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Ask JGM Your Own Question
JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11132
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My ex-partner and I (engaged but unmarried) lived in a property

Customer Question

My ex-partner and I (engaged but unmarried) lived in a property together for 7 years and the deeds were solely in his name (although I contributed and we co-habited for almost all the time he owned the property). We used the proceeds of the sale for a deposit on a new property which we puchased in joint names in January 2012. Approx £15k from the proceeds of the previous property sale were used to part fund required rennovations. We seperated in June 2013 and I am currently sole resident in the property, although we are both still contributing to the bills. I have received a letter from his solicitor stating that he wants the 'majority of the proceeds from the sale' citing that the deposit was paid from the proceed of his previous property and he paid a substantial amount towards rennovations (although I have contributed to the works and mortgage too). I would like to know where I stand legally on this. Does he have a right to more than half of the proceeds?

Thanks in advance.

MG
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

As regards the first property did you contribute to the purchase of it initially? What were your respective contributions to the purchase?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for getting back to me. No, my ex purchased the property a few months before we met. He put down a £12k deposit on a £72k flat. We sold it 7 years later for £126k. For the first 2 yrs I stayed there in was in full time employment and from what I recall I paid him a set amount each month to contribute to the usual household costs. I was a student for the subsequent 4 yrs so I paid less in but we were in agreement that I went to university and he was happy to pay the majority of the bills then. I still contributed as much as possible and paid for all the supermarket shopping and fuel out of my own wages.
Expert:  JGM replied 3 years ago.
He is likely to be entitled to more than half of the proceeds under the doctrine of unjust enrichment. When you separated the law presumes that it was not intended that you should be enriched by the amount that he contributed to the second property.

A calculation may have to be made as to credit you for your contribution to the property. You are entitled to have your own contribution taken into account.

Depending on whether you have suffered a financial disadvantage to your ex partner's advantage or in the interests of any children you may have a claim under section 28 of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 2006. That may affect the respective interests in the house.

The particular legislation is:

"28 † Financial provision where cohabitation ends otherwise than by death
(1)† Subsection (2) applies where cohabitants cease to cohabit otherwise than by reason of the death
of one (or both) of them.
(2)† On the application of a cohabitant (the applicant), the appropriate court may, after having
regard to the matters mentioned in subsection (3)
(a) † make an order requiring the other cohabitant (the defender) to pay a capital sum of
an amount specified in the order to the applicant;
(b) † make an order requiring the defender to pay such amount as may be specified in the
order in respect of any economic burden of caring, after the end of the cohabitation, for a
child of whom the cohabitants are the parents;
(c) † make such interim order as it thinks fit.
(3)† Those matters are
(a) † whether (and, if so, to what extent) the defender has derived economic advantage from
contributions made by the applicant; and
(b) † whether (and, if so, to what extent) the applicant has suffered economic disadvantage
in the interests of
(i) † the defender; or
(ii) † any relevant child.
(4)† In considering whether to make an order under subsection (2)(a), the appropriate court shall
have regard to the matters mentioned in subsections (5) and (6).
(5)† The first matter is the extent to which any economic advantage derived by the defender from
contributions made by the applicant is offset by any economic disadvantage suffered by the defender
in the interests of
(a) † the applicant; or
(b) † any relevant child.
(6)† The second matter is the extent to which any economic disadvantage suffered by the applicant
in the interests of
(a) † the defender; or
(b) † any relevant child,
is offset by any economic advantage the applicant has derived from contributions made by the
defender."

Such a claim has to be made within a year of separation. You should give a full statement to a solicitor so that you can assess whether its worth raising court action for a capital payment under section 28.

Happy to discuss further.