Q. I am in the process of buying a property, which will be purchased in my sole name as I am providing the deposit. If my partner and I live together, and my partner contributes to the mortgage repayments and other bills, would he be able to claim an interest in the property if we split up?
A. Possibly, yes. Although it may be difficult and expensive for your partner to successfully make such a claim, it would not be impossible.
If your partner was able to persuade the court that you had a joint intention to share the property, because he was contributing to the costs of running the home or making the mortgage repayments, then it is possible that he could successfully claim an interest in it.
The best way to protect yourself from a claim of this type is to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement. This agreement would set out from the outset what you and your partner intend in relation to the property so that there is less risk of a dispute – or a successful claim – later on.
Your Cohabitation Agreement could record that you and your partner will make contributions to the cost of running the home and the mortgage repayments but that your partner’s contributions would not entitle him to a share of the property.
Alternatively, it could stipulate that your partner is entitled to a share of the equity, depending on what you agree.
It is important to have an open and honest conversation about your intentions in relation to the property, and recording these intentions in a Cohabitation Agreement reduces the chance of any misunderstandings.
For more information on cohabitation agreements, or for advice on any family law matter, contact Janine Hutson on 01772 258321. Harrison Drury has a team of family solicitors based in Preston, Lancaster, Kendal, Garstang and Clitheroe.