Kelly Byrnes & Danker, PLLC

Dividing the family home in a divorce

Usually, the family home is a marriage's most valuable asset, and divorcing couples in Virginia often find it hard to decide whether to sell or keep it. Spouses who are looking for a clean break and a fresh start might find this decision easy, but couples with fond memories of raising children and living as a family could find the family home very difficult to let go of.

Selling the family home and dividing the proceeds is the simplest solution, but couples who choose this option should bear in mind that capital gains tax will have to be paid on any profit realized. If one person wants to stay in the home, he or she can offer other assets in property negotiations in exchange for that individual's husband or wife's share of the home or take out a loan to buy him or her out. However, qualifying for a mortgage with just one income instead of two could be difficult.

Maintaining joint ownership of the home after the divorce is another option. This path is sometimes taken when children are still young, and parents do not wish to uproot them. In these situations, issues such as determining responsibility for household expenses and establishing a timeframe for when the property will be sold could be addressed during property division talks.

Experienced family law attorneys may suggest paying off all jointly held mortgages if one spouse wants to continue living in the family home. This is due to the fact that banks aren't bound by the terms of divorce agreements, and they will usually pursue all the individuals who signed mortgage documents when payments are not made on time, and loans fall into arrears. Late payments will also be reported to companies like Experian and TransUnion, which could adversely affect someone's credit scores and make future borrowing far more difficult.

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Kelly Byrnes & Danker, PLLC

Kelly Byrnes & Danker, PLLC

3975 Fair Ridge Drive
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Fairfax, VA 22033

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Fax: 703-268-5888
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Leesburg, VA 20175

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