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Who gets the family home in a divorce?

Dividing property is not just a simple value proposition. Much of what you and your spouse own has sentimental value. Your family home, in particular, likely holds some of your best memories.

Even if you are able to separate your emotions, the family home is often a couple’s most valuable asset and getting fair value for it in a divorce may seem impossible.

Equitable division

Virginia, like most states, requires equitable division of marital property and debts. For some couples, receiving fair value for the family home may mean selling the property splitting the profits. However, property division is rarely that simple.

Equitable division does not necessarily mean property will be divided equally between the two sides. All your assets will be taken into account, and if you have complex portfolio, including retirement accounts, investment accounts and additional property, there likely won’t be a simple solution.

Marital property

If you purchased your home together and both your names are on the title, your house is considered marital property. This means you both are considered owners.

However, one of you may have purchased the home prior to the marriage and be the only one named on the title. Or, one or both of you may have separate property that was acquired outside of the marriage. Separate property is not considered marital, and your spouse would not have a claim to the property.

Often, separate and marital property overlap, making equitable division even more difficult.

What does this mean for your home?

Some couples simply want to sell their home and start fresh. Others may have multiple properties and can negotiate a fair settlement for both parties.

However, many people have more complicated situations. What they deem “equitable” may not be the same as their spouse. Coming to a resolution may require litigation and fighting for what is rightfully yours.

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