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buying someone out of a house

In our FAQ series, our solicitors advise a sibling who could be forced to get involved in a messy divorce case.

Q:

My sister and I were given our family’s holiday villa in France after our parents divorced around 20 years ago. It was intended to be used by our friends and family.

Now, my sister is in the process of getting divorced and it’s proving highly acrimonious. Because I inherited the house with my sibling, she tells me that the property is at risk of getting sold as a result and that I need to seek legal advice of my own. Of course, I don’t want to lose my parents’ villa but I’m also extremely wary of getting involved in her divorce or spending any money.

Can you buy out siblings from an inherited house? What should my next step be?

A:

Unfortunately, it’s relatively common for siblings and other family members to get dragged into marital disputes when shared property gets threatened. 

When a property’s future ownership appears unclear, other third parties are often invited to join what’s known as financial remedy proceedings.

Things to Consider When Considering Selling an Inherited Property


There are other factors that should be considered before looking to sell the property during property proceedings:

•    Whether other resources are available
•    Whether specific assets can be set off against each other
•    The length of the marriage
•    Whether any pre-nuptial agreements have been signed

However, if other options have been exercised and a sale is the only course of action, you’ll have to involve yourself in the process or potentially lose your share.

You could look into buying your sister’s share so that the property remains in the family. Presuming you have the money, buying someone out of a house is relatively simple.

If possible, it’s recommended to contact your sister’s divorce solicitor, if she has one, who will be able to offer an unbiased analysis of the situation. They will also be able to show you any court orders that obligate you to get involved.

Once you know exactly what’s happening, you can decide whether getting your own legal representation would be beneficial.

Talk to Howells About Family Law

At Howells Solicitors we specialise in all aspects of family law. For more information about the services we offer, visit our family law page today or speak to our expert solicitors today on 02920 404014.

(Image: Martin Robson under CC BY-SA 2.0)

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