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What happens to the marital home during a divorce?

Property division can sometimes become a thorny issue during a divorce because both spouses believe that they are entitled to specific assets acquired during their marriage. Nowhere is this more apparent than with the marital home or with other types of real estate. Usually, both spouses have developed an emotional attachment to their home and property which can make them both very possessive when the idea of giving it up is mentioned. But, what can happen to the marital home during the process of divorce?

If the home or other type of real estate was purchased before a couple got married, a court may consider this property a pre-marital asset and it may be awarded to the spouse who initially purchased the property. But, if that property then served as either the marital home for the duration of the couple's marriage or as a source of income for the couple, a court may then conclude that the property was converted to a marital property and include it as a marital asset and subject to property division.

Selling a marital home does present an advantage to divorcing spouses if they are able to separate their emotions from it. The only issue that remains is how the money acquired from the home will be divided between the spouses. One common way to divide up the proceeds is to determine how much each spouse contributed to the home while they were there. If one spouse paid more of the cost towards the home, or if one spouse contributed more to the monthly house payments, then the proceeds could be divided up along these established percentages.

It's important to remember that if a couple cannot agree on how to divide up their marital home, a judge will make that decision for them. However, any Virginia resident who is having a tough time dividing up their marital home with their ex-spouse may want to speak with a divorce attorney in order to discover additional methods that could help them divide up this kind of property.

Source:, "Dividing real estate in divorce: what happens to the house?" Accessed July 31, 2016

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