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Dividing a vacation home during divorce

Some divorces involve a number of assets and even multiple properties that need to be divided. There may be stocks and retirement accounts to consider. And while those things may not carry an emotional price tag, vacation homes often do. Unfortunately, if you are unable to come to an agreement out of court, then the fate of the vacation home may be in the hands of the courts.

One or both parties of a high-asset divorce may attach sentimental value to a vacation home. It is a place that reflects happier times where family memories may have been made. This can be difficult to let go of during a divorce. However, a vacation home could also be a very high-valued asset in the divorce. Homes located in areas such as the Hamptons or the Catskills are often high-valued properties, which means money is at stake.

Three options

It is important to take an objective look at the vacation home, as you would other assets in a divorce. From an economic standpoint, decisions need to be made regarding the future of the home. Some of the options include:

  1. Selling the home: If both parties agree to sell the home, you will need to get an appraiser to find out the home's current market value and agree to a selling price. If you owe more than the property is currently valued at, then you may need to consider other options.
  2. Sharing the home: Keeping the home and sharing it may be another option, especially if there is sentimental value on both sides. However, in this case, you will need to determine who is responsible for the mortgage.
  3. Allowing one party to keep the home: If there is no mortgage on the home and one party, in particular, is attached to it, you may want to consider using it as a negotiation tool in the divorce. If there is still a mortgage on the property and both names are on the note, steps need to be taken to remove one of you.

Keep in mind that there will be tax implications of decisions you make regarding a vacation home. Ultimately, the decision on what to do with the home is in the hands of you and your ex-spouse, provided you are able to come to an agreement out of court. Seek the advice of an experienced New York family law attorney to ensure that your rights and assets are protected during a divorce.

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