Your vacation home or cabin is likely the setting for some of your most treasured memories. Whether you taught your children to swim out on the lake or enjoyed quiet weekends away from your hectic life, it may have emotional value that exceeds the sentimental attachment you have to your primary residence.
Additionally, being a piece of real estate means that your cabin, cottage or vacation home is also a valuable asset financially speaking. With both financial and personal value, your cabin could quickly become a focal point in your upcoming divorce proceedings. What will the Illinois family courts typically do with a second home during a divorce?
Factors about the property will influence how the courts proceed
Sometimes, your vacation home is marital property that you and your ex have a partial claim to, while other times that is separate property that belongs solely to one spouse. The name on the deed isn’t what will matter the most. Instead, the courts will look at the date of acquisition and what funds a spouse used to complete such a large purchase.
Both assets acquired and income earned during a marriage are usually subject to division. If you purchased the cabin during your marriage or if you used income earned while married to buy it, the courts will probably consider it part of your marital estate.
If one spouse owned the vacation property prior to marriage, it may be their separate property. The same is true if they inherit the cottage or if they use a large inheritance to purchase it without commingling any assets by dipping into household funds for the purchase or maintenance of the property.
There are many ways for the court to handle the property
If the cabin is subject to division, then the courts may have to make a decision about what happens to it when you divorce.
They might award it to one spouse and order them to share some of the equity accrued in it with their ex. They might order the couple to sell the property. There are even situations where a couple going through a divorce agrees to continue to share ownership so that their children can enjoy the cabin that they have always visited during the summer months.
If your vacation home or another valuable asset is a major priority in your divorce, your desired outcome can help shape the strategy you develop for your upcoming divorce.