If you are like tens of thousands of other people in Minnesota and Wisconsin, you own a cabin. Whether you use it periodically during hunting season, or you essentially live there, your cabin can be a home away from home.
And just like your primary residence, a cabin can be a primary point of contention if you get divorced.
Keep or sell?
The first issue is whether the spouses will keep or sell the cabin. During a divorce, the cabin may go to one spouse or the other as part of the equitable property settlement, or it may be sold and the proceeds distributed.
Conflicts can arise when parties disagree on who should keep it, how it should be valued, and/or how the proceeds should be divided.
To reach an agreement, parties should consider:
- Whether the cabin is nonmarital or marital property
- How much it would cost to keep it
- Where the cabin is located
- How much parties would receive in a sale
- Whether one party used it more often
- Who is financially able to maintain a second residence
When you can answer these questions, the solution can become clearer.
For instance, you might determine that the cabin is not eligible for division in a divorce, or that neither party can afford to keep it.
Whatever parties decide to do with a cabin, they must know its value. Assessing the real estate value of a family cabin can have added complications. Of course, an appraisal can determine how much a property is worth, but there is more to a cabin’s value than how much it might sell for.
Some cabins have been in a family for generations and/or hold significant sentimental value. A cabin can be more valuable to someone who used it frequently or performed a lot of work on the property themselves.
High stakes for pricey property
A cabin may not be a marital home, but it is real estate, which is typically the most expensive type of asset to divide in a divorce. As such, it can be one of the most complicated and contentious items to discuss.
If you have a cabin and are divorcing, work with your attorney as well as financial and real estate professionals to make informed decisions about the fate of such special property.