Owning property with one’s spouse is a part of many marriages. If you’re married to another person, you’ve likely purchased many big-ticket items together such as houses and other real estate. What happens to this property when a married couple decides to get a divorce? What if there are judgments against one spouse – how does that affect who does or does not own the property, free of liens, shared during a marriage?
There is a startling trend of people not being adequately advised in divorce cases in Virginia on asset distribution, and it’s affecting many divorced (or divorcing) couples, and the property they once owned together as tenants by the entirety. When an attorney practicing domestic law is not well-versed in the nuances of real estate law, they may forget to require that their clients obtain and record a Deed to them before the divorce is final. This act protects your property after a divorce if there are judgements against your ex-husband or wife.
As a firm, Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico knows how important it is to retain property during and after a divorce, so contact us today at (540) 343-9349 if you are in need of legal assistance with this issue.
Tenants by the Entirety with Rights of Survivorship
To better understand the necessity of a Deed of Conveyance in domestic law situations, you should know about different types of property ownership in Virginia – more specifically – “Tenants by the Entirety with Rights of Survivorship.” Only married people can own property this way. As a concept, it boils down to having your property protected in case your spouse finds him or herself in financial trouble. For example, if your spouse passes away, Tenants by the Entirety ownership protects the property rights of the surviving spouse from most judgments only obtained against the deceased spouse.
What Happens if a Couple Decides to Divorce?
What happens to property you and your spouse share once you’re divorced? Under Virginia law, you are no longer permitted to own the property as a married couple. Once a divorce decree is signed by a judge, you and your ex-spouse become what is known as tenants in common. At that moment, any judgement against one spouse attaches to the property you once owned together.
What Can Be Done to Prevent This?
To prevent the possibility of a judgement against your ex-spouse being attached to property that was passed to you in a divorce, talk to your attorney about a timely Deed of Conveyance. If the deed is conveyed to one party before the judge enters a divorce decree, any judgements against the other ex-spouse do not attach to the property.
It’s more common than it should be for attorneys not familiar with both domestic and real estate law to forget to recommend this action to their clients, so if there’s a possibility that your property could be affected by judgements against your ex-spouse, contact a lawyer today.
Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico Can Help
You shouldn’t face the loss of your property because your attorney did not suggest a deed of conveyance before the divorce process is final. Attorney Rick Derrico offers practical advice to his clients and knows what it takes to protect their property. Contact Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico today at (540) 343-9349 if you believe a Deed of Conveyance applies in your case.