In the event of a separation or a divorce, it is often necessary to divide up jointly-owned property, e.g. the family home or apartments. It is advisable and cost-effective to divide up the properties out of court within the framework of an ancillary relief agreement for separation and divorce. The persons involved often each own 50 percent of a property. A possible way of dividing property in this case is, for example, to sell the house if the owners are in agreement. The liabilities still associated with the property are paid from the sales revenue. If the marital partners each own half of the property they receive half of the surplus remaining after the liabilities and costs have been deducted.
Splitting the property can be considered if the property can be divided into residential units, for example in an apartment building. Each marital partner can become the sole owner of the residential units assigned to them after individual units have been assigned as part of the property splitting procedure.
If one of the marital partners takes over the property this partner becomes the sole owner. In turn, this marital partner pays out half of the surplus to the other marital partner, after the liabilities have been deducted. In this context, an important consideration is the contractual agreement of a release from liability if both marital partners have taken out a joint mortgage, as otherwise both marital partners would continue to be liable for the mortgage.
Compulsory partition of the property by public auction is the last alternative if the marital partners cannot come to an agreement. Compulsory partition by public auction incurs significant costs and is not advisable if a different solution can be found. With the compulsory partition by public auction, one of the owners can force the joint ownership to be divided up. In order to do this, compulsory partition by public auction must be petitioned at the court responsible.
Before a settlement is reached with respect to the property, it is advisable to consult a solicitor certified as a specialist in family law with regard to the legal consequences. This is because taking over a property can have legal consequences which affect maintenance claims. One must also bear in mind that possible claims on the part of one marital partner with respect to the equalisation of accrued gains are taken into account with the settlement of the property. Taking this into account can be contractually agreed within the framework of an ancillary relief agreement for divorce.