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Where do I stand?

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14 Oct 12 #360936 by willjesquire
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I have only just registered with Wikivorce so I haven''t had time to really look through it all. I''m hoping someone might be able to offer me some good clear advice? I am currently going through a separation with my partner. The property we live in I have lived in on and off for the past 30 years. My parents bought it in 1983 and when my mother died in 1997 I inherited it. In 2006 my girlfriend moved in. Then in 2007 we had a child and we also got a better mortgage deal in joint names. We have both contributed equal amounts to mortgage and household payments since Feb ''07. Recent valuations show that the property price is pretty much the same now as it was when she moved in. We are unmarried but have decided to separate. Due to it being my family home before she moved in I would like to keep it and allow my son to remain there too. I would like us to have our son on a equal amount of days each week. I was interested to know if I was in a good position to do these things and what my partner could be legally entitled to? Any advice you can give would be greatly received as I have been unable to find advice for these particular circumstances. I look forward to hearing from you. Kind regards, Jamie.

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15 Oct 12 #361017 by .Charles
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Not being married your partner has no automatic right to the property. However, her contributions to the mortgage are likely to be taken into account so she is likely to have a financial interest in the property. You say the the value of the property remains the same but the mortgage must have been reduced or was this ''interest only''?

Your common intentions are also relevant. You both intended to make a home for your son and to share finances. Does the property remain in your sole name or was this transferred into joint names?

The complicating factor is your child. Under the Children Act 1989 it is possible to apply for a property adjustment order which would allow your partner to apply for the property to be transferred to her until the child turns 18 or completes his education.

Alternatively, your partner could apply for a lump sum order which you would pay to her possibly as a deposit on a property for her and your son - you would usually have a legal charge on that property which could be redeemed as when your son reaches 18 or completes education.

All of this is based on the assumption that your partner has residence of your son.

You have said that your son will stay with you, intimating that your partner goes elsewhere to live until she is in a position to share child care needs. If you have agreed this course of action that''s great, but if it is indeed an assumption, you need to clarify the position before making plans.

Charles

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18 Oct 12 #361578 by willjesquire
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Hello Charles.
Thank you for you advice. The mortgage is on a repayment basis and has reduce by just over £5,000 since we got it in joint names. I had owned the house in my name for about 10 years before she moved in. We added both our names to the mortgage in Feb 2008 when we were looking for a better mortgage deal and to get some extra funds to do up the house. I wasn''t aware at the time that this might effect the ownership of the house. It has been in my family since 1983. I am now aware that she is expected to get at least half it''s value if sold. She has also claimed that she wants to be our sons main carer. We are still talking this through with Relate. What I need to find the answers to are: If the house has been in my family for nearly 30 years, of which I was soul owner when she moved in, does now being on the mortgage entitle her to half it''s value? What we her percentage be of it''s value? I''ve been told it should be proportionate to what she has paid in. We have paid around £10,000 each towards the mortgage since it has been in joint names. The property has been valued at £225,000. Would she be entitled to half that value from just a £10,000 investment? I would offer to pay her back what she has put into the property, but I get the impression from what she has said that she is expecting considerably more. If she wants more I will only be able to pay her if the house is sold. My other concern is if I try to retain the larger percentage of the value that would be proportionate to the length of time I''ve lived here, then she might look at getting me out so she can stay here with my son until he''s 18. Could she force me to leave? I would appreciate any advice you could give me at the moment. Thank you.

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18 Oct 12 #361630 by .Charles
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The first thing you need to do is obtain a Office Copy Entries from the land registry. This document will tell you who are the registered owners of the property.

If the property was transferred into joint names this will give you each an equal share in the property. The transfer is unlikely to have been carried out without the aid of a solicitor or Licensed conveyancer who would/should have explained the ramifications of transferring into joint names. If not, there may be a claim for negligence.

But let''s not get ahead of ourselves - you need to find out who actually owns the property from the Land Registry''s point of view. Unfortunately my gut feeling is that the property will be held in joint names as a mortgagor would be unlikely to add your estranged partner to the mortgage without her having some kind of beneficial interest in the property.

You should be able to pay for office copy entries for around £4 from the LR website: www.landregistry.gov.uk/public/faqs/how-...rty-or-piece-of-land

Charles

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19 Oct 12 #361807 by willjesquire
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Hello Charles. I looked into the info at Land Registry and it had both our names as registered owners. There was no percentage of who owned how much or anything like that, nor did the version they e-mailed me have details of who owned it before. The value stated was also blank. Surely the deeds should also include details of previous owners, the copy I was sent did not? We had my partners name joined to the mortgage when we changed lender through a financial advisor who didn''t state that this would give her ownership of half the property. Would the fact that I owned the house before her name was put on the mortgage be taken into consideration at all? It seems a fantastic return to have paid £10,000 towards a mortgage then walk away with about £100,000 only 5 years later! It doesn''t sound very fair.

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19 Oct 12 #361825 by .Charles
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Unfortunately the law is quite clear - if the property is held in joint names, the ownership of the property is equal.

If you wish the properties to be held in unequal shares the property is held as tenants in common with the percentage shares specified.

If the advice you received from the financial adviser is as you say, the adviser may be negligent in which case you may be able to pursue him for any loss that you suffer.

Did the financial adviser see you and your partner together or just you on your own?

Charles

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19 Oct 12 #361840 by willjesquire
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Thank you Charles. It is all very useful information, even if it is really disappointing. I don''t know if the property is held as Tenants in Common or not. There is nothing about this on the Land Registry document. The finacial Adviser spoke to use both and always just about the mortgage. I was always under the impression that the mortgage would be in joint names but the property would remain in my name. We never discussed ownership or percentages of ownership at all. It is only since we have separated that I have looked into this and have found out both our names are on the deeds. Could the property not be considered a possession that I bought and owned before we started cohabiting? It seems so unfair. She was renting before this and has literally moved in, paid a small amount towards the mortgage and walks away with ten times that much! Would a court not consider the circumstances at all?

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