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Clare, Family Solicitor
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 35054
Experience:  I have been a solicitor in High Street Practise since 1985 and have specialised in Family Law for the last 10 years
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My sister is separated from her husband (two years) and will

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My sister is separated from her husband (two years) and will be renting a house I've bought. If we open a joint account for bills/expenses etc, will her ex have a claim on this if/when they divorce, or potentially have a claim the property if she contributes towards it?
Thank you for your question.
My name is Clare
I will do my best to help you but I need some further information first.
Will the bills include the mortgage?
Is there any reason why it has to be a joint account?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


The mortgage will still go out of my own personal account but she would pay rent into the joint account, which I will then draw on.

The reason for the joint account is that the accountant recommended it - for transparency so we can both see what we are putting in and how we are contributing to the property over the long term.

He recommended this approach because at some point in the future, I would like to give her a percentage of the house. This lets us track the figures more easily on who is spending what on improvements and renovations each year.

A future divorce is not going to be easy to agree regarding a financial split, so I want to check if this would expose me to any claims from her ex. I had thought that since the property and her rental income has no root in the marriage that he could not claim - but my conveyancing solicitor has raised a doubt about this.

Until the divorce is over it should be utterly clear that this is your property and she has no interest in it.
On that basis she shoudl pay rent and you shoudl pay the bills.
A joint account would have to be disclosed within the divorce proceedings and it could cause confusion.
You can revisit the joint account proposal when there has a been a final order within the Divorce proceedings
Please ask if you need further details
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Could you clarify 'cause confusion' - do you mean there is a good chance he could claim not just on the funds in the account (which are likely to be minimal as a bills accounts) but on the house itself?

And if so, does that mean that any non-marital assets gained after they separated would be considered in a divorce settlement?


Any assets held by either party at the time of the final court hearing can be considered by the court.
Assets acquired after separation are usually left alone - but they do not have to be - and the fact that your sister has this potential claim could mean that she receives a lesser settlement than she otherwise would have done
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