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Birmingham Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Divorce > What Happens To A Couple’s Vacation Home If They Get Divorced?

What Happens To A Couple’s Vacation Home If They Get Divorced?


If you and your spouse own a vacation home, it might seem to your friends or to envious Facebook stalkers that you have a perfect life.  Having an entire house just for family getaways or to entertain guests near the beach or the lake sounds like a dream come true, but things that look perfect usually are not as great as they appear.  Vacation homes tend to cast a couple’s problems in relief.  A vacation home can highlight your spouse’s perfectionism, materialism, or lack of social graces.  Meanwhile, if you and your spouse get divorced, the additional real estate property can make the divorce case more complicated.  It definitely comes with property taxes, and if you owe a mortgage on it, this is another complicating factor.  When coworkers hear about your vacation home, their first response might be to wish that you would invite them there, but when a divorce lawyer hears about a client’s vacation home, his or her first thought is usually that this divorce case will not settle as easily as if the couple only owned one real estate property.  A Birmingham divorce lawyer can help you get a fair share of the marital property in a divorce case that involves multiple real estate properties.

Do You Even Have a Claim to the Vacation Home?

The first question to ask about your vacation home in divorce is whether the property is a separate asset or a marital asset.  If you and your spouse bought it during your marriage, it is marital.  If you brought the property into the marriage, then may be separate property, and if your spouse brought it into the marriage, then it may be spouse’s separate property.  The court can consider whether it would be equitable to divide property that either party brought into the marriage. The court can also consider whether this premarital property was “used for the common benefit of the marriage”.  If it is one person’s separate property, that person may be allowed to keep it after the divorce, although the other spouse might be entitled to a share of the amount that the property’s value increased during the marriage.

If the house is marital property, then the court can award it to one or the other spouse, or even order the parties to sell the house and divide the proceeds.  Most of the time, couples can decide during mediation which spouse keeps the vacation home, but if they cannot, then they can both present their case at trial for why the court should award it to them.

Can Either of You Afford to Keep the Vacation Home?

Divorce is expensive for everyone.  If the court awards the vacation home to you, you will need to refinance its mortgage so that it is solely in your name.  Just as often, couples decide that the amount it would cost for either party to keep the vacation home is not worth it, so they decide to sell it.  Selling a real estate property is not easy or cheap, but a divorce lawyer can make the process as stress-free as possible.

Contact Peeples Law About High Net Worth Divorce

A Birmingham family law attorney can help you divide your marital property so that both spouses get a fair share.  Contact Peeples Law today to schedule a consultation.



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