Vacation homes are more than just a piece of real estate. Countless joyful memories were likely made in your vacation home, and the property has just as much sentimental value as it has financial value.
Understandably, disputes can arise when addressing ownership of a vacation home in an Illinois divorce. In this blog, we will discuss how vacation homes are handled during the divorce process and what you can do to receive personalized advice regarding property division issues and other divorce concerns.
Who Owns a Vacation Home if You Get Divorced?
Per Illinois law, marital property includes assets that either spouse purchased or otherwise obtained during the marriage. Property that was owned by a spouse before the marriage is usually non-marital property, but there are several exceptions.
For example, if your spouse helped you pay for renovations to the property or otherwise contributed to the increased value of the property, it may be considered a marital asset even if you acquired the property before you were married.
Determining ownership rights of real estate property can be tricky, so if you have specific questions, it is best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney.
Valuing and Dividing a Marital Vacation Home
If a vacation home is considered a marital asset, it will need to be considered during the division of assets phase of the divorce process. Divorcing spouses are usually advised to get a formal appraisal of their home, so they know exactly how much it is worth.
Once you determine the value of the vacation property, you have a few options. For some couples, it makes sense to sell the vacation home and use the proceeds to pay off joint debt or help spouses start their post-divorce lives with some extra financial cushioning. You also have the option of assigning ownership of the vacation home to one spouse and compensating the other spouse with marital assets of equivalent value. For example, one spouse may keep the vacation home while the other spouse keeps the main marital residence.
What if We Cannot Agree on Who Keeps the Vacation Home?
Divorcing spouses are encouraged to negotiate property division issues and reach an agreement if possible. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will determine vacation home ownership and all other property division issues based on the legal doctrine of “equitable distribution.” Equitable distribution is a means of dividing property in a way that is fair. But this does not always mean that property is divided 50/50.
When determining property division matters, Illinois courts consider each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, child custody arrangements, the value of each spouse’s non-marital property, and many other factors.
Contact our DuPage County Divorce Lawyers for Help
Our Wheaton divorce attorneys are equipped to handle even the most complex property division matters in a divorce. We can help you evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of various asset division arrangements, represent you during negotiations, and ensure your rights are protected. Call our skilled team today and set up a free initial consultation at 630-364-4046.