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Who Gets the Beach House in a Divorce?

beach property and shoreline

Divorce is difficult enough as it is, but knowing that you will have to hand over one of your favorite assets to your lesser half is unbelievably, undeniably, unreasonably worse. There are many different ways to divide property and assets during a family law, divorce case, but who gets the beach house in the divorce is the bigger question at hand. There are a number of different laws and regulations that must be followed when it comes to divorce proceedings, from division of assets, to custody and determining who gets the beach house after the final divorce decree has been signed.

There are two ways divorce proceedings can go. The first is an agreed divorce, where both parties are on the same page about everything. Meaning both parties agree on the divorce, the division of all assets, including the beach house, bank accounts, retirement accounts, child custody and more. The second option, the more expensive and lengthier route, is a contested divorce; meaning that neither party agrees on what has to be done, custody and visitation, or does not agree with the proposed division of the joint assets.

As for the beach house, one of the important facts to understand in a divorce is the difference between separate and marital property. This process can be complicated for couples with substantial retirement accounts, pensions and common assets that need to be divvied up even in an agreed divorce. The first step is to determine which assets are marital and which are separate property. This can be a very difficult process, and it is wise for couples to choose to hire a family lawyer and divorce attorney to negotiate a settlement.

Marital property includes assets acquired during the marriage. This can include real estate, investments, businesses, cars, and retirement contributions. Marital property can also include debts incurred during the marriage, so be careful using the credit cards! Marital property is typically, but not always, divided equitably. This means that the judge will decide on how to split the property in the fairest manner possible. In other words, the judge will take into consideration the earning ability of the parties, as well as their conduct. Each party can ask for a greater share of the property, too. Now, will that be granted? is a whole other question no one can answer but the judge themselves!

Separate property is property that was owned before the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance. This can include assets such as a prenuptial agreement, also cars and real estate, the yacht your great-grandfather left you, etc. The value of the property is determined by the current market value of the property at the time of separation. Again, Indiana is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the court will generally divide property equitably. There are times when the judge can deviate from this rebuttable presumption, of course. In a family law divorce case, nothing is often as cut-and-dry as it can be. And naturally, there are times when a couple will be able to negotiate a fair property division outside of family law court.

If the couple cannot agree, they will have to go to court. Indiana courts will, more often than not, presume that all of the property in the marriage is marital property. However, this does not mean that the court will not consider assets or debts as separate property. Again, there are many, many countless factors that go into dividing marital property in a divorce and no one can say what might happen one way or another. Property division can be a difficult and contentious process, and many couples are not able to come to an agreement on how to divide their joint assets. Luckily, there are some ways that can make this process easier!

Obtaining legal counsel and having a divorce attorney on your side is one way to ensure your wishes will be heard. Having legal counsel ensures you will have someone that is willing to fight for you and your wants. If you want certainty that the beach house will be yours no matter what, the key is keeping it separate from the marital property. The best way to do that is ensuring that you have a prenuptial agreement in which it states that the beach house is yours and yours alone, before ever signing the marriage certificate. Of course, this can be a challenge, nevertheless, you don't have to give up your prized possessions in the name of peace and harmony. If the beach home was acquired during the marriage, with the assistance of a savvy legal team, you can keep the beach house once the divorce has been finalized!

The most important takeaway is remembering that in divorce proceedings, you cannot leave anything to chance. The marital property may not be a given and it may not be divided up equally during your divorce case. It is vital to remember that there are many details, rules and regulations that are factored into a family law, divorce court case and even more that are state mandated, that not even an attorney can bypass. To get the best possible result, you should hire a well-rounded team of legal experts including a divorce, family law attorney, and a family law/divorce paralegal. The best thing about hiring a legal team is that you will have a more focused approach to the issues affecting your well-being. Having a team of experts on your side means less stress and more time to enjoy your beach house! If you would like to speak with a family law, divorce attorney, scheduling a consultation is just a call away! You can reach out to The Law Offices of Eugene Mogilevsky, LLC at our office number (317) 743-7958 or you can submit a Contact form through our website and tell us a little bit more about your situation at and someone from our office will reach out to you!

Disclaimer: This blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and is not to be taken as legal advice in any capacity. Reading this blog does not constitute or establish an attorney-client relationship.