When a married couple divorce decides to divorce, there are certain legal checks in place to ensure that each spouse receives what they are entitled to. When a couple who are not married decide to split, disputes over who is entitled to what could arise, especially if the couple had joint ownership of certain amenities. One of the main causes of disagreements is the joint ownership of a property. Luckily, we have qualified solicitors in London who can help.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham Hill, we have years of experience in aiding both married and unmarried couples wishing to make a claim against their former partner, reaching a settlement that works in their best interests. If you wish to claim an interest in a property, but you are not named as the legal owner, there are certain steps you can take. With the help of an experienced solicitor, you can ensure every step you take is legal and justified.
What is a Resulting Trust?
Just because one party has their name on the bills and the mortgage does not necessarily mean that their partner is entitled to nothing. A resulting trust occurs when one person has made direct financial contributions to a property that their former partner is the sole owner of. You must provide proof of these payments and show that the contributions were not gifts or loans. A resulting trust can arise where the person who is the sole owner holds part or all the property on trust for their former partner/co habitee.
The court will then calculate the shares based upon the purchase price of the property and the amount of direct capital contributions. They may also look at other contributing factors, such as the existence of a constructive trust…
A constructive trust is more complex; it arises when there is an existing agreement or understanding between the former partners, no matter whether there is an express agreement or not. This can prove that it was the mutual intention of both parties to share the beneficial interests of a property. An express agreement is usually signed by the sole owner of the property stating that intention and can be used against them if their former partner is seeking to make a claim.
When an express agreement does not exist, the court may look at the conduct between the parties. For instance, if the party who was not the sole owner made significant contributions to the payment of the mortgage or for any major refurbishments, this could prove that there was an intention for both partners to share the property. Simply contributing to simple expenses or painting the kitchen may not be enough to make a claim.
Here at Van Eaton Solicitors in Streatham, we have years of experience in helping individuals make a claim, as well as defend themselves against one. To find out more about our various services, please visit us on our website here.
What are the Implications?
If you are in a long-term relationship but have no intention to marry, you may wish to make your intentions surrounding property clear. Ideally, it is advised that you and your partner become legal joint owners or tenants in common with a determined share of the property to avoid potential disputes arising in the future. With careful attention to such requirements, you would hopefully never need to seek legal advice to settle a claim with your former partner. If such declarations of ownership, commonly termed Declarations of Trusts, are not made then there is always a chance that matters may turn contentious. If you do not ratify such an agreement, proving that a resulting or constructive trust exists can be tricky.
To arrange a free consultation to receive expert legal advice concerning joint ownership of a property, our reliable solicitors in London are here to help. You can either give us a call on 0208 769 6739. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form here.