Legal Question in Real Estate Law in France

Joint ownership of apartment, non married couple

Relationship has ended, but still co-owners of apartment. What is law regarding disposal of property? I want out of it, he does not want to pay me for my part of the ownership. What can I do?

Asked on 1/05/09, 8:32 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: Joint ownership of apartment, non married couple

The information you supplied LawGuru with your question suggests that the law of France would apply. If the apartment you co-own is in France, French law would indeed apply, and you would need an answer from an attorney educated in the system of law in use there, which is quite different from the system of laws know as "Common Law" and used in England and its former colonies as well as American states (except Louisiana) that were never under English rule, such as California.

If California law applied, you would be entitled to file a special kind of lawsuit, called a partition, asking the court to order a sale and equitable division of the net proceeds of sale.

A California court cannot order a buy-out of one co-owner by the other. However, when a partition suit is filed, the reluctant co-owner often comes to the bargaining table rather than defending the suit, so the matter can be settled out of court and before trial.

I doubt that LawGuru has many participating lawyers who know the "Code Napoleon" and other aspects of the Roman-origin "Civil Law" used in France and many other nations of the European Continent. You might ask the Consulate of France in Los Angeles for referrals.

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1/05/09, 9:53 pm
Ronald Sokol Sokol Law Offices
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Re: Joint ownership of apartment, non married couple

If the real property is located in France and if you are both on the title of the property, then you can force the sale. Article 815 of the Civil Code provides that no person can be compelled to share ownership. Normally the co-owner will agree to sell because a forced sale at auction will always bring less money. However, it may be necessary to begin the forced sale process before the co-owner agrees to cooperate.

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1/06/09, 6:44 am

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