Transfer of property from ex-wife's name

Hi there,
I am in the process of getting divorced from my wife in the UK. We jointly paid for our French holiday home and as part of the settlement she’s giving me her half (I’m pretty sure it is still negative equity but hey, I love it there!) However the house is only in her name - I never had my name on the deeds.

My quesitons are:
a. What is the process to get the deeds into my name from hers?

b. It’s a pretty amicable split so I think it could happen before or after the divorce is settled in the UK, but is that right/ does it have any significance in French terms?

c. She’s also lost the deeds, how do I get a replacement?

Many thanks in advance…

The notaire who originally handled the sale will in all probability have a copy of the deeds (if the not the actual deeds). You need to arrange any transfer through a notaire and there will be a cost.

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Hello @mrbenn Ben H and welcome to the forum.

Please will you amend your Registration to show your full name… First and Last Name as per our Terms and Conditions.

If you care to give the details here, I can amend things for you… or you can go and amend your Registration page yourself…


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Yes, it’s the Cadastre that matters anyway. Deeds don’t have the importance here as in the UK.

Ben, I’m no financial wizard but my immediate reaction is that you should get the transfer done prior to the divorce. A transfer between spouses is tax free I’d say but between “strangers” would be liable to capital acquisitions tax. Even if you are in negative equity it might be possible to use that loss, for example against some other capital gain. A quick word with a professional or even with your bank here, if you have one, would be worthwhile IMO.

Many thanks John - yes those a really good points I’d just not thought of - being completely green in these matters!

My other thought is I am wondering if my ex can sell it to me for a token amount. I had heard (from a French friend) that it is possible in France for the commune to “step in” and purchase properties if they are sold like this, and that some clause is necessary in the terms of sale to prevent them doing this. Anyone aware of that at all?

Hi Ben

If the French property is in your wife’s name… I would have thought any process to transfer Ownership should be instigated by her. Once the Notaire knows what it is you and your wife want to achieve… then you both will be given Best-Advice on how to achieve this.

If your French friend has mentioned this… he/she presumably has reason to do so. why not ask him/her for clarification.

Absolutely! Otherwise it would be open to anyone to claim a right to the ownership of your property.


I am aware of a similar process … which has been dragging on for more than 5 years now… and, in the meantime, a major player died (quite unexpectedly) … and this has caused no end of problems.

I would advise immediate contact with the Notaire… to get the ball rolling…

In the meantime… perhaps your wife (ex?) could make a Will (or a codicil) naming you as sole beneficiary of the property… :upside_down_face:

I’m no expert Ben but the commune does have some sort of “right to first refusal”. Once again, I’d get professional advice. I wouldn’t necessarily trust a notaire. Just like solicitors there are good ones and bad ones, there are diligent ones and there are sloppy ones and the notaire’s primary responsibility is to (fairly) collect tax for the State. So I’d have a quick word with somebody independent first and then go to the notaire with what I wanted him/her to do. I’d also listen to any advice they had to give and then make my mind up on how to proceed.

I guess it’s a case of “seller beware” to coin a phrase. Good luck :slightly_smiling_face:

Obviously, you and I have had different experiences with Notaires… the ones I know do far more than that… very knowledgeable and, in the main, very competent. :zipper_mouth_face:

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This is all great advice - thank you very much. It has given be a kick up the butt I needed. I am in touch with a French Lawyer (who can’t speak to me until I get some deeds!) but I think like John says, a bit of independent advice from her asap and then engage a notaire with a good idea of what my best option is would be the best way forwards.

Ben… you don’t mention where you wife enters into this… surely she is the one who needs to get the deeds since the property is in her name…

If you are not in good communications with her… this might be the time to build a few bridges…

You have been very lucky then!

If you need a recommendation please message me !

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not always… :upside_down_face:

In the main, it seems that most Notaires around here do have a good reputation. But there’s a certain gentleman I had dealings with last year, (he was not my choice, I was there just to be the fly on the wall)… First and last time of meeting… I found him to be appalling and will never use him or recommend him to anyone…

Stella, I don’t have a poor opinion of notaires, I have a realistic one. When my wife died suddenly our Notaire was a rock and spent a lot of time doing the complicated two jurisdiction succession. He was fair and helped to minimised the tax impact.

However, I’m shrewd enough to realise that not all notaires are equal. I’ve heard reports of some very slipshod and lazy notaires and if one was unfortunate enough to encounter one, undoing any damage would be very challangingfor a “foreigner”.

Ben needs to understand that a notaire is not a solictor. A notaire is not acting solely in your interest. That’s why only one notaire is required for both parties in a property transaction. The notaire’s primary role is to collect tax, of course they do a lot more than that (and get very well paid for it) but that’s their primary role.

You’re very well integrated in your community and obviousy know your local notaire well and that’s great. I’m not sure Ben is in the same situation, which is why I advised him to seek independent advice before throwimg himself on the tender mercies of a stranger. Hence “seller beware”.

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I think anyone can pop into the cadastre office and request a printout Stella. I did it for a friend of mine not too long ago. I don’t think I needed any authorisation or anything from him. It’s a matter of public record. As I said above, in France “the deeds” are not the same as “the deeds” in the UK when it comes to proving ownership.

Ah… it’s obvious we are talking about 2 different things.

If that is all he wants, I am left wondering why Ben’s French Lawyer does not get a copy of the cadastrale… as you suggest, it’s not difficult… :roll_eyes: :roll_eyes: