Dec 20, 2021

Three options for splitting a vacation home in a divorce

For many couples, vacation homes are more emotionally weighted than other assets. It may be the beach house where your kids learned how to swim, or the mountain home where you’d find peace after a busy workweek. Sometimes, a vacation property is also a labor of love—a location you picked, a lot you built out and a home you decorated.

But, in a divorce, vacation homes are high-value assets, and as emotionally invested as you may be, it’s smart to look at them through a financial lens. Most couples will choose one of three options for their vacation home: sell it, share it or stay.

Selling your vacation home

Once you’ve decided to divorce, you’ll want to have your vacation property appraised. Even if you don’t ultimately sell, you’ll have a good understanding of its current value. Most divorcing couples choose to sell and share the proceeds as it provides the opportunity for a clean slate and financial independence from each other. While it may feel hard to sell and move on from a home you love, it’s sometimes the smartest move.

Share the vacation home 

If you and your soon-to-be-former spouse both love the home or you imagine your kids vacationing there for years to come, you may wish to share it. But it’s critical that you’re realistic about how the agreement will work. Would you prefer to buy the property outright but just don’t have the funds? Are you comfortable co-owning property with your ex? If so, you’ll want a written agreement in place detailing:

  • Who is responsible for mortgage payments
  • How you’ll handle repairs and updates
  • How you will schedule use
  • How you will manage rentals if you also rent out the property
  • What you’ll do if one party wants to sell
  • What you’ll do if one party passes away

Staying in your vacation home

If you’re sure you want the home, you may choose to buy out your spouse’s share. If you’re financially able to do so, this can be a great choice, as it allows you to keep the property you love without mingling your finances with your ex. However, you need to be clear-eyed about the expenses and effort it takes to manage a vacation property and be sure you’re comfortable handling everything on your own. Because a vacation home is not your primary residence, you’ll also need to understand the tax implications of property transfers in divorce vs. true sales after a divorce.

Ultimately, it’s smart for divorcing couples to come to an agreement that’s in their best financial interests rather than let attachment to the home cloud the picture. Co-owning a home that made you happy with someone who makes you unhappy doesn’t always work well. By speaking with an experienced divorce attorney, you can create an agreement that’s to your best advantage and keep the decision of who gets the home out of court.

Schedule your consultation today with an Atlanta family lawyer 

Vacation homes may complicate the divorces of high-net-worth families. The divorce attorneys at Marple Rubin have years of experience working with clients who have vacation properties. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to move your divorce forward as efficiently and effectively as possible.

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