With the increase in couples purchasing a second property in France as a holiday home there inevitably can be problems when the couple decide to divorce.
Usually there are two ways of proceeding with the French 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 sum to determinate the "soulte" due by one of the spouse. Again a tax of 1% is payable on the "actif net partagé" after having deducted any outstanding loan.
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.