. After establishment of the value, the couple can consider options:

  •         Sell the horse and split the proceeds
  •         One party buy the other party out
  •         Become joint owners and come to an agreement on the exact rights and responsibilities of each party

Making decisions

Deciding how to divide the horse is an example of similar decisions that you will need to make as the result of a divorce. You and your attorney will work together to arrive at the total value of your estate, then begin to break assets down into priorities so to facilitate the negotiation of an equitable property settlement. Fortunately, the horse has no idea that he is at the center of such a discussion and is likely to go along with whatever decision you end up making about his future.

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