It may not have been difficult for you and your soon-to-be ex to decide what to do with your family home – whether it was to sell it or for one of you to buy the other out. Your vacation home, however, is another matter. You both want to keep it.
Whether it’s a home near the Vermont ski slopes, a beach house in the Hamptons or someplace further away, you always looked forward to having this special place for your family to spend holidays and a few weeks or longer in the summer.
Even if you expect that you will sell it when the kids are older and on their own, you want to keep it for the foreseeable future. So how will that work? How much will you have to deal with each other as co-owners? There are a number of things to consider. Let’s look at just a couple.
Expenses, scheduling and other things you’ll need to work out
If you have a mortgage, you’ll need to determine whether you’ll split the mortgage payments or one of you will take them over in exchange for another asset. Either way, if both of your names are on the mortgage, you’re both going to be penalized if the payments lapse.
You’ll need to work out how you’re going to share responsibility and payments for repairs, upgrades and redecoration and what changes require the agreement of both of you. You may want to look into having a property management company look after it (if you don’t have one already). You’ll also need to determine how taxes and insurance costs are split or handled.
Scheduling will be important. Likely, you both plan to spend time there with your kids. Down the line, you also might want to bring significant others, new spouses and stepchildren. Adhering to a schedule so that you aren’t having awkward encounters is crucial. If either of you will be letting friends use it, you’ll need to include that in the schedule and determine whether your ex needs to give their okay.
It’s a lot to think about. If you both keep the vacation home, communication and cooperation will be key. With experienced legal guidance, you can work out a detailed agreement that will help you minimize issues.