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What should you do with a vacation home in your divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2023 | Divorce |

Heading into your divorce, there’s a lot that you’re going to have to steel yourself for. You might end up in a fight with your spouse over child custody and visitation arrangements, but if your children are older and you have a high net worth, then your focus is probably going to be on specific assets.

Since Ohio is an equitable distribution state, the court is going to try to find a way to divide your marital assets in a way that’s fair. That probably won’t mean that the division will be equal.

Before you enter settlement negotiations or litigation, you’ll want to have a firm grasp on your position as it pertains to your most valuable assets so that you can advocate for an outcome that protects your interests.

How should you handle a vacation home in your divorce?

For many divorcing individuals, a vacation home becomes a sanctuary away from their spouse while their marriage dissolution plays out. But that’s a short-lived approach, as the vacation home will have to be dealt with through the divorce.

If you’re in this situation, then you might be better off viewing your vacation home from a financial perspective rather than a sentimental one. Therefore, before you make a final decision on how to handle your vacation home, you might want to consider each of the following:

  • The home’s value: Before deciding to fight to keep a vacation home or to use it as a bargaining chip to obtain other marital assets, you need to know what it’s worth. Securing a professional and reliable appraisal is key here so that you know which direction you need to steer your case.
  • Whether sharing is an option: Although a vacation home can be a great getaway, it can also be an income property. If that’s the case for you, then you might want to consider retaining co-ownership of the home so that you and your spouse can continue to generate revenue. Of course, you and your spouse will have to be on the same page as far as income division and time spent at the vacation home in order for this option to work. You’ll also want to have a realistic picture of the income the home can generate to determine if this option is worthwhile.
  • How the vacation home fits into your estate plan: A lot of vacation homeowners purchased their second property as a way to generate wealth to leave to their children. Before you give up on that dream and agree to sell the vacation home, you might want to consider whether there actually is another alternative to reach your goal.

Which option is best for you?

Only you can answer that question. But when you’re in the midst of a high-asset divorce, you’ll want to make sure that you’re comfortable with the decision that you make. Therefore, you’ll want to scrutinize your options here, whether that’s fighting to keep the home at the expense of other marital assets, using the home as leverage to secure other assets that are more important to you, or agreeing to sell the home to secure quick access to cash. Only then can you make the fully informed decision that’s right for you.

Are you ready to develop your high-net-worth divorce strategy?

If so, then now is the time to be proactive in building your case. This might mean educating yourself more about the law and how it applies to your set of circumstances, but it might also include figuring out your priorities and what you want out of the future.

Once you’ve done that and gathered the evidence that you need to support your case, then hopefully you can secure the resources you need to start the next chapter of your life on firm financial footing.