Henrico, VA asked in Family Law for Virginia

Q: 6 years ago my husband left for another woman. The marital house is only in my name always has been and on the dead.

I am taking care of the house for 6 years but in May the house burnt down. Insurance is taking care of the rebuild and it will be worth a lot more. Is he still entitled to have the equity in the house.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kellam T. Parks
Kellam T. Parks
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: This is a complicated question because, in Virginia, there is the concept of “Separate Property,” “Marital Property,” or “Hybrid Property.” Generally speaking, any property owned or debts owed before the marriage are the separate parties’, anything during the marriage is marital (and therefore each party has an interest, doesn’t matter who bought it or who incurred the debt, and “Hybrid” means the property is part of each of these. In this case, if the house was purchased during the marriage, but only had your name on it, it is still marital. However, if you two separated 6 years ago, then you have an argument that all increases in value after the date of separation is separate property to you. This is then a Hybrid piece of property and there are methods to determine what the Court may do to split it. The house being rebuilt, as it is after separation, may lend to arguing that the increase in value goes to you. How much will go to each party will be up to the Court – even though your husband left for another relationship (desertion of the marriage) it doesn’t automatically mean he gets nothing; however, fault grounds for divorce can be factored into the split and can be argued he should get less. This can get complicated and, as always, we suggest speaking with competent legal counsel as to the best course.

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