Can my wife take my ski cabin in our divorce?

You’ve had your ski cabin for years. In fact, you grew up going to that mountain cabin in Vermont, which used to belong to your grandparents. Then your parents inherited it, and now it’s yours. It’s always been your favorite weekend escape.

You and your wife and kids have enjoyed the property, too. The last ten years, you’ve learned to rely on it as the perfect way to entertain your kids during the cold winter months.

You hope the property will stay in the family and your kids will get to inherit it, too, but now your wife is trying to liquidate the property as a part of your marital estate. Can she do this?

You may be able to keep your ski cabin

When it comes to marital property division in New York, the question usually boils down to whether you owned the property outright before your marriage. Inherited assets can also receive protection from marital asset division, so if you inherited the property during your marriage, you might also be able to keep it.

However, the property needs to be in your name and your name only. For example, it’s not uncommon for couples to merge all of their personal assets after marriage. If you signed paperwork to make your wife co-owner of your ski lodge, or if you co-mingled inherited assets into a joint bank account with your wife, then your wife can probably claim part ownership of this property during divorce.

There is also the question of how much the property increased in value during your marriage. From the date of matrimony, if your property accrued in value, your wife might be able to claim part ownership of these valuation increases.

Know your property division rights

If you’re considering divorce in New York, it’s best to learn about your property rights before you file. This way you can prepare financially — and psychologically — for your divorce with regard to what you stand to keep and what you stand to lose during your property division process.