How do you decide who keeps the vacation home?

by | Dec 1, 2023 | Divorce

Deciding what to do with a vacation home can be a complex and emotional aspect of divorce. Dividing property fairly could mean selling the home, or you could decide that it goes to one spouse.

Carefully considering all relevant factors can help you agree on the fate of a second home when your marriage ends.

Financial contributions

First, review the financial contributions each spouse made to the purchase and maintenance of the vacation home. If one spouse significantly contributed to the acquisition or ongoing expenses, they may have a larger claim to the home.

Current market value

The average property price in California was about $831,000 in 2022. Fast-rising rates mean your vacation home may be worth much more than expected.

A professional real estate appraiser can provide an objective, accurate valuation. With this information, both spouses understand the property’s worth and make informed decisions about its future.

Emotional attachment

If one spouse has a stronger emotional connection to the property, those feelings may come into play when you negotiate. Open communication about these sentiments supports a more amicable resolution.

Child custody

If you have children, parenting arrangements can impact the decision regarding the vacation home. The parent with primary custody may find it beneficial to keep the vacation home to provide stability and continuity for the children.

Some families develop shared usage arrangements where both spouses have specific times to use the vacation home. This approach allows everyone to continue enjoying the property while sharing ownership responsibilities.

Home maintenance

Consider each spouse’s ability to maintain and afford the vacation home. The person who can financially manage the property, including mortgage payments, property taxes and maintenance costs, may be in a better position to keep it.

Future financial goals

Evaluate the future financial goals of each spouse. For example, one spouse may plan to sell the vacation home to fund other endeavors or investments.

An option worth exploring is renting out the vacation home. Both spouses could continue to co-own the property and share rental income. This financial arrangement could benefit both parties.

Both spouses may need to make concessions in other areas of asset division to reach an agreement on the vacation home. A fair and equitable compromise can contribute to a smoother divorce process.