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Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33283
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practice since 1985 with a wide general experience.
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I have been with my partner (unmarrried)since 1989 - for 25

Customer Question

I have been with my partner (unmarrried)since 1989 - for 25 years. We each owned property separately until 1989 (although my partner lived with me in my property from 1989 - 1999). By then we had three children and so we sold both properties and moved to a bigger house.

We were advised at the time that we could borrow more money in my partner's name alone ( I do not recall the reason) so we did. I put all my capital into the house on purchase.

We have been running a business together for the same period of time as a partnership (no formal contract between us).

All bills including mortgage have been paid from our joint account to which we have contributed equally over the years.

In 2002 we wrote wills to protect each other and the children in the event of a death, however we have never married - my partner's choice.

My partner and I are now sadly splitting and it appears that I have been very naive.

The property mortgage is in his name and I have been told that I may not be simply added to the title deeds - indeed deeds do not exist anymore. Is this correct?

Can he kick me out, or sell the house from beneath me?

Am I completely without rights?

How do I protect myself and 25 years' worth of investment in my home?

We have(he has) a 240,000 mortgage on the house. It is currently valued at around 600,000.

He also wishes to end our business partnership. I have tried to assist by going out and getting a full time position elsewhere whilst still supporting the business and running the home for the last 6 months so that we would have more income to aid the financial pressure of splitting - yet this has also backfired as he has decided that he doesn't need me as a partner and now he has offered me just 20,000 to buy my interest in the partnership or he will fold the business and start again on his own. He is a locksmith and I did the sales, admiin, accounts etc..

My children are aged 12, 15 18 and 18. I do not want to disrupt their lives too much and have suggested we share the care - we each move out a week in turn so that they continue in the same environment for the next 4 -5 years. Moving to two much smaller house would impact on them quite significantly.

Thank you for any advice you can offer - particularly with regard to my long term financial rights to property and business, if any.

Nicola
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Thank you for your question
I shall do my best to assist you but I need some further information first.
At the time of the purchase did you protect your investment with a Declaration of Trust?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No, I remember signing documents in relation to sale and purchase at the solicitors and thought the property was in joint names but was told recently that as I wasn't on the new mortgage that was not the case. The solicitor I used was debarred a few years later.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
I have to ask - do you beleive that this rotating arrangement is realistic
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It is unusual but financially, if we sell now the equity plus viable mortgage in current climate would give us a three bed house max. At the moment we have a five bed house with all for children living at home. We can stay away every other week in a rented room or with parents and they retain maximum stability. 4-5 years time the dynamics and needs will have changed and we can sell. However I am afraid to leave if that weakens my v claim on my home

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Ok - how much of your capital went into the property?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

We bought for 245, 000. I put about 30, 000 in. My partner put about 25, 000 in. The mortgage then was 190, 000. We remortgaged to extend thehouse in 2004.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Has he always publically said that it was a joint purchase?
Claire
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yes he has and still does at the moment. We have life policies in place to cover us equally for mortgage liability as well as caring for the children in event of death, and a will done in 2002 where we name each other as beneficiaries. Our personal account is joint. Some of the utility bills are in my name.

Expert:  Clare replied 3 years ago.
Hi
If he has always publicly confirmed that you are a joint owner then there should be no difficulty in establishing your claim in court if your ex attempts to renege on the agreement.
If you wish to be added to the Title deeds then you would also need to be added to the mortgage which may be expensive.
As an alternative (and this should have been suggested at the time of purchase) a Declaration of Trust can be drawn up confirming that the property is held by your ex on behalf of you both.
If he will not do this then you will have to apply to the court under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act for a Declaration of your interest in the property.
With regard to the business you have not said what the value of the business is - but since from what you say the business is essentially your partner in person it woudl be difficult to see how your share could be worth more than he has offered.
I will be honest and say that I am far from certain that your proposals are realistic - but if you both agree then that is all that is required - and you can discuss matters with your ex using Family mediation (www.familymediationhelpline.co.uk) to help reach an agreement on the financial issues
I hope that this helps
Claire

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