Q&A: Does Domestic Abuse Affect Your Property Rights?
Q: My sister has just fled from her home with her baby because she was suffering domestic abuse. She has a joint mortgage with her partner, but he has not contributed to the bills, mortgage or upkeep of his daughter, apart from the first three months. Is there anything she can do to ensure he does not get half of the property, or will this be a very expensive lesson in joint mortgages?
A: Unfortunately, because they have a have a joint mortgage they are both jointly and severally liable for it.
Without knowing the specifics of their circumstances, they could either be joint owners of the property and could be either tenants in common or joint beneficial owners.
Unless they have made a declaration of trust confirming they own the property in unequal shares, we assume they are likely to each own 50 per cent of the property.
If the property goes up in value, your sister’s partner will benefit, even though he has contributed very little financially. Your sister should ask her partner to agree to the property being transferred into her sole name.
She may also wish to consider applying to the Child Maintenance Service for extra financial support. If she can reach an agreement with her partner, then a family based arrangement can be set up.
But if an agreement is not possible, she can apply to the statutory Child Maintenance Service, who could set up an arrangement for her.
Are You in a Similar Situation?
If you, a friend or a colleague are in a similar situation to this lady and require specific legal advice regarding home ownership, please contact our expert conveyancing solicitor team who will be happy to help.
Also, get in touch to find out more about separation rights and divorce.