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Declaration of Trust contested for unmarried couple split - family home

(3 Posts)
CookieDoughKid Sun 02-Dec-12 12:04:01

I've separated from my partner this year and we have two kids under age of 5 together. We are not married but we do own a house together as Tenants in Common with a Declaration of Trust (DoT) drawn up. My ex moved out to his own place. I kept family home.

I've always been the breadwinner and paid all bills and mortgage with only a few months contribution from my ex during the entire time we lived in the house together, which was for 5 years. My ex did not have regular income or a regular job for majority of time. Even if he did have a job, I would gather he only contributed towards the mortgage maximum 4 or 5 months during the 5 years we were living in family home together. I should be able to prove much of this financially and for sure, my ex will not be able to prove he had steady job or income anyway. I have always had a steady job and income.

When we bought the home, the DoT was drawn as 50:50 as we put in equal deposit money. (5% deposit EACH). However, I sunk a further £80K cash into house for renovations and to reflect the financial support (burden rather) of supporting my ex, the home AND paying for childcare and to protect my interests, I had the DoT rewritten which now stands at 91:9 share in my favour.

My ex spent about 9months helping to renovate the house for which he was not paid. There was no written agreement to reflect this but I acknowledge his contribution and also that it contributed to increase in value of the house.

I had the DoT rewritten, some 4.5 years later, with his consent, and we both were given legal advice. The DoT now stands at 91:9 in my favour to help protect my legal contributions. and there are some extra conditions that my ex should be paying 9% towards bills & mortgages (which he has not).

I have taken full responsibility of ongoing mortgage payments, bills, and the children live with me full time. The deeds to the house are in joint names and we have a joint mortgage. The bank will not allow me to have the mortgage in sole name but I can continue making full payments.

I have this clause in the DoT that says 'failing agreement under (i) (which is to agree to purchase or sell their interest) the Property shall at the expiry of 3 months written notice be placed on the market for sale and the gross proceeds dealt with in accordance with clause 3,4 and 5 hereof.....

Can my ex now contest the DoT for a bigger share in equity as he is saying he signed it (and it was witnessed) under DURESS? What will the courts likely to decide? Can he force me to sell the family house? What are my options because I have children? He currently lives in a 2bed flat which he owns and I have the 5 bed family home with an Au-Pair that allows us both to work and is only 5 mins walk from very good schools.

Please provide a little guidance, I'd much appreciate it and i have every intention to see a family lawyer. I am just very daunted with my ex's threats. Thank you.

Collaborate Sun 02-Dec-12 19:05:26

You could apply to defer the sale under schedule 1 of the children act. Lots of threads here in that.
High hurdle for him to prove duress. Don't fancy his chances. £80k buys you lots of %.
Sit back and let him make the first move. When he does, see a solicitor. Look on the resolution.org.uk website.

CookieDoughKid Tue 04-Dec-12 20:47:35

Thank you Colloborate for your response. Much appreciated!!

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