What Will Happen to a Vacation Home in Divorce?

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What Will Happen to a Vacation Home in Divorce?

The main role of the court in a divorce case is to divide the couple’s assets and debts and to declare each former spouse legally responsible for some of them. Family law judges have seen it all in terms of the items that couples fight over in divorce; judges have had to make decisions about memorabilia, hunting trophies, musical instruments, and even pets, but in the eyes of the court, all of these things just count as stuff. The only possession that is truly unique is the marital home, the one that serves at the couple’s primary residence at the time that they file for divorce since it determines the children’s school district and the couple’s ability to commute to work. If the couple owns other real estate properties, then the court only thinks of them in terms of their value, the costs associated with them, and if applicable, the income they generate. If you and your spouse have reached an impasse about which of you should keep your vacation home or another real estate property other than your primary residence, contact a Rolling Meadows property division lawyer.

Is a Vacation Home Marital or Separate Property?

If you and your spouse bought the vacation home during your marriage, it is marital property. This means that it belongs to both of you, regardless of which of you contributed more of your income or inherited wealth to buy it and regardless of how much or how little time each of you spends there. If the vacation home is marital property, the court must decide which spouse gets to keep the marital home after a divorce and assume responsibility for its property taxes and other expenses.

If you bought the vacation home before you married your spouse, then it is your separate property.  The chances are good that the court will award the vacation home to you, but you may need to pay your ex-spouse a share of the amount that the property’s value appreciated during the marriage.

Keep, Sell, or Refinance?

If the vacation home is marital property, there are several possible outcomes on which the couple can agree during mediation or which the judge can decide at trial. For example, if one spouse keeps the vacation home, they will probably have to buy out the other spouse’s share or else grant the other spouse another valuable piece of marital property in exchange. If the couple owes a mortgage on the vacation home, the spouse who keeps it will need to refinance for a mortgage that is solely in his or her name.

In many cases, neither spouse can afford to keep the vacation home, even with a refinance. When this happens, the couple must sell the vacation home and divide the proceeds according to percentages on which they agree or which the court decides.

Contact Andrea Heckman Law About Property Division in Divorce

A family law attorney can help you persuade the court to award you possession of your vacation home or a cash amount equivalent to your fair share of its value. Contact Andrea Heckman Law in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, to discuss your questions about your divorce case.

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