Kody and Christine Brown’s split is getting financially dicey on Sister Wives — but it appears that Christine is on solid legal footing when it comes to keeping the proceeds from the sale of her Arizona house.
Kody and Christine announced that they had called it quits in November 2021, after a 25-year spiritual marriage. Kody, 53, remains spiritually tied to Janelle Brown, 53, and Meri Brown, 51, and legally married to Robyn, 43. Kody and Christine share six children, Aspyn, Mykelti, Paedon, Gwendlyn, Ysabel, and Truely.
Season 17 of the long-running TLC show began documenting the plot twist after Christine, 51, declared that she would be leaving Kody and the Brown family to start a new life with her daughter, Truely, 12, in Utah.
The most recent episode touched on some logistical challenges of the pair’s breakup, including how they planned to handle the sale of Christine’s Arizona house.
“With Christine wanting to move there is this big question of, ‘What do we do with the house?’” Kody told a producer.
Kody said to his ex—”We have to have an agreement in place.”
Christine made her position clear in a confessional spot, remarking — “If I am going to sell my house, I won’t be giving him any of the money.”
Matthew Taylor, a partner at Stowe Family Law, weighed in on the unusual situation, pointing out that the duo’s marriage would “not be legally recognized” in the United Kingdom, where his firm is located. The United States holds similarly minimal legal protections for unmarried, cohabitating couples. Individuals in such relationships retain individual assets without regard to either party’s financial status, upon separation.
Taylor told Newsweek—“In the absence of a legal marriage or civil partnership, there is no automatic entitlement to any financial claims as a result of the relationship. Instead, the parties would have the same minimal legal protection as a cohabiting couple.”
The lawyer explained that the only financial claims from such breakups relate to children from the relationship and/or property interests.
“In the case of any property, any rights will depend on ownership. Unlike following a divorce, the family home cannot be divided based on fairness or by a marital entitlement, but instead, property disputes will depend on complex trust and land law,” he said.
Taylor added that a potential claim could be made against the person who owns the property, but some sort of agreement must be in place.
“These are complex claims that are heavily fact-specific and depend on both parties’ interpretation of what their intention was regarding ownership of the property,” the attorney explained. “When assessing these claims, the court will examine the parties’ entire course of dealing with the property—including who has paid the mortgage, who has funded renovations, etc.”
He added that a cohabitation agreement would protect individuals in a spiritual marriage.
“For any property, a declaration of trust can be used to confirm the proportions of ownership between the couple and how the equity would be split,” he said. “It is also highly recommended to make a valid Will, as unmarried cohabitees do not inherit under the rules of intestacy under English law.”
Us Weekly reported in August that Christine had sold her plot of land on Coyote Pass, the family property frequently featured on the show, to Kody and Robyn for $10. The transaction was technically recorded as a deed of gift.
Sister Wives airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TLC.
Nancy Zhāng is an Entertainment Blogger for All About The Tea. Nancy covers hot topics, recaps and celeb news. She loves to multi-task as a writer and a private chef. She received a B.S. in Mass Communications from LSU. Nancy’s married and the proud mom of 2 German Shepherds.