Ask the Lawyer: I’m moving in with my homeowner fiancé – what should I do to protect myself?
PinkNews brings you the latest in a series of features which sees your real questions answered by leading lawyers at Simpson Millar.
The question comes from a reader who is moving in with their fiancé who owns property, and is unsure of whether they need to do anything to protect themselves or their partner before they do.
They ask:”I plan to move in with my fiancé next year. I am currently not working, but plan to be once we move in together, and my partner has a house with a mortgage.
“What would be best for both of us in this situation, given that I don't own any property? Is there anything we should do, to protect myself if things go wrong, or to protect my partner's rights?
“When we get married, is there an advantage to me being added in name to the mortgage?”
A Simpson Millar lawyer answers, saying: “Firstly, it’s important to note that the law doesn't recognise any rights (such as maintenance) of a couple living together outside of a marriage or civil partnership – should the relationship break down.
“Putting a formal arrangement in place, such as a co-habitation agreement, means that once you start contributing financially to joint living costs (which in this case may include the mortgage), your respective contributions to various outgoings are defined.
“It’s essential that the agreement is as clear as possible – if you’re not sure about any aspect of this, one of our solicitors will be able to help you with this.”
Adding: “If you start contributing substantially to the mortgage payments, it's only fair that you should benefit from this. But, it’s also likely that your partner might also want to protect their prior contributions to the property, so you should both have a discussion about this before you move into the property so that you can establish a clear agreement.
“As a contributor, you should ideally be named on the title deeds and mortgage.
“You should also reach an agreement on the shares in which you want to own the property (bearing in mind your partner’s original contribution). This can be done through a Declaration of Trust, which would set out your respective shares and can be drafted for approval by one of our solicitors.”
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Simpson Millar’s solicitors are experts in Family and Relationship Law, so if you need legal advice get in touch with us by calling 0800 260 5005 or click here to request a call-back.
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