As a couple, buying a vacation home was fun and exciting, a big step in your lives that you'd always dreamed of. As you get divorced, though, it may turn into a nightmare.
For one thing, homes in other countries can get tricky. While many countries opperate similarly to the United States, legally speaking, some are very different. There are countries, for instance, where carrying out the divorce decree becomes impossible, or where selling the house and splitting the money isn't realistic because you're legally barred from taking money out of that country. Plus, when one spouse is from another country and the other is from the United States, disagreements over international homes in the first spouse's home country are common.
Another reason experts point out for these disagreements is that the home isn't as necessary, even when kids are involved. With a primary home, parents still think like parents. The kids need a shelter, a place to live. They may be more prone to agree to something they don't particularly like -- such as signing the home over to an ex -- if it means the kids get a stable living situation.
This parental instinct isn't there with a vacation home. It's more of an extra, a "fun" asset, and so people want to get what they believe is theirs.
A third reason for complication is emotional attachment. What if you've been vacationing at that home for 20 years? You don't want to give it up. What if the home has been in your family for generations? What if you have childhood memories there? People may be less emotionally attached to a main home, a cookie-cutter house bought in a suburb because it was close to work, than a vacation home. This can lead to disagreements and an unwillingness to compromise.
In a tricky situation like this, it's critical to know local property division laws and all of your legal rights.
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