Living With Your Partner? Do You Know Who Owns What?

Neverending love, whilst an enduring theme for thousands of pop songs, can sadly never be guaranteed and one case made strikingly clear why cohabiting couples should take legal advice to ensure that they know exactly who owns what.

A couple had been together for 18 years and latterly lived in a £435,000 home which was in the man’s sole name. The woman had contributed substantial sums to the mortgage and other household expenses. Following the acrimonious end of their relationship, she argued that she was entitled to a stake in the property but he insisted that her position was little different to that of a rent-paying lodger.

In directing a sale of the property, and payment of £33,522 of the proceeds to the woman, a judge found that the man had, by his actions and words, encouraged and induced her to believe that the payments she made would entitle her to an interest in the property. In the absence of such a belief, she would not have made those payments and would have invested her money elsewhere. In rejecting the man’s challenge to that decision, the Court found that the judge had done the minimum required in order to achieve justice between the ex-partners.