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Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.
May I clarify this is an unmarried couple we are looking at please?
Yes. Here are some further background details that may be of help:
Here is my question and background details:
I have been living with my girlfriend for 3+ years in my house, which is fully owned by me (and was fully paid for prior to her moving in). She owns a seperate property exclusively in her name, which she is currently renting out.
We have no shared bank accounts and no dependants. She pays for some of the bills i.e. gas, electricity and water, along with a partial contribution to the phone bill and half the food bill.
I pay for maintenance/repair bills on my property and she does the same on hers.
If we were to seperate would she have a claim to any of my assets?
Thanks. Do you have any children together? I presume not from what you say regarding dependents?
That's right, there are no dependants
Thanks. on that basis, if you were to part company, on what you say above, neither of you would have a claim to each others respective properties. in order to lay claim to your property, your girlfriend would need to be able to demonstrate that she has made capital contributions towards it, for example by making capital repayments towards the mortgage or paying for improvements. paying towards outgoings in the form of bills does not provide her with any financial stake in the property. Precisely the same is true in reverse in respect of you as regards XXXXX XXXXX property
because your girlfriend lives with you in your property, if you were to split up, she's entitled to reasonable notice to leave from you. She may be able to obtain an occupation order to provide her with enough time to find alternative property which may give her the right to remain in your property for several months so far as is reasonable for her to obtain alternative accommodation. Beyond this her rights would be limited as above
Is there any basis for claiming against any other assets other than respective properties?
the position would change if you were to have children together whereby she would be able to claim reasonable maintenance from you which may include the right to live in your property for the benefit of the child however on the basis that she owns her own property, this risk is reduced
other than your respective properties, each of you will own the items you have personally purchased in terms of things in the home such as furniture, TV etc. it can often be difficult practically to ascertain who purchased what item in the event of a break up as it is rare for couples to retain receipts and evidence of purchase comprehensively. In practice it is a question of the parties agreeing with each other which items belonged to whom and if agreement cannot be reached, it is a question of one-party applying to the County court for an order as to division of assets where a judge must often make a decision based upon who he believes or failing which what he believes is fair
Thanks Joshua. One of the reasons for my last question was that I have a significant amount of savings. I assume from your previous answer that, as we currently stand (with no children) there would be no claim on savings?
if you wish to minimise the potential for disputing respective ownership of individual possessions, it is wise to keep evidence of proof of purchase. If many of your purchases are made online, it can often be easy enough to track down evidence via emails and so on however if purchases are made in shops, it can be more difficult though reviewing bank statements and credit card bills can produce evidence required. in many cases, couples will simply be able to agree between them how such possessions are to be divided
with regards XXXXX XXXXX savings, providing these are not in a joint account but are maintained in account in your sole name, once again on the above basis, your girlfriend would have no claim to the same. if they were maintained in a joint account, there is a starting presumption of 50-50 ownership but this can be shifted. However, in order to be safe, it is best to maintain such savings in an account in your sole name
Is there anything above I can clarify for you?
Hi Joshua - can you just be specific regarding the question on savings.
Certainly. What may I clarify on this front?
I have a significant amount of savings. I assume from your previous answer that, as we currently stand (with no children) there would be no claim on savings?
I hope you have been able to read my above post on this. I will repost it below:
with regards XXXXX XXXXX savings, providing these are not in a joint account but are maintained in account in your sole name, once again on the above basis, your girlfriend would have no claim to the same. if they were maintained in a joint account, there is a starting presumption of 50-50 ownership but this can be shifted. However, in order to be safe, it is best to maintain such savings in an account in your sole name.
For the avoidance of any doubt, on the basis you have no children and are unmarried, your girlfriend would have no claim upon savings maintained in a soul account in your name
is there anything else I can help you with?
Hi Joshua. Many thanks for clarifying that point. That answers all of my questions.
A pleasure. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do not hesitate to revert to me though hopefully none of the above will ever be an issue for you.
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Will do. Thanks again for your help. I will complete the rating now.