Any thoughts as to what this means. I'm in the middle of a divorce, we own 13 acres, 12 of which have timber on them. Most likely I will be awarded the home & property. He is asking for timber rights. I don't fully understand what that means for the future of my property. Any help would be appreciated.
"Timber rights" means that at any time, he can contract out to have somebody come in and cut the timber.
He would keep the cash from the sale, and you could be left with a messy, barren piece of land.
I would suggest having a lengthy conversation with your lawyer about this. If it is "selective cut" they take the best (most valuable) trees and leave the scraggly ones behind (this then becomes your gene pool for regrowing the forest...which he can later come back and cut again!).
Or worse yet (if it is allowed in your region), it can be a "clear cut" which means that they chop them ALL down. They usually leave a horrendous mess behind once the valuable timber is gone.
Sorry. I don't know how to 'sugar coat' this: If he has timber rights, he owns every tree on the property!
Hope that it works out well for you.
To add to John's post. As he 'owns the trees' and you don't you have to reach agreement to use the land in anyway that effects his timber. So if you want to clear a pasture or plant a garden (clear trees to increase sunlight), you need his permission and have to compensate him for the timber. Also his interest will reduce resale of the land should you ever chose to sell. Who wants to buy your place if they don't own or have clear control to the property?
Also, rights vary from state to state, but expect that he will have some rights to come and go from the property to inspect the timber. As a woman 'moving on with her life' after a divorce, do you really want your ex to be coming and going from a small parcel of land? Could make you or a potential partner in the future uncomfortable. Compensate him for the future value of the timber and make a clean break. Co owning property with an ex spouse is never easy even in amicable splits.