Oct 14, 2008

Dividing Property Equally: Don't Try This at Home

A recently-divorced couple in Cambodia decided to equally split their house -- literally. The husband came with relatives and sawed it in half, carting his share (mostly debris) away.

Fortunately, in the United States, you can avoid any such extremes even if you buy a property with someone and later decide to part ways. If you decide to buy jointly -- even if it's not with a spouse or significant other -- you can each own different percentages of the property if you hold title as tenants in common. You don't own any particular portion of the property, though, so if you want to have the right to separately use a particular portion (the upstairs unit, for example), you'll have to create a separate ownership agreement to address that.

And if you want to sell your interest, you can. But you can't saw the property in half.

Alayna Schroeder