Norfolk, VA asked in Divorce for Virginia

Q: He bought the house before we got married. Of the 10 years he's owned it, we were married 3 years. Am I owed equity?

I have a property division question. He bought the house before we got married. Of the 10 years he's owned it, we were married 3 years and I paid towards the mortgage during this time. I was never on the deed/mortgage, but it's documented that I paid the bills for the house and contributed significantly to the upkeep of the home, along with raising our daughter. Would I be entitled to some of the equity in the home in the divorce?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Lisa Mathews
Lisa Mathews
  • Alexandria, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: Yes, you are probably entitled to a value equal to some amount of equity in the house. In a Virginia equitable division of assets during a divorce, property is divided into three types: marital, separate and hybrid. Marital property is divided between the parties, separate property is left to the party who owns it, and hybrid property - property that is both marital and separate - will be will be carefully valued to determine which percentage of the property is marital, and then the value of the marital portion will be taken into account when assets are divided. In this case, your contributions to the home don't necessarily give you the right to the house in the divorce, but your contributions to the mortgage will be taken into account and you will have some right to the value of the home. Keep in mind that the way your funds were paid will be taken into account, in other words, whether your funds were paid from your personal property or from marital property.

Lisa Mathews

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