The most valuable property you share with your spouse is probably the marital home. Some families spend as much as 30% of their monthly income on the mortgage and may have spent decades paying off the loan.
Given that it represents so much of the income earned during your marriage, it’s little surprise that your home could be the biggest property concern you have about an upcoming divorce. How do you ensure that the outcome of property division proceedings will be fair in the Virginia divorce, especially when it comes to your house?
Learn about the state approach to property division
In Virginia, like in many other states, the law requires an equitable distribution of your marital property. In plain English, a judge will split up your possessions in a way that seems fair in the context of your marriage.
Everything from how long you stayed married to what you contributed will influence what the judge decides is the best way to handle your assets. There is a lot of discretion involved and the opportunity to create unique solutions.
Multiple solutions can be fair or equitable when it comes to a piece of real estate. A judge could order the sale of the home or allow one spouse to stay there if they buy out their ex. Whatever the solution, it will not be a winner-take-all outcome. Each spouse likely has a claim to some of the home’s value.
Make sure you establish an appropriate value for the home
The amount that you paid for the house when you purchased it doesn’t reflect what it is worth right now any more than the assessed value for your property taxes does.
You need to consider the strength of the local market for real estate in Virginia, as well as the improvements you’ve made to the house. Changes to your neighborhood could also drastically increase the price that your house could command on the modern market compared to what it is currently worth on paper.
Having a real estate professional establish the fair market value for your home can help you ask for a fair share of that value. Especially if you have complex assets, support can make it much easier for you to navigate divorce and the property division process.