Some people say that home is where the heart is, but it is also where much of your personal wealth resides. The equity that you slowly accrue by making regular payments may represent a substantial portion of your overall personal estate.
The downpayment you made toward the home, the amount of your monthly mortgage payment that goes toward principal and the real-world financial value of repairs and upgrades made to the home could represent hundreds of thousands of dollars.
When you get divorced in Virginia, you and your spouse will have to agree about how to divide your property or have a judge split your assets for you. How can you protect all of the investments that you have made in your home during a divorce?
Figure out what the house is actually worth
One of the most important steps toward protecting your investment in the property is to establish the current fair market value for the home. Neither is the assessed value that determines your property tax obligations nor the principal amount for your mortgage will likely reflect the current value of your home on the real estate market.
You will need a current appraisal to know conclusively what your home is worth. Some spouses will hire two separate appraisers so that each spouse feels confident in the value assessed by the professional that they hire. If there is a significant gap between the prices returned by the two appraisers, the spouses can agree to meet in the middle agree and split the difference between the two appraisals.
Decide what outcome would be the best
Would you like to stay in the marital home until your children are adults? Would you prefer to receive your share of equity so that you can buy a new home of your own and start making new memories?
Thinking about what your preferences might be and exploring whether they are realistic or not are both important steps when planning for a Virginia divorce with big assets. Can you expect to qualify for a mortgage, especially if you have to offer your spouse some of the equity in the property?
To some people, retaining possession or continuing to live in the home will be their most important goal. For others, the biggest concern is just receiving an appropriate share of the home value in the property division decree. Setting goals regarding your biggest assets and the overall outcome of property division proceedings will help you plan for both your upcoming divorce and your life after divorce.