Virginia Equitable Distribution: The Negative Equity Scenario

How do Virginia courts address real estate having negative equity in divorce cases?  Well, sometimes they don’t address them at all.

In Fox v. Fox, Record No. 0643-12-1 (Va. Ct. App. 2012), the parties jointly owned two homes with significant negative equity.  The parties could not afford either home and they did not qualify for refinancing.  In addition, neither party was clamoring to have the houses sold any time soon given that they would each suffer a substantial shortfall on their mortgages.  As such, the trial court was left in the position where a spousal buyout was altogether impossible and a forced sale was hardly desirable for either party.  So was the trial court nevertheless required to divide these jointly owned homes per an equitable distribution under Va. Code § 20-107.3? Continue reading

Virginia Spousal Support: Proof of Cohabitation

What types of evidence do courts want to hear to disprove cohabitation?

In Harris v. Harris, Record No. 1957-11-2 (Va. Ct. App. 2012), an ex-husband sought to terminate his spousal support obligation on the basis that his ex-wife was cohabiting in a relationship analogous to a marriage for over one year.  In that case, the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s finding that the ex-wife and her boyfriend do not live together.  Here is the evidence in a nutshell: Continue reading