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

UPDATED: Sep 21, 2011

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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 11 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.

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