One of the stickiest issues during divorce is almost always how property or assets will be divided among spouses. Especially in high asset divorce cases. Both of you probably have an idea of what you think you are entitled to. Often, this idea conflicts with your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s idea of what he or she should get. This is particularly true of any assets accumulated during the marriage as well as the marital home or jointly-held real estate. Not only have you and your spouse contributed blood, sweat and tears into the house, not to mention money; both of you have likely grown attached to the property.
So what happens to your marital home in divorce? Well, it depends.
If you (or your spouse) purchased your marital home prior to your marriage and it is in your (or your spouse’s) sole name, a Virginia court may consider this the separate property of the person who bought it. This means the purchaser will be entitled to the benefit of the property value.
However, if the property was and remained your marital home throughout the entire duration of the marriage, then the court may conclude that the property was converted to marital or hybrid property. If this is the case, the property will be subject to division among both you and your spouse.
There are a variety of considerations that go into dividing marital property, particularly hybrid property. In Virginia, hybrid property (as the name implies) is classified as both marital property and separate property. Though the formulas used to compute how much will be divided amongst you and your spouse are complex and will depend on the facts of your particular situation, the idea behind hybrid property is awarding each spouse his/her contribution towards the property. Obviously, this can become a difficult task when a spouse’s contribution is not made in dollars, but in day-to-day maintenance, upkeep and improvements. Nevertheless, courts still consider these activities contributions, and they will be credited when dividing up the marital home.
When dividing the marital home, clearly courts do not actually partition the property. Rather, the house must be sold and the proceeds of the sale will be divided among you and your spouse according to your respective contributions. But one of you may want to keep the house. In this circumstance, whichever spouse wants to keep the home will likely have to “buy out” or pay the other spouse for his/her contribution toward the equity value of the home. Of course, your Fairfax family law attorney can negotiate a better deal on your behalf if you let him or her know that the property is important to you.
If, however, you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on what to do with the marital home, the court will ultimately decide this for you. This is why it is so important to hire a knowledgeable family law attorney to represent you, and fight for the outcome you desire.
If you are considering or going through a divorce and want to protect your marital home, or you have any other family law issue, you should speak with a qualified family law attorney at the DiPietro Family Law Group. Our attorneys can review the facts of your specific situation and will fight for your rights. We have decades of experience representing clients in all types of family law matters and are here to help you! Contact us today.