In Kim-Kanye split, how can Kim own the land and Kanye the house?

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2021 | Divorce

At this point, most of us have heard the big news from Tuesday night, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are heading for divorce. This is sad, but not entirely, unexpected news. Though, some may have noticed that their primary residence is not owned jointly by Kim and Kanye, which could prove problematic in their subsequent property division process.

Bifurcated property

In this case, Page Six reported that Kim owns the land under their Calabasas house, as well as the surrounding properties, but Kanye owns the home itself and all improvements. Though, reportedly, both Kim and Kanye have spent a lot of money remodeling and updating the property and grounds. Even though the divorce has not officially begun, Kim is asking Kanye convey the home to her because the home is where their children have been raised, and it is where they are based.

Is this common?

For high net-worth individuals, including celebrities, these kinds of property schemes are actually quite common. From the nature of having significant assets, one has to protect them from taxes, debts, credits and for the benefit of their heirs. This type of structure could be the result for three general reasons.

First, it could just be a result of separate purchases. Specifically, that Kim originally purchased the property, and it was Kanye that paid to have it built.

Second, it could be a land-lease. This would mean that Kanye is essentially renting the land, but retaining ownership of any structures, like homes, and improvements, like pools, clubhouses, etc. This would mean that Kanye would pay rent to Kim.

Finally, and most likely, is that this bifurcation is part of some kind of living trust arraignment. This means that the land and/or the house is transferred into the living trust, which is administered by someone other than Kim/Kanye for their individual or separate benefit.

Property division

This is all important to La Grange, Kentucky, residents with a lot of assets because they will need to understand how these complicated legal instruments can be unraveled and reformed in the property division process in a divorce. Unfortunately, for those splitting that are high-asset individuals, an attorney, along with other professionals, like CPAs, etc., will likely be needed.