Firstly thanks in advance to anyone helping me out. I am extremely worried about a lot of issues.
I have been with my girlfriend for 7 years and we have 1 child aged 5. The house is in my name and all my savings are in my name. I bought the house before I met her and have a mortgage of £145k outstanding on a house worth £350k.
Our current account is in joint names but we have agreed that we should now have separate accounts.
I earn 3 times as much as she does, and as she works in retail she works late and weekends.
We are splitting up as she cant stop spending money and shows doesn''t take her parenting responsibilities seriously. She is out with her friends all the time lies about where she has been and has failed to come home on 3 separate occasions, with no text saying where she is.
I do everything for my daughter, take her to breakfast club and pick her up from after school club 99% of times. I take her to her parties, swimming, cinema 80% of the time on my own.
When I don''t my parents pick her up and look after her. They are both due to retire soon.
She has no family in this country.
My main concern if we split up is my daughter. My girlfriend has in the past agreed that she should stay with me as I have much the better relationship with her but subsequently is now saying she will fight for her, perhaps as she know she may have a greater financial argument this way.
I don''t want to lose my daughter and would like to know what the courts would look at in assessing the best outcome for my daughter.
My secondary concern is about the savings. They are paid from a joint account admittedly but she has had a substantial amount from this already which she has spent on cosmetic surgery, holidays that we have all enjoyed and other bits and pieces. I have £20k saved - £10k is my daughters that I am in the process of transferring into a savings account for her. I also had £13k lump some from a savings scheme I started when I left school. How do the courts view this type of thing? Do they go through all the transactions since we have been together ?
As you''re unmarried, the default position is that each of you would leave with the assets that are in your names. This is particularly relevant for the savings. If savings are in joint names then the reality of it is that whoever withdraws them first will probably get to keep them. If they''re in your own account, they''re yours.
If your girlfriend were to be the main carer of your child after separation then she could potentially apply under Schedule 1 of the Children Act for a financial order for the benefit of your child. This could potentially include a portion of the equity in your home.
She could also apply, regardless of who is the main carer of your child, under the Trustees Of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act (TOLATA) for a share of the house, but she would need to prove a ''beneficial interest'' in the property, which is quite difficult. This is a complex area and probably beyond most posters on this forum.
If you''re in the process of separating, or have already separated, why not look into mediation to resolve where your child lives? It needn''t be an either/or decision, as your daughter can spend a significant amount of time with each of you, maybe even 50% of the time if that suits the three of you.
One question that sticks out is where your girlfriend is from? Would she be looking at leaving the UK, and would she try to take your daughter with her if she did?