Whether you’re plan­ning your move to France, or are al­ready liv­ing there, our panel of pro­fes­sion­als aims to keep you fully in­formed with the best ad­vice for ev­ery even­tu­al­ity

Living France - - LES PRATIQUES -


QMy hus­band bought a prop­erty in France in 2002 with his now ex-wife. They di­vorced in 2006 and a UK court or­der states that she gave up all her rights to the French prop­erty in ex­change for a lump sum. The lump sum was paid over but un­for­tu­nately the ac­tual trans­fer of own­er­ship to my hus­band was never dealt with. We are now plan­ning to move to France to ren­o­vate the prop­erty and live there per­ma­nently from May 2016.

We con­tacted the lo­cal no­taire in France and a doc­u­ment was sent to my hus­band’s ex-wife six months ago, but she is re­fus­ing to sign it. We have been ad­vised that we are fac­ing a lengthy le­gal case in­volv­ing both the French and English le­gal sys­tems if she con­tin­ues to refuse to sign.

As there is a 2006 UK court or­der stat­ing that the house be­longs solely to my hus­band, we are un­sure of our rights. We are re­luc­tant to start any ren­o­va­tion work which would in turn in­crease the value of the prop­erty, es­pe­cially if it has to be reval­ued and then taxes would be due. Donna Davies

AThe UK court or­der (or pos­si­bly the ‘con­sent or­der’), which you say states that the French house be­longs solely to your hus­band, will, I sus­pect, ac­tu­ally state that your hus­band’s ex-wife agreed to trans­fer her share of the prop­erty to your hus­band and it is likely that a timescale of up to six months was spec­i­fied. My ad­vice, there­fore, would be

BAR­BARA HES­LOP that your hus­band in­structs the so­lic­i­tor who dealt with his di­vorce to seek en­force­ment of the UK court on the ba­sis of non-com­pli­ance by his ex-wife.

The judge can then take steps to force your hus­band’s ex-wife to sign the doc­u­ment pro­duced by the no­taire in France, or even sign it in place of her. The doc­u­ment in ques­tion will be a Power of At­tor­ney au­tho­ris­ing the no­taire’s of­fice in France to deal with the trans­fer of own­er­ship.

The UK judge is likely to in­sist on an

BRADY WHEADON English trans­la­tion of the Power of At­tor­ney be­ing pro­duced. Once the Power of At­tor­ney has been signed and your hus­band has also signed one, or he at­tends the no­taire’s of­fice in per­son, the no­taire will be able to com­plete a trans­fer of own­er­ship deed to show your hus­band as sole owner of the prop­erty. When such a deed is drawn up be­tween ex­ist­ing joint own­ers, there is a trans­fer tax of 2.5% payable on the value of the prop­erty. This would be payable by your hus­band. Bar­bara Hes­lop

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