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Hi All - I read and post on here regularly but this is a question for Legal so change the 'tribe' if need be Vanessa
My friend has been told by his Partner (not married but together 20 yrs) she has put the house up for sale (they are going through a separation - different bedrooms now etc) but he doesnt want to sell the house as he wants to see the kids through to 18 yrs.
She has told him that she can put an injunction on him to force the sale of the house as she wants to realise £200k of equity. House is worth c 650k with equity of c400k - his kids are 16 and 18 and he wants to remain in the property until the 16yr old is 18.
Obviously he can go to get legal advice which I will suggest but just thought I would throw it out on here to see if any sensible suggestions.
It depends how your friend's beneficial interest in the property is registered. With couples, it is generally believed to be 50/50 unless there was a Declaration of Trust at the purchase of the property that determined that one person would own more than the other.As far as I am aware, your friend's partner cannot simply put up the house for sale without his agreement, especially where there are children involved. Furthermore, an injunction is a very severe and draconian remedy and unlikely to be used in such a case, unless there are domestic abuse issues in the mix.Your friend would be well advised to seek legal advice.
general operations director, site owner and moderator - propertytribes.com
Tell your friend not to go down the legal avenue as he might as well set fire to the money just get him to find a way of paying her off .
There legal bill could easily run into hundreds of thousands of pounds if it becomes acrimonious and the lawyers will just keep asking for more and more.
I know it's true because I've been there and am still paying off the bills.
The main question is whose name is the house in. If in joint names and they can not agree upon a settlement then they will have to go to court. If not in joint names then the party will have to show what contribution they have made to the property and the court will decide what interest each one has in the property.Court will also take into account the 16yr old but not necessarily the 18yr old who is now an adult. These things are always difficult but I think they could use the Mediation or Arbitration services first as this might save time and money on lawyers if they can't agree at this time..Also I think the courts prefer you to use these services before going to court as if they reach an agreement before court, all the court does is sanction it and they can then move on.Bottom line use the services first - could save lots of money otherwise half the equity will disappear in legal costs.
Hi, by the time it's gone through the courts the 16 year old will probably be 18 anyway and everyone will be a lot poorer except the lawyers. Perhaps they need to have a grown up conversation with the kids and sell up - which in itself could take several months. If your friend is working and has 200k equity I imagine he can still get a home with room for the children to live/stay? At least that way the kids don't have to see their parents at each others throats and can learn about compromise.
Should this get to court and the Judge sees that it could have been sorted amicably by the mediation services available, the Judge will be furious and neither party will get what they want because the view will be that they are wasting the court's time. The injunction threat is b****ks. They cost a fortune and no Judge worth his or her salt would issue one for such a minor issue. Sounds like she's getting her advice from her mates. Encourage her to continue using their ill informed and free services, as she'll dig herself into a legal hell hole with no escape. There's more rubbish about the law spoken between outraged friends in pubs than you would believe. The fact that they are not married is crucial. There is no such thing as a "common law" wife or husband. There never was.
I had a similar situation a few years back. It took five years to sort out and I was happy with the outcome. I don't think my ex partner was.
The issue is the £200k . Talk to the bank or lender and see if he can raise £200k on interest only to make it cheap and add it to the existing mortgage possibly with an extended payment period to make it affordable in the short term. Explain why you want it. If they won't lend talk to a good mortgage broker. If you manage that make an official offer in writing via a solicitor. That bangs a peg in the ground should it get nasty later. Be the reasonable party willing to compromise. If it then gets to court and the Judge sees a reasonable offer was made, and rejected, the Judge will be brutal in dividing up the estate.
But mediation is the best place to start. And document everything. Try not to end up in court.