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Is keeping your house the right goal in your divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2022 | Family law

A Virginia divorce will shake up most areas of your life. It will change your schedule and what assets you have access to. It will also affect when you spend time with your children.

If you share ownership of your house with your spouse, then a divorce will also impact where you live. For many people in Virginia, their home is the most valuable thing that they own. Often, people think they must keep the house when they divorce in Virginia.

Do you want to retain your home after the divorce?

You don’t have to keep the house to retain your share of it

Maintaining a home on your own isn’t easy, and neither is qualifying for a mortgage based solely on one person’s income. You will likely need to refinance if you intend to keep the marital home, so you need to look realistically at your finances to see if staying in the home is realistic.

Virginia’s equitable distribution laws allow you to claim the value of the property that you share with your spouse even if you don’t ask to keep that asset. There is no all-or-nothing approach, especially with major assets. Instead, the value of one asset helps balance out other property or debt.

The spouse who keeps the house has the right to live there, but they don’t just retain 100% of the equity in the home. Often, they will need to refinance the property and give some of the equity to their ex. The spouse retaining the property could also assume more of the marital debt or sign over other assets, like a family-owned business, to keep the house.

Familiarizing yourself with the property division rules in Virginia can help you set better goals for a potential future divorce.