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just going through a separation

  • lou1
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16 Jun 12 #337049 by lou1
Topic started by lou1
Hi, I am just going through a separation from a man I have been with for 14 years. We have been thinking about going our separate ways for a while but only recently now are going ahead. sadly all has been somewhat complicated by my ex now jumping into relationship with another woman, as if there wasnt already enough to sort out !!. I would basically value greatly any advice anyone cn give me on where I stand financially . I am 54 with a son of 19 still living at home. When we met we both sold our houses and bought one together. I had approx £45,000 and my partner £13,000. We never married and he lived off my ex husbands maintenance payments of £500 a month and family credit for the first 8 years or so of our life together. For the last four years we have both worked and are not on any benefits and have brought in more or less the same income, though for a couple of years my partner brought in more.
We have about £70,000 equity if we are lucky in our house and two properties worth about £20,000 each in bulgaria which we intend to keep one each. Could you advise me on how the rest of the money from the sale of the house should be divided. I felt that as I had brought an extra £30,000 to the start , which had represented a great deal of hard work previously and I am 6 years older than my partner , tha maybe I should be able to regain that £30,000 difference somehow but this may well be magical thinking.!!! I also have my son living with me and possibly for a few years yet as he is trying hard to break into the field of becoming a professional triathlete and so will be working part time and training part time. Any advice would be very gratefully received . many , many thanks, Lou1

  • LittleMrMike
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17 Jun 12 #337153 by LittleMrMike
Reply from LittleMrMike
A complicated question, Lou, so I hope you will not mind if the reply is complicated.

I am assuming you are not married and my reply is based on that assumption.

If you are not married the position is governed by general property law. A Court does not have the redistributive powers it does on divorce.

When you bought the property, your shares ought to have been spelled out. The first thing a solicitor will do is to examine the deeds to establish what your shares are.

As a general rule of thumb :
• Where one party is the sole owner of the property, the starting point is exactly that – the owner has 100% rights;
• Where the property is jointly owned the starting point is that the parties own in equal shares.
• If the deeds say that one party owns, say 75% and the other 25% then that is what their shares will be.
• If either party wishes to displace these basic rules the onus is on him/her to demonstrate why.
This is usually achieved by establishing contributions, for example, providing part of the initial deposit, helping with the mortgage, improving the property and so on – but not contributing to household expenses.

Over time, the Courts have used a number of principles with strange sounding names like proprietary estoppel, constructive trusts and resulting trusts. If you think that sounds like a mouthful, you’re right. But the general idea is that it can be possible ( for example ) for someone who is not a legal owner of the FMH to establish an interest in it by making a contribution towards the deposit, helping out with the mortgage payments, financing improvements to the property and so on ad infinitum. Or, alternatively, if the parties have shares in the FMH of 50%, it could perhaps be altered to 60/40 or some other figure.

In general the law is largely governed, firstly by sections 14 and 15 of the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996. This is also a bit of a mouthful, so it’s usually called TOLATA.
Secondly, there have been two very important decisions of the House of Lords ( Supreme Court )
Stack v Dowden www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed749
Kernott v Jones, 2011 UKSC 53.

Well, I warned you it was complicated. You need legal advice and that depends very much on the facts in your individual case.

But as a first step you need to establish who owns the property and in what proportions. This much is relatively easy and not particularly expensive. The problem comes if either of you wants more than the share which exceeds their initial entitlement.


  • lou1
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17 Jun 12 #337171 by lou1
Reply from lou1
Thank you for answering my question and for your valuable advice. it does sound complicated and would have been much better to have defined more sensibly , but it is all a learning curve and I have learnt a huge amount from this relationship....!. many thanks again, Lou

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