My friend is in the middle of a bit of a messsy breakup from her partner. They have been in a civil partnership since December 2009.
Its getting messy because my friends partner thinks she is entitled to half the houses equity, even though, prior to purchase, she didn''t put anything in towards the deposit. This is a particularly thorny issue, because the money for this was obtained by inheritance.
I can understand her thinking she''s entitled to any equity thats built up in the time they''ve been in the home, she has after all contributed towards that, but is she entitled to some of the deposit that she put nothing into as well?
The main problem is we don''t know what we''re really doing, whose entitled to what, etc. Before it gets as far as us involving solicitors, I wondered if anyone had any information or advice, with regards to who gets what, etc.
OK, that makes it a lot more simple. Usually in a short marriage/CP with no children, each party takes out what assets they brought in. Your friend brought in the house or the money to buy the house, therefore she will leave with that. Her partner brought in nothing, she will leave with nothing. Anything gained during the CP, will be split 50/50.
That is the starting point anyway. There is usually a bit of horse trading/haggling involved. Your friend may have to give her ex some "go away" money to avoid court.
The rules on berak downof a civil partnership are exactly the same as on divorce (the only difference is that adultery is not a one of the statutory grounds to cite in the petition)
So, in looking at the finances the postion is:
- the over riding aim is to be fair, taking into account all the circumstances
- the start point is usually a 50/50 split, but an unequal split may be fair, taking onto account all the circumsntaces, which include the parties ages, the length of the relationship, their respective incomes and earning capacities, and any contributions.
You haven''t mentioned childrne so I assume that they don''t have children?
Did they live together before they got married? If not, then 2009-2012 is a relatively short relationship so shr may be able to aruge that they each take out what they put in, and split whatever has ben built up together.
However, their respective needs are also a factor, and usually ''needs'' will take priority over contrbutions, so it is relevent to look at what their respective housing needs and mortgage capabilities are - how much would your friend''s wife need as a depoist to be able to get a mortgage and rehouse herself?
Without knowing the figures, I suspect that the appropriate settlement may be one which gives your friend more than half, but possible less than [her deposit + 1/2 the balance]
it is also probably reasonable to look at her inheritance as a % of the value of the house when it was bought, not as a cash lump sum, especially if the value of the hosue has changed significantly (in either direction)
However, your friend does need to be aware that her contribution is not protected or ring fenced
A solicitor would generally try to get the best deal for their client. The best starting pointer is to ask, "what would a judge decide if it went to court?". Most likely it would go along the lines I have said, each party takes what they brought in and anything gained/lost during the CP is split. But it can depend on the figures.
For example her partner will no doubt claim, "If she is awarded the house, I will be made homeless", and will seek some kind of settlement to enable her to put down a deposit on a new place. She might well be successful in that claim, and the amount awarded would depend on what other assets there are, their respective earnings and mortgage capacities. Lets say for sake of argument that the figures are such that a judge would award her £5k. Now you have to add on your friend''s legal costs for it to go to court, which might be another £5k. Then her partner''s legal costs which may be claimed by the back door, another £5k. So as you can see your friend is down £15k, and her ex has £5k. So in these circumstances it would make much more sense to offer her ex £10k to settle out of court... your friend is down £10k instead of £15k, and her ex is up £10k instead of £5k... everybody wins.
It''s always worth seeing a solicitor since many do a free initial half hour consultation. They can give her a good idea of what to expect based on the figures and whether it''s worth taking on their services or not. A good solicitor will not pressure her, and she can try a few free half hours with different sols until she finds one she likes.