Definition of "Voluntary alienation"

Cory Ehlert real estate agent

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Cory Ehlertelite badge icon

Keller Williams

The definition of voluntary alienation in real estate is the transfer of the residency rights or deed of a property between two parties without the use of extraneous legal measures. Unlike involuntary alienation, when voluntary alienation occurs, it usually does so peacefully, without contention between the interested parties; hence the distinction between the two. 


Due to the wide breadth of this term, many actions in real estate can carry this moniker. A home sale, a relocation upon the termination of a rent contract, and gifting of property to a friend or relative all can be defined as voluntary alienation. To better understand the term, let’s look at an example of voluntary alienation in real estate. 


Example of Voluntary Alienation in Real Estate 


Axel is a middle-aged family man working in middle management at an insurance firm. In the sixteen years since he married his high school sweetheart, Axel has had two kids, worked his way up several rungs of the corporate ladder and now owns a respectable bungalow in a nice, quiet suburb. 


However all is not well here; over the years, the emotional distance between Axel and his wife has grown, and they have become less and less functional as both parents and partners. One night, their relationship reaches its tipping point. While laying in bed watching TV, Axel and his wife turn to one another, and simultaneously blurt out: “I want a divorce”. 


In order to spare their children the turmoil that accompanies a rough and messy divorce, the pair agree on a no-contest parting arrangement. Axel will take 50 percent of their assets and move to a smaller, more affordable dwelling place in the city, and his wife and the children will remain at the house in which they currently reside. 

As the deed is in Axel’s name, he will need to voluntarily alienate himself from the property, transferring ownership of it to his wife and putting the deed in her name.


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