I'm not an attorney, so this does not count as legal advice. However, through my service Brilliant Exits, LLC, I help people dealing with separation and divorce issues in metro DC. I also run programs, with professional speakers, to teach people about the process. Now that you understand my credentials, here's what I know:
- You are a very wise woman, and good mom, to be asking these questions! Sadly, many women don't and regret it later. Your husband's points may be valid, but so are your concerns. With some info and compromise, hopefully you can help each other find a solution that works for both of you.
-VA is an equitable distribution state, which basically means you are entitled to half of all assets (and debts) accrued during your marriage. It doesn't matter whether your name is on the house deed or mortgage. So you can relax (breathe deeply) on that point. However, I would tell your husband you need a copy of the deed for your own records...
- If one partner's credit score is low, sometimes the other spouse (if they have sufficient income) will take out a mortgage only in their own name to get a better interest rate or speed up the process. So that does not necessarily mean he is trying to deny you homeownership, because remember: You are entitled to half of everything accrued during the marriage by VA law.
- In terms of your homebased business being an issue, this can be resolved by incorporating your business, something you really should do anyway to protect yourself. You local Small Business Development Center can help you do this. It's actually quite easy and inexpensive and will protect your family assets.
- In case divorce (or widowhood) ever happens to you down the road, the most important thing you can do now for yourself is know exactly what your financial situation is, ie all bank accounts, credit cards, retirement funds, debts, investments, tax records etc AND keep track/copies of all of it. Should a divorce ever happen you can't split what you don't know you have, so staying on top of this now, & forever, is crucial. Plus it's easier to collect this kind of info (and make your own copies of it, kept in a safe place) when your marriage is intact.
- A couple things I'd suggest:
1) Explain to your husband that for your stake and your child's, (should he ever die) you need to be part of the homebuying process, even if your name is not on the deed or mortgage. THIS is very IMP. Also, check with an estate attorney (If money is an issue, the settlement attorney should also know this answer, and your husband will be paying the attorney settlement fees when he purchases the house) to see what will happen to you and your child re home should your husband die. Is there life insurance to keep you in your home? Do you have a will granting you the home in event of his death? Or will the state of VA get most of your family's assets?
2) After your husband purchases the house, your name can then be added to the house deed at very little cost. Explain to your husband that doing so will protect your family against future liens. In VA, if both of you are on the house deed no one will be able to place a lien against the house. However if only his name is on the deed, a lien can be placed against him on the house.
3) STAY ON TOP OF THINGS... You are very, very wise to be asking these questions. Sadly, many women don't and find themselves in desperate straights down the road. As in most things, prevention and being pro-active (which is what you are doing!!!) is brilliant.
Hope this helps. You can visit the resources section of my website, www.brilliantexits.com, and scroll through resources that may be of help. Good luck and stay smart!
S. Zarozny, Founder
Brilliant Exits, LLC