The consequences of divorce when owning a
property in France
With the increase in couples purchasing
a second property in France as a holiday
home there may inevitably be problems if
the couple decide to divorce.
Usually there are two ways of proceeding
with the property. Either the spouses
agree to sell the property and share the
sale proceeds or one of them decides to
retain the property. In both cases a
Notaire must be appointed by the
spouses. The Notaire in France has the
monopoly for dealing with property.
By selling the property the Notaire will
prepare a authentic deed to settle the
transfer of ownership of the property.
Once the property is sold, the Notaire
will split the sale price. This can be
made by means of another deed called "acte
de partage". This deed sets out all the
assets which will be shared between the
spouses. The sharing out may be referred
to in the divorce judgment in England.
It is veritably important that the
drafting of the English court order
dealing with the French Property is
precisely set out.
In the case of sale, the assets are in
fact the sale price. The deed provides
that the sale price is split equally
where the spouses purchased the property
in equal shares. On this transaction tax
will be payable to the French
administration. It is 1% of the "actif
net de partage" which in this case is 1%
of the sale price.
When one party wishes to keep the
property, the Notaire will still draft a
"acte de partage" which will state that
the property will belong to one spouse
on payment of a certain sum which
represents the portion provided by the
other spouse to purchase the property.
This payment is called "soulte". It is
obvious that if in England the same
transaction has taken place, the Notaire
will appreciate all sums to determine
the "soulte" due by one of the spouses.
Again a tax of 1% is payable on the "actif
net partag" after having deducted any
A problem may arise when both have
purchased the property with a "clause
tontine". The divorce judgment must
confirm one spouse's intention to
transfer his/her share to the other
spouse and that both agree to renounce
the clause. Following that procedure a
copy of the judgment and a "certificat
de non recours" will have to be
registered by the Notaire.
www.french-property.com FOR THE USE OF THIS ARTICLE