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Who will get the house in the divorce?

Going through divorce is difficult – emotionally and financially. For parents with children, going through a divorce adds even more uncertainty for the future. You and your spouse will have to reach a custody agreement, as well as an agreement on property division. You may really want to keep the marital home after the split, so your kids have less disruption in their lives. However, will you be able to?

Virginia and divorce property division

Virginia is an equitable property division state for divorce. That means any property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage – a house, vehicles, furniture or an art collection – is divided in an equitable, fair manner.

When it comes to your marital home, first you’ll have to have it evaluated so you know how much it’s worth. If you and your spouse bought the home while you were married, you’ll be splitting the value of the home between both of you. With equitable property division, that split in assets may not be 50-50 based on a number of factors:

  • How long you and your spouse have been married
  • If one of you owned the home before you were married, yet both of you contributed to mortgage and upkeep costs
  • What your earning potential is and what your spouse’s is
  • What you and your spouse’s financial needs will be after divorce
  • What other property you’ve acquired during the marriage
  • If you or your spouse has made nonmonetary contributions to the marriage (raising your children, working on improvements to the home)
  • Which one of you will have primary custody of the children

Dividing a home’s value

Most likely, if you want to keep the family home after divorce, you will need to buy out your spouse’s share in its value. You may need to forgo your share of your spouse’s retirement funds or refinance your home to give your spouse their share of equity in your divorce property division.

Other factors to consider

Before you negotiate keeping your home in your divorce, you should do some budget calculations. Will you be able to afford to pay for it on your own? Will refinancing your home make that more possible?

Most likely, your financial situation will be different after a divorce. You want to ensure you can pay your home’s mortgage and upkeep costs on your own.

Working with an experienced divorce attorney can help you get an idea of what your settlement might look like, helping you determine what steps you can take to keep your home after the divorce.

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