Timeshares are a popular option for those who want the perks of a vacation home without the headaches involved with owning real estate in a distant location. They are certainly attractive in a destination like Charleston and other parts of South Carolina, which draws visitors for golf, beaches, wildlife viewing, history, and other attractions. In fact, statistics published by an online timeshare brokerage service reveal that the state ranks #3 in the US for the total number of timeshares and fractional units. Of these owners, more than two-thirds are married, raising important questions if the marital relationship breaks down.
You know that there is value to timeshare ownership, even when you do not actually possess a deed. As such, it is property that may be subject to South Carolina property division laws. Timeshares can be tricky, however, because they are a unique type of asset. Disputes are common, so it is wise to rely on a Charleston County property division attorney. Some background is also useful.
Equitable Distribution in South Carolina Divorce:
There are two basic ways of dividing assets in divorce cases, and South Carolina follows the law of equitable distribution. The basic process involves two steps:
- Only marital property is subject to equitable distribution, so it is first necessary to divide assets into what you own as a married couple and separately. By default, anything acquired after the wedding date is marital property. Items owned before, gifts, and inheritances belong to the individual.
- There are exceptions to the default rule, and they may apply in the case of a timeshare. For instance, one party might have purchased the interest before getting married. It may become marital property if the other contributed to fees after marriage.
- After separating out marital property, these assets are divided according to equitable distribution laws. This may not lead to an equal 50-50 split, but the court will divide up property according to what is fair.
Options for Resolving Timeshare Interests in Divorce:
The description above summarizes how property division works when a judge is called upon to make a decision. Parties to South Carolina divorce are encouraged to agree on property division, so there may be benefits to working things out. With respect to interests in a timeshare, you might consider:
- Selling the timeshare and splitting the sale proceeds, which might result in a loss but could save in fees;
- Keeping the timeshare and splitting the weeks and/or points, a potential option when ex-spouses get along; and,
- Having one party buy the other out, in which case the purchaser will be responsible for fees and dues going forward.
Discuss Options with a South Carolina Property Division Lawyer
It is encouraging to know that you have options when dealing with a timeshare in divorce, and the Peck Law Firm will advise you in making informed decisions. To learn more, please call 843.631.7117 or go online to reach our offices in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, or Summerville, SC. We can schedule a free phone or Zoom consultation to review your circumstances.