Property Rights In The Case Of A Divorce

By Elizabeth Allen

It’s a sad but real fact that many marriages end in divorce yet at the time of the marriage both happily agreed to share everything in their lives for better or for worse; no way would it end in the divorce courts.

During the period of marriage a couple acquire a lot of possessions; no consideration is given as to whom the possession belong; they are jointly owned. Or rather they are jointly owned until the marriage breaks down and now somehow they have to be divided.

The Family home is likely to be the largest thing that is jointly owned; indeed it is jointly financed as well. Now things aren’t going so well the family home can become an item that causes a lot of aggravation, heartache and stress. It’s is of course understandable as a home is the biggest and most expensive purchase most people ever make in their lives.


Understanding property rights, specifically relating to the state where the house is situated is imperative. For example, if you owned a property prior to getting married and you kept it but didn’t live in it as a couple, it remains yours in its entirety; providing your spouse did not contribute to its upkeep. Alternatively, if you have received a property as an inheritance or gift from a third party, it does not necessarily form part of the joint estate, unless bequeathed to both you and your spouse.

Taking Virginia as an example, the laws in place are clear insofar that marital property must, in the event of a divorce, be split in an equitable manner. This does not necessarily mean a split of 50 per cent each; it depends on the needs of a person, how much they contributed during the marriage and each person’s own personal financial position.

Other properties owned, but not lived in by the couple getting divorced, which are looked after or paid for jointly become part of the marital estate and will be included for the purposes of equitable distribution.

Curt have the power to determine how to separate the property. This may be by awarding a monetary amount to one party and letting the other retain the property. Alternatively the court can decide that the property has to be sold to a third party or that one of the party getting divorced purchases the property from the other half at a price applicable on the open market at the time.

A court will look at various aspects relating to who has contributed more to buy the property and what contribution each party has played in maintaining it, looking after it and cleaning it. For example, if one of the parties has been paying for the home loan, but the other has looked after the home and maintained it the court will not necessarily decide to award more of the home’s value to the person paying the loan.

The simplest and best method to divide up your property to is try to do it amicably outside of the jurisdiction of the court if at all possible.

About the Author: by Elizabeth Allen – Visit

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