Maybe you regularly spend summers at the shore as a family, or perhaps you own a second home in the mountains. Regardless of location, vacation properties can become a source of contention in a divorce.
Keep these considerations in mind if you are facing a divorce in New Jersey and own a vacation home with your spouse.
Marital vs. separate property
New Jersey requires couples to divide marital property fairly when they divorce. If you and your spouse own the vacation home together, the court will consider it a marital asset. The home constitutes separate property only if one of you inherited it alone, bought it before the marriage or designated it as separate property in a prenuptial agreement.
Questions to ask
Before you negotiate an agreement in which you keep the vacation home, ask yourself:
- How often will I use the house?
- Can we share ownership?
- Can I live in the home as my primary residence?
- If not, can I afford mortgage and upkeep on more than one home?
Make a comprehensive budget that estimates the realistic costs of maintaining the vacation home on your post-divorce income.
If the New Jersey court considers the home a marital asset, you have several options. You can cede your right to other marital assets, such as your spouse’s retirement account, in exchange for the vacation home.
You can agree to give up your right to the home in exchange for other forms of marital property, or ask your spouse to buy you out. If neither of you feels strongly about keeping the home, you can sell the house and split the proceeds.