Clause tontine (again?) questions re divorce/ will

To cut a long story short, I was coerced into using my money from my property to buy a house in joint names in France, with a clause tontine. I finally saw what was happening, thanks to a good friend, and escaped. I am now in the UK and “partially divorced”, waiting to sort out the financial arrangements.

Can anyone advise me whether there is anything I can do to get the clause tontine revoked (possibly due to the coercive method in which it was obtained?)

Thanks in advance.

You need to talk to a notaire.
But I thought “tontine” was only relevant with regard to inheritance, ie on the death of one of the partners. I don’t see how it’s going to affect how you deal with the property in a divorce settlement. Presumably you’re intending to dispose of the it, or if your partner keeps it he will buy your share?

Thanks Anna, you’re right that “tontine” is an inheritance clause but as I understand it, it also means that neither of us can sell the property. I expect to have to sell the property. Also, if, in the meantime I pop my clogs (unlikely, but who knows?) the house automatically goes to “my future ex-husband” as a friendly gendarme once phrased it. Given the circumstances, this would seem most unfair :-/


Anna is quite correct… you need to have a French Notaire working on the Tontine aspect, straight away. :anguished:

I hadn’t thought about that, yes you’re right, it will be a problem if your partner is going to be uncooperative. Good luck with it.

Hi Hilary,

The tontine clause only means that in case one of the 2 partners deceases, the property will go to the other in full ownership, regardless of other heirs.
In your case the tontine is not an issue but the principle of the "indivision"is. It applies as you bought the house jointly. It means that there should be unanimity among the partners (you and your ex) regarding important decisions like selling the property.
Hope this will clarify your understanding,


One good thing about France is that you get out what you put in, so as your money was used to buy the house and that is traceable, even if it is in joint names (major pain, never do this if you are the only one paying, I learnt this the hard way) you get your money back.
If the value of the property has appreciated then that sum (ie the difference between price you paid and value now) minus whatever has been spent on work, will be split between you and your soon-to-be-ex. Get all your paperwork sorted and talk to a notaire asap. Bon courage!

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post and I apologise profusely for my tardy response.

I haven’t made any progress on this but I am waiting on information from my lawyer here in the UK.

I originally hired this firm because they had experience of dealing with property issues in France, but I’ve not seen evidence of it yet. Perhaps I need to word my questions more carefully in the future.

Don’t wish to get into the ins and outs of this but is past behaviour is anything to go on this may take some time… and “futur ex-mari” has been living rent free for 6 1/2 years already…


I’m in the middle of a rather muddled inheritance situation, people have died, people have sold, people have divorced…you name it, it has happened…

Main thing we have all learnt is that, no matter what is going on… anything to do with French property will need to be dealt with by a French Notaire… UK legal eagles can ask/liaise, but they cannot do the nitty-gritty stuff… and, indeed, using them seems to delay things terribly.

That is our experience so far… hope you get sorted soon.