Thank you for your response.
Please accept my apologies for not being able to respond to you sooner.
What you need to know is that as an unmarried couple then he can only make a claim in relation to the property under the Trust of Land Act,
To make such a claim he would need to do any of the following:
1) pay a deposit, or
2) pay the mortgage, or
3) add value through renovation.
I note that you have stated that he is paying towards the mortgage. If they split up and remain unmarried then he could try and make a claim under the Trust of Land Act for a declaration as to his interest in the property. This will be limited to the amount he has paid less the benefit he has had from residing there so this may not be very much if they were only together a short time.
At this point they may want to consider a cohabitation agreement setting out the position in relation to the equity and the position moving forward. A local solicitor can prepare such an agreement for circa £300.
If marriage happens in the future then they were to later divorce then the house along with all other assets for both of them would be considered as matrimonial assets no matter whose name they are in. If it was a long marriage then the starting point for the division of assets would be equality.
In reality, if the child/ren were still minors and there was not enough equity to rehouse the children and downsize then a court would likely order that the house not be sold and his share realised until the child/ren are no longer minors.
Your daughter could also argue that the house was a premarital asset. There are no set rules in this regard and the court has a wide discretion. Basically a court can set aside a premarital asset if there was sufficient other assets to meet needs but if there was not then a court could choose not too.
The other option before a marriage is a pre nuptial agreement.
You need to know that such agreements are not legally binding on any future family court Judge that may be deciding the issue of the matrimonial finances pursuant to an application for divorce.
That being said, Judges can and will follow was what previously agreed in such an agreement if the following are met:
- there was full and frank disclosure of all the assets and liabilities
- each party had independent legal advice and entered the agreement freely
- the Judge thought the agreement was fair.
The last ground is somewhat ambiguous but this is going to depend on the circumstances at the time, such as say for example if one of the parties was ill or say if the marriage was a really long one.
I hope that this helps you. If I can assist you further then please do not hesitate to ask
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