Why unmarried couples should take note of judge’s property ruling

22nd August 2016

Why unmarried couples should take note of judge’s property ruling

In a ground-breaking decision which should be required reading for all unmarried couples who live together, a judge has ruled that a businessman gave his long-term partner and mother of his three children an investment property – to give her financial security and to compensate her for his refusal to marry her.

The man insisted that the house – which was bought for almost £500,000 in 2007 – had been put in his partner’s name only to make it easier to raise mortgage finance. He had contributed about £140,000 to the purchase price and he argued that it had always been clearly understood between them that it belonged to him alone.

But in ruling in favour of the woman’s claim, the judge noted the 20-year age gap between them and that she had been besotted by and wholly dependent on him. She was financially naive compared to him and he had dominated her during their 16-year relationship, consistently telling her that he had no intention of marrying her.

She had raised concerns about her future financial well-being with him and the judge found that he had agreed to give her the house because he had provided her with no marital security.

The house had been sold since the couple separated and the judge awarded the woman the entirety of the net proceeds of sale, about £269,000. The man was also ordered to pay the action’s legal costs.

How can Gotelee Solicitors help?

Gotelee has years of experience in helping clients deal with the full range of family and matrimonial services, including issues surrounding, separation, children and property disputes between co-habitees.

Taking legal advise at an early stage can avoid later difficulties particularly if there are discussions about who occupies the property, whether assets should be sold and divided and what arrangements for any children are agreed.

We have offices in Ipswich, Hadleigh, Felixstowe, Melton and Woodbridge where we can offer an initial fixed price meeting to provide you with an understanding of the options available, likely costs and outcomes.

You can also call us on 01473 211121 to find out how we can help you.

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