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What happens to a second home or vacation property in a divorce?

Some of your happiest memories from your marriage are of family gatherings at the mountain cabin, riverfront cottage, or ski condo. You know you’ll never all be there together again, but you hate the idea of giving up the vacation home altogether. So, what are your options for holding on to the property in your divorce? Our Virginia divorce lawyers discuss a few here.

Division of Property Options for Vacation Homes

In Virginia, any assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and must be included in an equal property division. If a second home was purchased or inherited by one spouse before the marriage, it would stay in that person’s possession and not be included in the property division. If the vacation home is marital property, you can either give it to one spouse, sell it and divide the proceeds, or continue to share it. What you choose to do will depend on your individual situation.

Giving One House to Each Spouse

If you own two homes that are of equal value, you could decide that each of you will keep one house. If children are involved, the parent who is granted primary custody will most likely want to stay in the primary residence to keep the kids near their schools and friends. However, if you are sharing custody of the children and the second home is far away, this might not be a viable solution. Second homes are often in remote locations with few services. In this situation, the person taking possession of the vacation home might choose to sell it and use the proceeds to buy a house in another location.

Selling the House During the Divorce Settlement

If the second home is not equal in value to the primary residence—whether it is worth more or less—it might be easiest to sell it and divide the profits. If one spouse wants to keep the house, they could buy the other spouse out of their half of the ownership.

Sharing the House as a Vacation Home

If your divorce is amicable and you are both committed to co-ownership and splitting time in the home, it is possible to keep the house in the family. You will need to have the terms spelled out clearly in the property settlement agreement. If the house is to be rented out for income, make sure you have a good contract in place that clearly outlines the division of labor and how the income will be divided.

Do You Need to Speak to a Virginia Divorce Attorney?

If you are considering divorce you need to speak with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and look forward to helping you.

Related Links:

  • Factors That Complicate a Virginia Divorce

  • Challenges of a Second Divorce in Virginia

  • Moving a Child to Another State After a Virginia Divorce