Co-ownership means that the thing is owned by several persons without being actually divided. Joint ownership (resp. co-ownership) arises from the same legal facts as the right to property, ie. under the contract, by inheritance, by a decision of the state authority or under other legal information.
Shared ownership in Slovakia is ownership relationship of several persons on the same thing. Each of joint owners has a share of the thing. Under § 137 sec. 1 of the Civil Code share reflects the rate at which the co-owners are involved in the rights and obligations arising from ownership of the common thing. If it is not agreed amount of the share by the co-owners, the shares of all co-owners are the same. Each of the co-owners involves in the rights and obligations arising from ownership to the extent which corresponds to the size of his share.
There are two possible ways how to cancel and settle shared ownership – by agreement and the court decision.
Ideal is the settlement of shared ownership by agreement. At any time during the term of the ownership the co-owners may agree on its cancellation and settlement. In the case of the settlement of the ownership of a share of the property, the agreement must be in written form and registered at the Real Estate Cadastre. For movables written form is not statutory, but each of joint owners is obliged to issue the other on request written confirmation of how they reached the settlement if an agreement on the revocation of ownership and mutual settlement was not made in written form.
If there is not reached agreement between the co-owners, the court will decide on the request of any of them. In shared ownership it is necessary to mention by the law limited contractual freedom to transfer co-ownership share in favor of the other co-owners. If a co-owner wishes to transfer his share to a third party, he must first offer share for purchase to all other co-owners, under the same conditions as he would sell his share to a third party – ie. pre-emption.
Undivided co-ownership in Slovakia may arise only between spouses. Our law regulates the three basic forms of settlement of undivided co-ownership of spouses (UCOS). The settlement of property between spouses may be by agreement of the spouses, the court decsion or settlement of UCOS by operation of law.
The most ideal way is the settlement of UCOS by agreement. The agreement of the spouses on the settlement of UCOS must apply to all assets and all the things that belonged to UCOS. Otherwise, one of the spouses may claim through the court that the court shall settle yet unsettled property. In that case, the court ruled on the entire property and the agreement of the spouses would thus become invalid. The written form of the agreement on the settlement of UCOS is required by law only in the case of real estate.
The settlement should be done within three years after the termination of marriage since in the case of expiry of this period there is a settlement of UCOS directly by operation of law. If, within three years after the termination of undivided co-ownership of spouses there has not been the settlement by agreement or if undivided co-ownership of spouses was not on application made within three years after its termination has not been settled by the court decision, the following applies:
- in terms of movable property that the spouses reached settlement by the state in which each of them use things out of the undivided co-ownership of spouses for their need, their families and households solely as owner
- in respect of other movable property and real estate applies that they are in joint co-ownership and the shares of both co-owners are the same. The same applies adequately of other property rights which are common for spouses.