The Virginia Homestead Exemption

The Virginia homestead exemption allows you to protect a small amount of equity in your home if you file for bankruptcy.

Updated 5/20/2016

In bankruptcy, the Virginia homestead exemption allow you to protect a small amount of equity in your home. Here you’ll find specific information about the homestead exemption in Virginia.

For information about how the homestead exemption works in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankeruptcy, see The Homestead Exemption in Bankruptcy. For more articles on exemptions, see our Bankruptcy Exemptions area.

The Virginia Homestead Exemption Amount

Under the Virginia exemption system, homeowners may exempt up to $5,000 of their home or other property covered by the homestead exemption. Debtors may add $500 to this amount for each of their dependents. Debtors aged 65 and older, and veterans disabled by 40% or more, can exempt up to $10,000.

Doubling for Married Couples

In Virginia, if a couple is married and filing jointly, each spouse may claim the full amount of each exemption. Thus, married couples filing jointly may double the homestead exemption in Virginia. This would amount to a $10,000 homestead exemption.

The Scope of the Virginia Homestead Exemption

In Virginia the homestead exemption applies to real property, which includes your home or condominium. Your mobile home is also covered. You may apply any unused portion of your homestead exemption to any personal property.

The homestead exemption also applies to rents and profits and sale proceeds from any exempted property.

Can You Use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions in Virginia?

Some states allow bankruptcy filers to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions instead of the state exemptions. Virginia is not one of those states. If you reside in Virginia you must use the state exemptions.

(To learn more about which state exemptions apply to you, see Which Exemptions Can You Use in Bankruptcy?)

Homestead Declarations

In Virginia, you must file a homestead declaration (a form filed with the county recorder’s office to put on record your right to a homestead exemption) before you file for bankruptcy in order to claim the homestead exemption. Contact your county or city recorder for information on how to file a homestead declaration.

Real Property Held as Tenancy in the Entirety in Virginia

If property is held as a tenancy in the entirety, it means the property is jointly owned by a married couple as a single marital entity, not as individuals.

In Virginia, if you hold property as a tenancy by the entirety, the entire amount is exempt against debts owed by only one spouse.

Homestead Exemption for a Surviving Spouse and Minor Children

In Virginia, a surviving spouse of a decedent who was living in Virginia is allowed a homestead exemption of up to $20,000. If there is no surviving spouse, each minor child is entitled to an equal share of the aggregate $20,000.

Finding the Virginia Homestead Exemption Statute

Virginia’s homestead exemption is found in the Code of Virginia Title 34. Specifically, Chapter 2, Sections 34-4 through 34-25 deal with the homestead exemptions of householders. To learn how to find state statutes, check out Nolo’s Laws and Legal Research area.

The Code of Virginia can be found on Virginia’s Legislative Information System website at

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