What to do about a decrease in a house’s value after a divorce?

My ex and I agreed to divide the equity in our home. Our divorce decree gives me $100k. He is currently refinancing but can only get me $30k, after 3 years of being divorced. Can I modify or have him sign an agreement saying he owes me the difference if/when the home is sold?

Asked on September 21, 2011 under Family Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The divorce decree is enforceable as per its terms. If the decree says that you must get $100k no matter what, you have to get $100k--so if he gets you $30k now, you have to get another $100k later, and can sue to enforce the agreement.

Or if the decree says that you get a certain percent (say, 50%) of the equity, that's how much you get and he owes you--even if it's less than you wanted.

In short, whatever the decree's terms are, that's what you can enforce. You can't, however, make your ex-spouse agree to anything beyond or in addition to what's in the decree. If you're not sure that the decree says or what your enforceable rights are, you should consult with an attorney whod can review the agreement with you. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.