Timeshares are a popular way to enjoy the benefits of a vacation home without the hassles of owning a piece of real estate in a distant place. Statistics from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) are proof of their appeal, revealing that 9.9 million US households own some weeks, points, or other interests in a timeshare. Of these, 67% of owners are married or in a domestic partnership, which raises an important question if the relationship goes south: What will happen to a timeshare in Michigan divorce?
If you own one, you know that there is a financial value attached to a timeshare even if you do not hold a deed as the owner of the real estate. Therefore, you can expect that your interest will be a focal point when divvying up assets and debts in divorce. Being a unique type of property, a timeshare often leads to challenges with the process, as well as heated disputes. A Michigan property division lawyer will advise you on details, though some background information is helpful.
Overview of Property Division Laws
Michigan follows the rule of equitable distribution when it comes to assets and debts in divorce proceedings. The basic process of property division involves two steps:
Marital v. Separate Property: Before dividing assets, it is first necessary to establish what items are owned separately by the individuals and which are part of the joint marital estate. By default, any assets acquired and debts incurred during the marriage belong to both spouses.
However, there are exceptions, and some may apply to a timeshare. Though one party owned the interest before marriage, it may become marital property if the other spouse contributed to dues and fees.
Equitable Distribution: After establishing what assets are part of the marital estate, they are divided between the parties according to the interests of equity. This may not mean an exact 50-50 split because the point is for the outcome to be fair and just.
Options for Handling Interests in a Timeshare
Michigan property division laws as described above will apply if a court is asked to determine how to divvy up assets. The parties are free to enter an agreement on a timeshare interest, and there are benefits to working out a compromise. Some options to consider include the following:
- Selling the timeshare interests and splitting the proceeds, which may result in an immediate loss but could save in fees over time;
- Sharing the weeks or points, an alternative that may be workable for ex-spouses who can agree on timing; and,
- Having one spouse buy the other out, keeping in mind that the purchaser would be the sole owner and responsible for fees going forward.
Discuss Options With an Oakland County Property Division Attorney
Ownership of a timeshare can present challenges in divorce, so it is encouraging to know that there are options for resolving your interests. It is wise to rely on a Bloomfield Hills divorce lawyer who will explain them in detail and assist with property division matters. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today for more information.