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Ask Clare Your Own Question

Clare
Clare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 33276
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 thirteen years we met in

Customer Question

I have been with my partner for nearly thirteen years we met in Australia and because I have British citizenship we came here to live he is from France. Since we have been here we have both worked and I have contributed about 90% of my monthly wage into the relationship and whilst we were renting. In 2009 we decided to buy the house that we have lived since then before the final papers were done he made me sign not sure if it was a prenup to give to his solicitor, but adding verbally to me he was going to make some sort of provision for me which I have been waiting for him to do he has not made one single effort to do this but kept telling me this as I have continued to put money into this house by putting new loft windows, painting the house, furniture, food, house keeping, gardening + working part time. Also spent my annual leave in France emptying & cleaning his mother's properties as she is in a nursing home. He has used abuse and black mail on me many,many times holding this ransom of this provision over me, we have had the house on the market and he excepted an offer on the house and the buyers excepted this by offering highest price,last week since the brexit thing has happened we got a call from the real estate agent who is handling this sale to say that the buyers were pulling out or we take a massive reduction in the sale to which he went over my head on and agreed to at the same time he also asked me to put the house back on the market in case they did this again,since he retired last march 2015 he has spent most of his time in France insisting that I do everything to which I have done! thinking it is about a partnership we have that's how this relationship has been plus he has been taking money of what very little savings I have as he says we are one & that we share! For some time now I have become unhappy with this relationship as we have been engaged for most of this time, he seperated from his ex wife in January 2003 but has not divorced her yet un be known to me he signed a document in France a few years ago to say they were still together to avoid taxes this was yet another nail in the coffin for me as I feel that if anything happens to him I will be out on the street he has brought a house in France and has a small mortgage on it and has that in his name + his two children whilst still no provision has been made for me. I rang him today as he insists that I handle his affairs re-this house negotiation with the buyers solicitors and he also put that he would include the insurances in the sale to which was a mistake made by his lack of english, I hit the roof as I have become very stressed by all of this as the house is selling well below market value and he said to me that it's not my money that it is his and that I have nothing! I would like to know what grounds I have legally as I want to leave him now as enough is enough!!
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for your question

My name is Clare

I shall do my best to help you but I need some further information first

Who actually owns the UK house and which part of the UK is it in?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
My partner it is in London south east!
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

How much have you personally spent on the property?

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
90% of my monthly wage which I have worked out to be up to about £9000 per year from my main job sometimes if I took temp work on top of working part time that would also include that wage being being donated into the household this has been going on for nearly thirteen years of our relationship. So as I said in my first statement I have put a lot into this house and the relationship now I have become fed up and unhappy with the relationship is one sided I want to leave as he is all talk about getting married, I am tired of his lies etc as nothing has happened he just will not divorce his ex wife after 14 years of being separated from her which I find very odd! His children who don't have alot to do with him but will put their opinions about us going to Australia as they see him for money and they want it! He has only got this far with my added contribution would not have been possible without it! I am not leaving with nothing I need to have something as I am to old to start again and find another full time employment back in Australia as it is hard enough here in London to find full time work as I said I have to work 2 jobs and second job is taxed higher which makes it not worth doing and I can be away from home anything up to 12 to 14 hours a day! What is my rights!
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

I appreciate all of that - but I need to know what structural alterations and improvements you paid for and how much they cost

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I put new loft windows in they cost around about £480.00 pounds. Other structural works have not taken place on the house as he did not want this but their however was a very large gazebo built by ourselves! I do not see what the point of what structural works have to do with this problem I have! In Australia and New Zealand there are laws that protect defacto relationships it has absolutely nothing to do with the monetary contribution although I will reiterate again that I have have put 90% monies into the house the shopping etc. The house is on the market I want my share so that I can leave this abusive one sided relationship, I am entitled to this so that is the legal information I am looking for! These countries are the commonwealth they are united to the UK so therefore there should be in hind sight some law that protects me from this situation I am in "Right" I would appreciate that you give me answers instead of just reviewing my emails in this situation as I think that I would be using this information in my defence as I have been refused legal aid and I cannot afford a private solicitor at this point in time without some legal information to go with.
Expert:  Clare replied 4 months ago.

I am afraid that there are no such "defacto" laws in the UK.

In the UK co-habiting partners have very very few protections whatsoever.

Where property is concerned the only claims that can be made are via property law.

Whilst the courts have stretched the boundaries as far as possible in terms of intention the fact remains that your only claim is based on any financial contribution you have made to the bricks and mortar.

Paying for the shopping and the bills does not give you a share of anything

In reality you have two possible basis of a claim.

There is the promise of "provision" which gives rise to a potential claim of "proprietary estoppel"

This essentially means that you acted to your detriment (which you clearly have) on the basis of a promise of a share in the property.

There is more about the doctrine in the article here

http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/legal-updates/probate-proprietary-estoppel/5046559.fullarticle

My concern regarding this is the ambiguous nature of the word "provision"

In addition under property law there is an Implied Trust that arises when you pay for or do work on a property that enhances its value

More details here

http://www.slatergordon.co.uk/media/388153/cohabitation.pdf

Your starting point is to try and discuss matters with him using Family Mediation

www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk

however if that is not viable then you may need to consider a court applictaion the process is described here

http://www.slatergordon.co.uk/media/2347003/land-disputes-a-guide-to-procedure.pd

fBizarrely if he dies you will be better off as the courts would then be likely to award you half of the house

Sad;y we have a long way to go to catch up with our Commonwealth cousins.

Please ask if you need further details

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