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Is my Ex Entitled to a Percentage of the House?

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 24 Jun 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Is My Ex Entitled To A Percentage Of The House?

Q.

I have recently split with my partner after 5 years, we were not married, have 2 children and a mortgage that is solely in my name. I have worked throughout the relationship and been the only financial provider for the family.

She has not worked or contributed in any way. She chose to leave the house and take our 2 children to live on benefits in a council house. I have a feeling she is about to try to take a % of my house, is she entitled to any of it?

(Mr Rob Simpson, 25 November 2008)

A.

Many couples choose to live together without getting married and this is often referred to as ‘common law marriage’. However, this term is not recognized by law and does not hold any of the same rights as a legal marriage, however long you have been together. Many people believe that they are entitled to a percentage of their partner’s assets but this is not true. This is good news for you!

If the mortgage is solely in your name and you did not have any formal cohabitation or rental agreement with your partner then she is not entitled to claim any of your house. You say that you have been the sole provider, but even if your partner had been making financial contributions, unless her name is on the deeds, it’s all yours. She may still try to make a claim but the law is on your side and she is unlikely to have a case.

Having said that, you have two children together and you need to think about their welfare too. You will have to, by law, pay child maintenance to your partner but you may want to think about what else you could contribute to make your children’s lives better. It is understandable that you will feel angry towards your partner, and she has made her own choices, but this should not impact on your children’s lives.

Try to remain as civil as possible with their mother and come to an arrangement about custody and child support. If you cannot work this out together then there are a lot of liaison services available that will help you or you can take it through the courts.

You may also want to think about making a will so that your children are guaranteed to inherit your property if anything may happen to you. You can state that they don’t receive any of it until a certain age, or assign a executor so that your ex-partner doesn’t try to get hold of it.

Whatever you decide to do, your home is all yours but make sure that your children remain your priority and that they are protected, both financially and emotionally.

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My partner and I purchased a property in Nov 2004. A year to the date he moved out. I haven't seen or heard from him since and he has paid nothing toward the mortgage (except his half in that first year). I'm aware that to sell the property now, I need his approval but how can I achieve this if I don't know exactly where he is and if I sell, is he really entitled to anything after not paying for the last 14yrs? We were never married. We didn't have any legal binding agreement that documented what would happen if we split. He just upped and left one day. I know he is married and his now wife, had two children from a previous relationship but I don't know if they have had any more together. I don't have an endless supply of money to pay for lawyers or solicitors so don't really know what I can do?
Natasha - 24-Jun-18 @ 2:31 AM
I have owned my house for a couple of years now.I was engaged to my ex partner a few months ago and due to get married but i wasn't happy and have called it all off and we separated.She is now claiming she put £15k into the house renovations, furniture and belongings etc.She isn't on the deeds to the house and not the mortgage either. We took out a JOINT loan of £25k for the wedding.I have said i will take care of the loan fully and i gave her £10,000 when she left.She is now claiming i owe her more. DO I?considering i am paying for the whole of the loan which we both signed up to? I have also let her take her friend take my place on our pre booked honeymoon
Leeroy - 23-Jun-18 @ 9:14 AM
Magoo - Your Question:
Can he still request the money back even though he is not on any mortgage or deeds and has never lived at the property?

Our Response:
As said in the previous reply, much will depend upon the reasons why he put money into your house i.e if it was towards the deposit and he intended to live there but it didn't work out, then of course he will naturally want his money back. Your ex certainly has the right to request the money back if he can prove the money was not a gift. If your ex decides to take the matter to court, then this will cost if you wish to challenge it, as court costs and legal fees can certainly mount up. Trying to come to a mutual agreement or one through mediation will serve you much better. However, if you think you have a case, you may wish to seek legal advice, as this will help clarify your questions further.
RelationshipExpert - 12-Jun-18 @ 10:47 AM
Can he still request the money back even though he is not on any mortgage or deeds and has never lived at the property?
Magoo - 11-Jun-18 @ 2:32 PM
Magoo - Your Question:
My partner has just left me after 11 years.He put £40k into the property when we first met and I put his name on the mortgage but we made no written agreements about what would happen if we separated.He has never lived at the property and eventually I remortgaged when he had financial difficulties and removed his name from the mortgage and deeds.He is now wanting his money back and I am not in a position to do this.Is he entitled to the money back?

Our Response:
Your partner is entitled to request his money back if he put money into the house. However, much depends on other circumstances, i.e as mentioned in the article if you have children together it would make a difference. You can see more about via the CAB link here . If your partner wishes to push the matter, then legal advice would be advised. Trying to avoid court by coming to a mutual agreement would be in both your best interests, as court can be costly.
RelationshipExpert - 11-Jun-18 @ 9:52 AM
My partner has just left me after 11 years. He put £40k into the property when we first met and I put his name on the mortgage but we made no written agreements about what would happen if we separated. He has never lived at the property and eventually I remortgaged when he had financial difficulties and removed his name from the mortgage and deeds. He is now wanting his money back and I am not in a position to do this. Is he entitled to the money back?
Magoo - 10-Jun-18 @ 4:55 PM
Abula - Your Question:
Hi I moved I to my husband's house which he shared with his now ex wife for 5 yrs, she upped and left the property trashing it on her way out so my husband had to do lots of repairs she took her 2 children and moved in with her new partner, her name is not on the deeds as far as I'm aware and it's my husband's name that has always been on the mortgage nobody else's, I have lived in this house for 8 yrs now paying bills etc and maintenance for one of the children as the other child has lived with us for almost 7 yrs and we have never had a penny from her. We decided to sell our house and it had sold , now she is saying she wants a share in the sale of the house, can this be right. It's really upsetting to know that all I put into this house she now wants in her bank. Thanks would appreciate it if anyone could help please

Our Response:
If the house is co-owned (through marriage - regardless of whose name is on the mortgage/deeds) and your husband's ex-wife wishes to take the matter to court, the court would look at how long the marriage lasted and whether there were children involved and when the house was purchased and with what money. Your husband may wish to seek legal advice in order to clarify this.
RelationshipExpert - 8-Jun-18 @ 12:00 PM
Hi I moved I to my husband's house which he shared with his now ex wife for 5 yrs, she upped and left the property trashing it on her way out so my husband had to do lots of repairs she took her 2 children and moved in with her new partner, her name is not on the deeds as far as I'm aware and it's my husband's name that has always been on the mortgage nobody else's, I have lived in this house for 8 yrs now paying bills etc and maintenance for one of the children as the other child has lived with us for almost 7 yrs and we have never had a penny from her. We decided to sell our house and it had sold , now she is saying she wants a share in the sale of the house, can this be right. It's really upsetting to know that all I put into this house she now wants in her bank . Thanks would appreciate it if anyone could help please
Abula - 7-Jun-18 @ 8:29 PM
Hi im about to start the buying a house process i have recently split with the mother of my 3 children when i found out she was seeing an ex we are not married and used to live in the same rented accomodation can she still claim anything on the house im about to buy i am purchasing the house to leave my 3 children when i pass away so they have something to live in / make money out of when they are all ready to sell ..... i am going to be the sole proprietor any information would be great thanks
Joey 5 - 5-Jun-18 @ 7:41 PM
Hels - Your Question:
My ex partner moved in 5yrs ago. I have owned the house since 1994, in my name only. It is my family home. We never married, as I later discovered he was bankrupt when he moved in, and I became concerned about my finances. He turned out to be an alcholic and is now moving back to his Mums. He did pay me money per month for the bills. Can he claim half my house or the equity in it etc.

Our Response:
If you were not married and you own the house, then your ex cannot claim.
RelationshipExpert - 31-May-18 @ 2:45 PM
i left my husband 15 years ago i took my name off the deeds i have never payed any moneys towards the mortgage am i in titled to anything now and if so would it be based on todays house price or that of 15 years ago ? many thanks
binky - 29-May-18 @ 5:38 PM
My ex partner moved in 5yrs ago. I have owned the house since 1994, in my name only. It is my family home. We never married, as I later discovered he was bankrupt when he moved in, and I became concerned about my finances. He turned out to be an alcholic and is now moving back to his Mums. He did pay me money per month for the bills. Can he claim half my house or the equity in it etc.
Hels - 29-May-18 @ 10:43 AM
Kedg - Your Question:
My mum left my dad in 1980, and didn't give my dad any money for our (myself, 8, and my older brothers) upkeep, or towards the house or bills. They had the mortgage for only a couple of years when she left. She is still named on the deeds of the property, my dad paid this off himself. She has since remarried but never changed her name on the deeds. Would she be entitled to anything when my dad passes??

Our Response:
Your mum may have a claim. However, much would depend upon the circumstances which would have to be decided by court if she wished to challenge it. If the marriage was short and your mum never contributed to the house, then it is unlikely. Your mum would not be able to claim on the fact your father never paid child maintenance. Child maintenance is based on earnings, not assets.
RelationshipExpert - 30-Apr-18 @ 11:45 AM
My mum left my dad in 1980, and didn't give my dad any money for our (myself, 8, and my older brothers) upkeep, or towards the house or bills. They had the mortgage for only a couple of years when she left.She is still named on the deeds of the property, my dad paid this off himself. She has since remarried but never changed her name on the deeds. Would she be entitled to anything when my dad passes??
Kedg - 29-Apr-18 @ 3:46 PM
Heather - Your Question:
I lived with my partner for 4 years in my rented home. We then bought a house on shared equity in his name. I paid the mortgage fee and paid half of the mortgage and bills for the 3 years I lived with him. l also paid for all the food and items for the children. We were only married for 9 months when I left the family home. During the divorce he has denied that I paid anything and refuses to pay me a settlement. He has refused mediation. I can not afford to go to court. Is there anything that can help me. I have all bank records but without going to court I feel im going to leave with nothing but debt. There are 2 children involved. My parents also lent him money which he is refusing to pay back. How do I end this divorce without a financial settlement. He made himself a fulltime student so that he did not have to pay maintenance and so that he wouldn't lose the home. I just want this stress to be over.

Our Response:
If you are married, but not on the title deeds you can still have a claim on the house, particularly if you can prove your parents gave money towards the home and you have invested in it, plus if you have children together. It’s a good idea to register your ‘matrimonial home rights’ online. This means you’ll be told if your ex tries to sell the house or the mortgage lender tries to repossess it. You may even be able to get an occupation order if you do not have an alternative place to live and you are the primary carer of your children. However, all of this would need to be decided in court. When it comes to a situation such as this, the court will always decide on what it thinks is in the best interests of your children. If you self-litigate in court, it will save you on any costly legal fees, please see link here . Getting as much information beforehand regarding your rights, will be of help in court. If you can get some free advice from a solicitor or pay for some legal advice, or use the Citizens Advice Bureau, it's worth it. Likewise, if you are on a low income, you may get a reduction in court fees, please see link here. In such a case, going to court may be more beneficial than letting things ride, as it is the welfare of your children and you as the primary carer that a court will put first and foremost when making any decision regarding the house. Many primary carers are given permission to stay in the house until the children leave full-time education regardless of who is named on the deeds. Or if you do not wish to live in the house and there is equity in it, regardless of your ex being the only person named on the deeds, the court can force a sale.
RelationshipExpert - 27-Apr-18 @ 10:59 AM
I lived with my partner for 4 years in my rented home. We then bought a house on shared equity in his name. I paid the mortgage fee and paid half of the mortgage and bills for the 3 years I lived with him. l also paid for all the food and items for the children. We were only married for 9 months when I left the family home. During the divorce he has denied that I paid anything and refuses to pay me a settlement. He has refused mediation. I can not afford to go to court. Is there anything that can help me. I have all bank records but without going to court I feel im going to leave with nothing but debt. There are 2 children involved. My parents also lent him money which he is refusing to pay back. How do I end this divorce without a financial settlement. He made himself a fulltime student so that he did not have to pay maintenance and so that he wouldn't lose the home. I just want this stress to be over.
Heather - 26-Apr-18 @ 2:26 PM
Debbs - Your Question:
My husband and I married in 1996 we bought our home in 1997 in 2000 we split up mutually we have been separated for 18 yrs now the mortgage was paid up in 2000 by our endowment we took out due to an accident my husband had, he is now living with his gay partner and has not contributed to any maintenance needed on the property, so my question is that is he entitled to half of the property value of today or the value that we bought it for back in 1997 as he only paid mortgage for 3 years and I have had to keep up with maintenance and upkeep of property, I know we have not had a mortgage since 2000 but I just need to know where I can legally. Both our names are on the deeds.

Our Response:
Coming to an agreement mutually is the best way forward. If the mortgage was paid off by him from his personal money then this will be taken into consideration, as will the upkeep you have spent on improving the house since your husband left. Negotiation is best first, then if you cannot agree, you may wish to seek legal advice regarding what is a fair split.
RelationshipExpert - 23-Apr-18 @ 2:59 PM
My husband and I married in 1996 we bought our home in 1997 in 2000 we split up mutually we have been separated for 18 yrs now the mortgage was paid up in 2000 by our endowment we took out due to an accident my husband had, he is now living with his gay partner and has not contributed to any maintenance needed on the property, so my question is that is he entitled to half of the property value of today or the value that we bought it for back in 1997 as he only paid mortgage for 3 years and I have had to keep up with maintenance and upkeep of property, I know we have not had a mortgage since 2000 but I just need to know where I can legally. Both our names are on the deeds.
Debbs - 21-Apr-18 @ 9:24 PM
Dizzy57 - Your Question:
My now husband took out a mortgage in 94 with his now ex partner, she left in 98, and I moved in soon after, and have since then paid mortgage through my bank acc. My husband and I have paid for 19 yrs,theres less than a £1000 before it's paid in full. Now his ex wants her share, in 99 they made an agreement that he would take on all debts associated with the property, cash in the endowment, valued at £1500, which she would receive half, and she would sign over the property to him. She left with no forwarding address before the deal was finalised, we searched for her, last known address was a bfpo ,so we came to a dead end, she has never attempted to contact us in that time, now she wants the equity, he has offered her what was originally agreed plus interest, she would have no more than£3,500 invested in the house, her total mortgage payments in 3 and half years, and it was a 100% mortgage so no deposit. Will we have to sell up and move out, I'm in my 60s and afraid we may not be able to buy another home, we could never afford it or today's rentals either. Do I have a legal right as contributer to the mortgage repayments?

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely a court would order you to sell. The court would look at your husband's ex's investment and payment into the house and decide accordingly based upon the short length of the marriage and your subsequent contribution also. Your husband may wish to seek a solicitor to outline an offer. If his ex dosen't accept it, then she would have the option to take the matter to court for the court to decide. However, you and your husband are in a much stronger position.
RelationshipExpert - 12-Apr-18 @ 12:16 PM
My now husband took out a mortgage in 94 with his now ex partner, she left in 98, and I moved in soon after, and have since then paid mortgage through my bank acc. My husband and I have paid for 19 yrs,theres less than a £1000 before it's paid in full. Now his ex wants her share, in 99 they made an agreement that he would take on all debts associated with the property, cash in the endowment, valued at £1500, which she would receive half, and she would sign over the property to him. She left with no forwarding address before the deal was finalised, we searched for her, last known address was a bfpo ,so we came to a dead end, she has never attempted to contact us in that time, now she wants the equity, he has offered her what was originally agreed plus interest, she would have no more than£3,500 invested in the house, her total mortgage payments in 3 and half years, and it was a 100% mortgage so no deposit. Will we have to sell up and move out, I'm in my 60s and afraid we may not be able to buy another home, we could never afford it or today's rentals either. Do i have a legal right as contributer to the mortgage repayments?
Dizzy57 - 11-Apr-18 @ 7:55 PM
Dexter - Your Question:
My ex Owens the houes out right but has cheated on me we have 2 children and he won’t us out can we stay or will we have to move

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether you are married or not. You can see more via the CAB link here, which will tell you all you need to know.
RelationshipExpert - 10-Apr-18 @ 3:25 PM
My ex Owens the houes out right but has cheated on me we have 2 children and he won’t us out can we stay or will we have to move
Dexter - 10-Apr-18 @ 2:48 PM
Eileen Williams - Your Question:
I was with skneone ten years. What can I get back

Our Response:
Much depends upon the value of your assets and whether you were married or not. Please see link here , which should tell you all you need to know.
RelationshipExpert - 9-Apr-18 @ 1:02 PM
I was with skneone ten years. What can I get back
Eileen Williams - 8-Apr-18 @ 7:35 PM
Hi i im helen i was married 25 yrs my husband cheated he walked out 3 yrs ago We have leasehold and own25% each i pay rent and now he wants to give his share to my son of whitch we don't get on can he sell his share and leave me homeless please advise as i love this house i done no wrong and want to kp if i can its wrong to give my son as his 20 and should get after im gone only
Ellie - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:57 PM
lb - Your Question:
I bought my house with my ex husband, who signed the house over to me. I re-married in 2011, and my new husband has only ever paid £300 contribution a month towards all the house hold bills. We have two children 7 and 6, and separated in 2014. His name has never been put onto the deeds, as I refused if he didn't pay half the mortgage and the bills. We have built extensions onto the house, all of which I have re-paid on my own. IF I sell, is he entitled to anything. We have never divorced, just separated.

Our Response:
It is highly unlikely your husband would be entitled to anything if the house can be considered a pre-marital asset (i.e owned by you before your marriage).
RelationshipExpert - 5-Apr-18 @ 11:35 AM
I bought my house with my ex husband, who signed the house over to me. I re-married in 2011, and my new husband has only ever paid £300 contribution a month towards all the house hold bills. We have two children 7 and 6, and separated in 2014. His name has never been put onto the deeds, as I refused if he didn't pay half the mortgage and the bills. We have built extensions onto the house, all of which I have re-paid on my own. IF I sell, is he entitled to anything. We have never divorced, just separated.
lb - 3-Apr-18 @ 2:31 PM
Michael - Your Question:
Hi,I bought a house with my ex-partner in Jan 13. We had a child in Apr 13. The house and mortgage are both in my name only. We were engaged in May 15 but never married. We split up and I moved out of the property in Apr 16 as I had an affair. I have continued to pay the mortgage, house insurance and child maintenance. I also rent my own place now. I am now at breaking point in terms of finance, I cannot afford to continue to run two houses and pay maintenance. I need to sell the former family home. I work in financial services and will lose my job if I fall into serious arrears. I am borrowing more and more and I cannot keep this up. I also do not have available funds to be able to continue paying a solicitor. I was speaking to one prior to Christmas trying to get more access to my son (who my ex only lets me see every other weekend) What can I do? Thanks

Our Response:
Requesting mediation with your ex would be a start. If your ex refuses to discuss the matter regarding both your living expenses and access, then your only option would be to apply to court for the court to decide. If you cannot afford legal representation, you can self-litigate, please see link here . If your financial situation is unsustainable then the court will attempt to resolve this and access arrangements rationally. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
RelationshipExpert - 22-Mar-18 @ 12:06 PM
Hi, I bought a house with my ex-partner in Jan 13. We had a child in Apr 13. The house and mortgage are both in my name only. We were engaged in May 15 but never married. We split up and I moved out of the property in Apr 16 as I had an affair. I have continued to pay the mortgage, house insurance and child maintenance. I also rent my own place now. I am now at breaking point in terms of finance, I cannot afford to continue to run two houses and pay maintenance. I need to sell the former family home. I work in financial services and will lose my job if I fall into serious arrears. I am borrowing more and more and I cannot keep this up. I also do not have available funds to be able to continue paying a solicitor. I was speaking to one prior to Christmas trying to get more access to my son (who my ex only lets me see every other weekend) What can I do? Thanks
Michael - 21-Mar-18 @ 2:33 PM
Davehelp - Your Question:
Hi, recently split up with my partner. 4 years ago I decided to move House. I bought a house outright with my money and a month or 2 the purchase I allowed my partner of (1 year at the time) to moved in with me. During the period he has been living here he has paid a basic sum of £300 for food , gas , electric and water. we have made a few improvements to the house, to which any money she paid was returned in full. Now since we have split she is now demanding a monetary sum for the house due to the improvements making the property now worth more. Just wondering where do I stand with this? She has never been on the deeds for the property but did stay here for 3+ years?

Our Response:
If you are the sole owner, you have a right to stay in the home. However, your partner may be able to claim a 'beneficial interest' in your home, please see link here . If you have children between you, your partner may be able to be allowed to remain in the house with your children (if she is the primary carer). If you do not have children between you, then unless your partner can prove she contributed financially to improvements etc, then she will have little or no claim on your property after such a short relationship.
RelationshipExpert - 6-Mar-18 @ 11:24 AM
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