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Brandenburg Formula in Property Division


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In divorces, people have a difficult time dividing property.  Sometimes, the parties can easily agree.  Other times, the parties need the court’s intervention to determine the division of property.  When property is part separate and  part marital, the court’s will frequently rely on the Brandenburg Formula in property division.  Thus, the courts will use the formula in determining marital property and separate property with hybrid property.

In Hart v. Hart, 27 Va. App.46, 497 S.E.2d 496 (1998), the Court defined nonmarital contribution (nmc) as equity in the propery at time of marriage, added with any amount spent after marriage by either party from traceable nonmarital funds in the reduction of the principle, and/or the value of improvements made to the property from the nonmarital funds.  In Hart, Marital Contribution (mc) was determined to be the amount spent after marriage from other than nonmarital funds in the reducing of the mortgage principle, plus the value of improvements made to the property after the marriage from other than nonmarital funds.  The Court was focused on value and not costs.  Also, the Court found that Total Contribution (tc) was the total of marital and nonmarital contributions.  Equity (e) is defined as the equity in the property at time of distribution.

NONMARITAL PROPERTY=[ (nmc) divided by tc]  times  e

MARITAL PROPERTY = [(mc) divided by tc]  times e


Whichever party claims the property is separate carries the burden of proof. If you have further questions, contact Anthony L. Montagna, III by calling 757-625-3500.