Unless you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the judge presiding over your divorce will probably be the one who makes all of the major decisions. They will interpret Virginia state law and apply it to your family circumstances.
When it comes to splitting up your property, few possessions matter as much to a divorcing couple as their house. You and your ex might disagree about what is the fair and reasonable way to handle your house. What will the Virginia courts do when making a decision about your home?
The judge must look for a fair solution
Virginia family law states that the courts should focus on fairness when dividing your property. Each of you will probably have your own idea about what is fair, so the judge will have to review your current circumstances and an inventory of your assets in order to determine what to do.
When it comes to a home, there can be multiple ways for a judge to handle the property. They can order one spouse to refinance the property but allow them to stay there once they pay their ex some equity. Judges can also order a couple to sell the house and split the proceeds.
In rare circumstances where couples request it, a judge may even approve a couple keeping the house as joint property. Usually this only happens if the couple wants to fix it up before they sell it, to rent it out for income or to try bird-nesting so that their children don’t have to move when they divorce.
Do you want to keep the house?
Most people’s immediate response to questions about the house’s ownership in a divorce is the assertion that they want the property. However, what they may really desire is the money that the couple has invested in the property.
You may not make enough to pay a mortgage on your own, especially if you have to reduce your equity by paying some of it to your ex. You may also not be able to handle all of the cleaning and upkeep that goes with solitary homeownership. Additionally, the house may be full of memories that you share with your ex, which might mean that selling it will make it easier for you to move on and find new happiness.
You have a right to ask for your fair share of a house’s equity without demanding that you keep the home. You may want to spend some time thinking about what goal is most reasonable and helpful for you regarding your hope in your upcoming divorce.