Options for Dividing a Timeshare in Divorce
The types of property a couple may accumulate during marriage can vary widely. While most couples will own a family home, some also have interests in other types of real estate. If divorce occurs at some point in a marriage, a division of marital property is generally required, including real estate interests. However, some real estate is easier to divide and/or dispose of than others. Timeshares are usually considered real property under Florida law, and are one of the more challenging pieces of property to address in a divorce property settlement. Timeshares are extremely popular and common in Florida, spawning an entire section of law devoted exclusively to their management and regulation. This popularity means a notable number of divorcing spouses will face dividing this type of asset, but timeshares cannot be viewed or treated as most real estate holdings, which greatly complicates how to factor them into an acceptable property settlement. A discussion of key points that should be considered when dividing a timeshare in a divorce will follow below.
Options for Division
There are several options for dividing a timeshare in divorce, and the one a couple chooses is usually based on the wishes of each spouse, the initial financial investment, and the prevailing resale market. Typically, property division takes one of two forms: one spouse keeps possession, while the other spouse receives a cash payment or other assets that represent the value of his/her share; or the property is sold and the proceeds divided. Note that if a timeshare is wholly transferred to one spouse, until the deed is changed, the other spouse will remain responsible for any maintenance fees. However, any outstanding balance under a promissory note would remain the legal responsibility of both spouses, and the divorce decree will need to address this situation so the spouse who relinquished the interest is not left on the hook.
Timeshares offer a potential third option that could be more complicated to manage, and not always feasible, but it does exist, and could work if both parties are interested in cooperating. Depending upon the number of days and how the days are allocated during a calendar year, the spouses could agree to keep joint ownership and split the time, so each party would have rights to use the timeshare without interference from other. While this option may seem unusual, the discussion below will show how the difficulties timeshares often present during property division in divorce may compel a couple to keep this alternative on the table. One additional option would be to seek a termination of the timeshare contract. The terms of the agreement will guide when this may be permitted, but timeshare companies may be willing to negotiate letting the parties out of the contract, even if the terms are not in the company’s favor. Working with an attorney on this possibility is crucial, as the law on timeshares is particularly complex in this State.
Challenges Unique to Timeshares
One key aspect of dividing marital property in divorce is determining what the value of a particular asset is. Timeshares are notoriously hard to place a value upon for resale and valuation purposes. Consequently, even if one spouse is interested in keeping it, figuring out how much the other party should receive in return is often tricky. Location is a big factor, i.e., in proximity to Disney World vs. the Panhandle, and can quickly render what appeared to be an asset as a liability. Thus, an appraisal may be necessary, as well as a general willingness to negotiate an acceptable exchange if a definitive number cannot be reached. Ultimately, the desire of each spouse to keep or sell the unit will determine how to deal with this property interest, and an experienced divorce attorney can help facilitate this process.
Property division is one of the most challenging aspects of divorce, and one of the most pivotal to get right. The legal team at All Family Law Group, P.A. is highly skilled at addressing all aspects of divorce, and is available to discuss the circumstances of your case. Contact the Tampa divorce attorneys and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay for a consultation at no charge. They can be reached at 813-672-1900.
by Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+