Unfortunately, divorce is a very real possibility for some married couples. Timeshares, like all other shared assets and liabilities, must be addressed in the event of a divorce. Because divorce is a complicated and often emotional process, it is a good idea to consider hiring a divorce lawyer to help you navigate the system. But whether you have a lawyer or not, your options for handling a timeshare in a divorce are the same as any other asset: sell, award, or share it.
- Sell: Timeshares can de difficult to sell, but if neither you nor your spouse wants it, selling is worth a try. You can try to sell the timeshare yourself by listing it on websites like Craigslist, eBay, or TUG. Or you could list the timeshare through the developer or through a resale broker, but be cautious of large upfront fees. Also be aware that you will likely lose money if you choose to sell because more often than not, timeshares are a depreciating asset. If you are able to sell your timeshare and also manage to make a profit, split the proceeds evenly between the two of you.
- Award: This is the best option if one of you wants the timeshare more than the other. In this case, one spouse will need to “buy out” the other, meaning you will need to give the other another asset or cash that reflects half the value of the timeshare, or simply split any equity between you. You must then determine if the timeshare is an asset or a liability. One way to do this is by having it appraised. If one of you is willing to just walk away from it, however, you may not even need to place value on it. If there is still debt on the timeshare, make sure your separation agreement contains specific terms for how and when that debt will be paid.
- Share: If both you and your spouse have enjoyed using your timeshare over the years and neither of you are willing to part with it, you may opt to share it. This can be risky, though, and should generally only be an option for amicable spouses, as it will require you to maintain some level of communication with one another. Be sure to include very specific details of how this will work in your separation agreement. Address any and all questions you may have in this agreement so that you don’t face any unwanted surprises down the road.
The bottom line here is that you cannot simply ignore your timeshare in a divorce; you have to deal with it, and should do so as early on as possible. Timeshares involve many complicated elements that often require thorough investigation, so give it some serious thought before moving forward. And, again, if you and your spouse are having trouble agreeing on what to do with your timeshare, consider consulting a divorce lawyer to help.