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Lisa Lawyer
Lisa Lawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 105
Experience:  Qualified solicitor
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I need advice on buying a house. Both myself and partner

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I need advice on buying a house. Both myself and partner left our marriages 3 years ago. Both our exes live in housing association homes, which we left them with and only took our clothes with us. They kept house and everything in it. My question is can myself and partner buy a house as we are not divorced yet. Our exes will not consent to divorce for another 1 year 10 months, making us wait the 5 years as in English law.
Assistant: What steps have you taken? Have you filed any papers in family court?
Customer: No, we have no dependents either
Assistant: Family Court normally sits in a local County and Magistrates' Court. Do you know the location of the court? If not, what county do you live in?
Customer: I know we have to ask Southend court for divorce papers if we apply ourselves.
Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: I do not want a share of husbands pension and vice versa but my partners wife wants any money she can from pension. Plus he overpaid maintainance by nearly double for 2 years 10 months. He also took all their joint debts and she wanted all their savings which could have been a substantial amount. Thankyou

Hello and thank you for your question. My name is Lisa. I am a qualified solicitor and would be happy to assist.

To answer your question, the fact that you and your partner are still married to other people will not in itself stop you from buying a house together. There is no legal reason you cannot buy one (or more!) properties together.

As an aside, you do not mention in your question whether either or both of you are registered as owners of (and/or named on the mortgage of) those properties that you have left behind. It is worth noting that, if you are, this may well have consequences in respect of the level of mortgage that you are able to secure in order to finance the purchase of a new property, since a bank will take this into account when assessing the level of affordability. (This will be the case whether or not you contribute to those previous properties or intend to make a claim to them as, legally speaking, your name is ***** ***** relevant documentation and you are therefore legally liable.) If you are, it would also affect the level of stamp duty that you will pay on the new property.

I hope that this assists. Please do reply below if you have any further questions or would like any aspect of my response clarified. If my comments are of assistance, I would be grateful if you would confirm by accepting and rating this response. This can be done by selecting one of the five stars located on the top right of the question page and enables me to gain credit for the time taken in responding to your query. Please note that rating the response will not close this question - you will still be able to post below with any further queries or comments.

Kind regards

Lisa

Customer: replied 25 days ago.
Thankyou for your quick response Lisa, as for the properties we left they are both rented and we have no mortgages in our names. But would our ex partners have any claim on our home as part of divorce settlements. Many thanks Lisa

I understand.

There are no hard and fast rules regarding division of assets on divorce and this can be a particular concern where the formal divorce follows some years after the initial separation.

However, generally the court seeks to differentiate between ‘matrimonial’ and ‘non-matrimonial’ assets. 'Matrimonial' assets are obviously those that have accrued during the marriage, 'non matrimonial' are those which did not. ‘Post-separation’ assets (such as a house that you now buy with your new partner) are likely to be considered non-matrimonial assets.

In general, only matrimonial assets usually warrant an approximately equal split. But - to answer your question -there is no guarantee that ‘non-matrimonial’ assets will not be required to be shared by a court. The extent to which they accrued because of the marriage is very relevant. For this reason, a bonus received by a husband from his work is more likely to be required to be split with his wife if a court views that success in the job has been achieved with the help and support of the wife during the marriage. On the other hand, a large inheritance, which has no connection with the marriage, is less likely to be required to be shared.

However, the key question which decides most contentious cases is whether the needs of the parties can be met without sharing any assets that were acquired after the separation. The relevance of this will obviously depend on your financial means and the likely 'needs' of your ex-partners, but if a court decides that these cannot otherwise be met, even an asset acquired by one party after the separation may well be taken into account, regardless of their source or link to the marriage.

As the law relating to this area is so complex, if you have ongoing concerns, I would strongly recommend going to discuss your personal finances and circumstances with a local solicitor. They will be able to provide specific advice on how to most effectively safeguard your position. They may advise that you each enter into a Separation Agreement with your ex-partners. This is a written document in which you and your current partner each agree with your ex-partners how the finances are to be divided. Although this is not legally binding, such agreements - particularly when properly and formally prepared - are often given due consideration by a court on dividing any assets. (Practically speaking, however, I recognise that you may decide that one of both of your ex-partners are unlikely to co-operate with this.)

I hope that this helps and am sorry I cannot give a more definitive question. As I'm sure you appreciate, much of how these principles are applied depend upon the precise circumstances of the couple in question.

Lisa Lawyer and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 25 days ago.
Thankyou for your advice. You have been a great help
Kind regards
Marie