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House in h's name only

(41 Posts)
anonymous13 Sun 17-Nov-13 17:42:40


My husband bought the house we live in about 4 years before we got married (we have now been married for 12 years), though we were already living together.

In the event of us getting divorced, would I not be eligible for any of the property because he bought it before we got married (which is what he seemed to think when it came up in counselling about 1.5 years ago hmm)?

Thanks for any info you might have... Basically feel uncomfortable that the house we live in and that we have had our 3 dc in (now 7, 9 and 11) is solely in his name. I am a SAHM but the way it is set up now makes me feel as if my opinions count for nothing (future decision wise) and that my physical contributions are worth nothing.

PoppyInTheFog Sun 17-Nov-13 17:45:40

I would have thought you had rights as his wife. Normally you would get a larger chunk as you are caring for the children, maybe instead it would be a fifty fifty split to take into account the deposit he put down before you were married.

I think he's incorrect. It's certainly a marital asset after 12 years, 3 kids and however many years sahming.

Bogeyface Sun 17-Nov-13 17:49:17

If it has been the matrimonial home for the length of your marriage then it will be considered as an asset of the marriage, and divided as such despite the fact that he bought it into the marriage.

So he is talking bollocks.

Have you contributed towards the mortgage or did he buy it outright?

Bogeyface Sun 17-Nov-13 17:53:38

Just found this in answer to a woman who asked the same question, after she found out that only her husbands name is on the house and not both of theirs. She has been advised that by registering your interest with the Land Registry you are protected and costs less than changing the deeds.

In the event that your marriage did go through some difficulties, a simple notice registered with the Land Registry will ensure your house cannot be mortgaged or sold without you being made aware. A property solicitor will talk through the implications and complete the free application form for you.

DottyboutDots Sun 17-Nov-13 18:32:35

Sounds like a nice guy. Register your name pronto.

Ursula8 Sun 17-Nov-13 18:33:26

As you are married it is a marital asset regardless of whose name it is in. Likewise savings, pensions, shares etc etc.
I would go ahead and register my interest with Land Registry though.
If you are thinking along these lines maybe it is time to see a solicitor to talk you though likely outcomes if you were to split. Many will do half an hour for free.

kalidanger Sun 17-Nov-13 18:37:07

Is this one of those 'he's not as clever as he thinks he is?' type situations?

I'm assuming the counselling didn't work? Do get legal advice if you're deciding whether to leave.

Cabrinha Sun 17-Nov-13 18:44:48

The counselling doesn't sound very successful if it involved who gets what in divorce!
Get legal advice. You have a strong claim on it as a marital asset, but opinions and experience on here are not as good as tailored legal advice.

Kundry Sun 17-Nov-13 18:44:57

Suggest you post in legal. The house would now be seen as an asset of the marriage and your children's home - and of course you are the main carer so would have the bulk of any custody. All of this would have implications in any future settlement.

You would need proper legal advice but he definitely is 'not as clever as he thinks he is'.

SirSugar Sun 17-Nov-13 18:46:54

I registered interest on the land registry as the H was difficult; He then died and it came in handy that I had done so.

beaglesaresweet Sun 17-Nov-13 18:46:58

grin he IS talking nonsense! THREE kids and 12 yr marriage - how deluded is he?!

He'd be lucky if he gets one third of the house. Bear in mind that he has a salary and you don't, so he may get even less. Or if he were to get half then it would be offset by the maintenance for you and kids that's higher than usual.

PoshPenny Sun 17-Nov-13 18:54:57

My understanding of that kind of situation is that in a long term marriage (check the definition of that, but it is reasonable to think 12 years married and 3 kids who you sacrificed your career to raise will count for something) it becomes a joint asset as the marital home, rather than his. hoŵever, if you split up, he would be obliged to provide for his children which of course includes a roof over their heads. that is not necessarily the same thing as you get to keep the house you currently live in till the children have grown up, but you should not end up homeless living on the streets.

perhaps you should consult a solicitor who would be much clearer about where you stand legally and what your options are. I think being married is good in these situations, the law is very clear on what should happen, which I gather is not the case in cohabiting couples with children.

beaglesaresweet Sun 17-Nov-13 18:59:14

12 yrs is classed as medium term, it's definitely not 'short' which is up to about 7-8yrs. But with three kids the benefits to spouse would be very similar to the ones after long term marriage of 20+ yrs.

anonymous13 Sun 17-Nov-13 19:08:44

Thanks. Well, we are getting on better than we were even last year but things are not perfect, and this whole thing has been brought up again for me recently.

I have heard about registering your interest with the Land Registry but I gather the owner would find out that you had? I think this would come across as a threat to h and he would not react well - as if the next move I was planning was to leave as it were. Which I am not (though things had been awful for a long time, during which I often thought about separating)... I don't like the feeling of insecurity I have though...

SirSugar - why did it help to have registered your interest in your home when your h died? This is another issue for me as h has no will and refuses to discuss any of this.

I recently asked him outright if the next property we move to (which there had been vague talk of, nothing concrete since we disagree on where we would go, but both want a change I think) could be in both our names as joint tenants as this would mean more security for me - that in the event of one person dying unexpectedly, the house reverts completely to the other person. He reacted suspiciously with a loud "WHY"? I explained that at present I would get a portion of the value of the house but not the rest (which goes in trust to the kids I think?) - which would mean a lot of upheaval etc... He simply said this wasn't true and maintained I would get all of it (don't know what he is basing this on because this certainly isn't true). I then put forward the emotional argument - that I would feel like an equal partner etc..... He was silent at this and I left it that he could think about it since moving is not imminent. He is not going to change though. He lives in a lone ranger kind of way. Not that he isn't responsible towards me and the kids, but in his head I think it is very much only him. That's another thing I don't like, being a satellite in his world rather than an equal player sad.

Also, I don't know enough about inheritance tax and don't know if the kids are going to miss out in the future because of h's refusal to deal with any of this?

Anyway, this all sounds morbid. I know there is more to life than this, but I would feel more secure if I didn't feel that I don't really have a say in anything. H could sell the house without me knowing etc....

What has brought all of this up for me is the fact that h has been thinking of buying a new family car (which would also double up as a work vehicle) without saying anything to me, to the extent that he arranged for someone to come and show him one. Have posted about this and some people think I am overreacting. To me however, it feels as if I am never ever going to grow up and gain my own independence.

anonymous13 Sun 17-Nov-13 19:12:29

Should add that part of h's suspicion and detachment is due to the fact that when he and his first wife (mother to his stepson) got divorced, she ended up with the larger family home that he had really loved and he with a business property. He is very bitter about this. I think only his name had been on the deeds in this case as well. He thinks she lied to get her way.... She stole his car but he got it back - the whole divorce was at that kind of awful level I think...

Bogeyface Sun 17-Nov-13 19:51:04

SirSugar - why did it help to have registered your interest in your home when your h died? This is another issue for me as h has no will and refuses to discuss any of this.

Well there is yourexcuse for registering your interest.

His ex gotthe house even though it wasonly in his name and yet thinks that for some reason you wont? That makes evenless sense!

I would suggest you goback to counselling to deal purely with this "loneranger" issue. Sounds like you are not part of his life at all and that needs to be dealt without otherwise he will, ironically, be more likelytolose what he is trying so desperately to holdon to.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 17-Nov-13 20:20:14

I would suggest you book an appointment with a solicitor and ask all your questions. Some offer an initial free consultation. You'll find that you're in a much stronger position than you think and there's no necessity to have your name on the deeds. IHT doesn't apply if a spouse inherits but you're advised to make wills given that you have children. Really... I think an hour or so with a legal professional would open your eyes in a good way.

Kundry Sun 17-Nov-13 20:22:29

It seems that what he has learnt from the divorce is the protects what he sees as his assets. Unfortunately he hasn't learnt that if he shares properly with his wife, she won't want to leave and so his assets will be safe.

Counselling again might help but if not, both of you seem already to be busy trying define personal property instead of marital property and a (messy) divorce seems inevitable.

Have you ever met his first wife? Just wondering if she is really a money-grabbing bitch or just a nice person forced to selfishly look out for herself due to his behaviour?

PoppyInTheFog Sun 17-Nov-13 23:15:58

I suspect his first wife is not the money grabbing bitch he makes out either, his behaviour suggests it is he that is the money grabber. How could a court give someone more than they are entitled to anyways, either he agreed to it or a judge decided.

Bogeyface Sun 17-Nov-13 23:47:00

I totally agree Poppy

She was awarded a share of the house, possibly with a caveat that she and her son could live there until he was of age and then it would be sold or she would buy him out depending on when they divorced, and he saw it as him being robbed.

The irony is that if he wasnt so desperate to keep everything that is "his" to himself, he wouldnt be in such danger of losing it.

PoppyInTheFog Mon 18-Nov-13 00:01:58

he saw it as him being robbed and that is how he is viewing OP, as attempting to rob her. The man can't seem to see that his money is family money, he chose to have f our children with two women, yet he doesn't view the money as family assets he views it as his assets. Thankfully the courts and majority of civilised people hold very different views on the matter.

I do not understand why people fall for this bullshit of poor Men being robbed by greedy ex-wives who care for the children!

olathelawyer05 Mon 18-Nov-13 00:26:20

Your husband was married divorced and says he was robbed of fairness in relation to get marital home....then gets married again thereby creating a situation where he can in effect be "robbed" all over again?... Either he's a complete idiot, or a master planner who has learnt from his mistake and has been preparing for a divorce long before he married you with other plans OTHER than this house (eg. Assets abroad, secret bank accounts & safety deposits etc.).

Even if he contributed the entire equity and kept the house in his name accordingly, if the house is the only asset which allows everyone to be re-housed on a divorce after 10 years, then he almost certainly isn't going to be able to exclude it from the pool of marital assets.

I just find it hard to believe that he was burned by his first wife, and the only plan he made before marrying again (why?...) was to have the house in his name, and think that would protect him. That's just sounds very naive.

PoppyInTheFog Mon 18-Nov-13 10:38:30

I think OP should get in touch with his first wife, I wonder if she was financially abused by him and maybe she can shed some other light on him. Does he care about his son from his first marriage?

SirSugar Mon 18-Nov-13 10:48:29

My solicitor registered my interest as I began divorce proceedings (married 12 years, 2 DCS, house in his name ).

H started playing up when he received the initial letter from the solicitors about divorce and I ran out of cash so I cancelled the divorce proceedings.

Three months later H got sick and died. There was no will so I got house under inheritance laws. However, you only get first £250K of estate, rest is put in trust for DCs, and had there been more than that, my registered interest would have helped me in court to prove 50% of house was already mine.

anonymous13 Mon 18-Nov-13 11:23:39

Thanks all and cogito / SirSugar. Yes, the first 250 k of the estate part is the bit which h flatly says is not true hmm. It is a lot of money but it really depends on property prices / values where you live...

To be fair to h, he did not have a son from his first marriage but a stepson. Part of the house he shared with his first wife didn't revert back to him when this stepson turned 18 (he is now 34). Having said that, I too have wondered what his first wife is like, but have never met her. In some ways I think she was the love of h's life and after the sadness / anger connected to the ending of his first marriage, he is not going to really connect to anyone else (or maybe it's just me blush).

The main thing about our situation which I do not like is that h, apart from marrying me, has not shown much trust in me. Yet I have to have complete trust it seems.

I am not perfect either and am probably also individualistic. I think I would find it easier to think "as two" if my name were on the house and if he didn't do things like deciding to buy a car which I will also be driving, without asking me anything about it.

I just don't like the imbalance of the situation. It feels like the only way to solve this would be to live somewhere else and work full time, because it's the looking after the children and the supposed looking after the house (though I am not a good housekeeper), which takes so much time and energy and at the end of which I am still completely dependent on someone else. Maybe I am looking at it the wrong way?

anonymous13 Mon 18-Nov-13 11:29:31

Then I read or hear about people with terminal illnesses sad and think I should get over myself.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Nov-13 11:32:03

If you're being treated badly, taken for granted, not trusted and sold this (totally incorrect) line about having no rights over property then you're not looking at it the wrong way if you're concluding that the relationship is imbalanced. Moving out of your own home (which it is legally as well as morally) doesn't really resolve that, unless you're thinking of it as a precursor to divorce.

I really would get legal advice. Even if it costs you a few quid, it's always more reassuring to start with the correct information.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Nov-13 11:32:45

There's no monopoly on unhappiness. Terminal illness is just one of many ways that it can come about. Doesn't make your problem trivial

PoppyInTheFog Mon 18-Nov-13 11:49:09

It could be he is just that way or it could be that he still loves his exwife funny way to show love for someone divorcing them and saying they conned you

Tuhlulah Mon 18-Nov-13 12:13:45

You should see a divorce solicitor to find out where you stand.

1) Re the house as it stands, you are deemed to have contributed towards bringing up family and enabling him to work by your SAH efforts. The house would be deemed to be held in a constructive trust with you as a beneficiary. So you do have recognition of your rights, but don't rely on this -be proactive. (see 3) below)

2) Re re home, whether you can be added to the title depend on if there is a mortgage. If there is a mortgage, it is very unlikely the mortgage company will agree to you being a co-owner, as you do not contribute to the mortgage. if no mortgage, then you can add you as a joint tenant (preferred option for you, as his share would pass to you on his death either outside his will, irrespective of the terms of his will, or even if he dies intestate) or a tenant in common (where you get a set share, but whether you can 'access' the value of that share depends on if you sell).

3) Get a Matrimonial Homes Act caution/notice (or whatever it is now) registered against the title, as this tells anyone wanting to deal with the house, either on a sale or remortgage, that you are an interested party who needs to be 'dealt with' before the transfer of the property can go ahead. Solicitor will do this, your husband will be notified by the Land Registry.

4) Re will, if he dies intestate the rules of intestacy apply. A lawful spouse is first in line, then children of the whole blood, then children of the half blood. So if you are legally married you get a set amount, (thresholds have changed and I don't know current) the rest being held on trust for the children of the whole blood (i.e., his and your children), and you would be entitled to interest earned on the invested capital until all the children have attained the age of majority, when they get their share of the capital free of the trust.. Any other children he has (of his blood, not step) will also get something. Children that he has treated as 'children of the marriage' (ie, adopted) might also be entitled. (Can't remember, but if you google Laws of Intestacy you will find out, if you need to know).

5) If he wants to sell this house you have to sign the contract, and if you do not the sale cannot go ahead. So you do have power at that point (but it would be contentious if you refuse). But you could use this as a bargaining power to get house put into joint names (if no mortgage), or a Deed of TRust drawn up saying that you are entitled to a share of the proceeds of sale. This can be registered on the title if you want.

6) If he has made a will and you are not mentioned in it, you can contest the will on the basis that you have been maintained by him in a longstanding relationship and are entitled to a share. (Beware, the costs of defending the estate against your claim are met by the estate, and can easily eat up all the estate!).

Lots of men are once bitten twice shy, scared of losing what they have earned by the hard sweat of their brow to non contributing wife. (etc, you get the picture). He may fit into that category.

All of the above is roughly accurate but things change and I am not a matrimonial or inheritance lawyer. Where I am wrong, sorry. I am just trying to give you a rough guide until you get proper advice based on current legal situation.

Tuhlulah Mon 18-Nov-13 12:16:29

Sorry, it's a bit garbled with typos, sorry.

I should have said at point 6 that he has to be dead before you can object to his will, as anything else would be a bit premature!!

anonymous13 Mon 18-Nov-13 12:34:26

Thanks tuhlulah for your really comprehensive guide. Yes, I think he is a man of the ilk that you mention (and has, to be fair to him, always worked very hard)!!

Confronting him on this stuff would not provoke a good reaction (I have already tried). Don't really know how to persuade him to do things differently / trust me more / put me on equal footing to him.

I think for now maybe I should concentrate on becoming more independent myself and see what knock on effect that has on the way I feel about things and also on how h views the situation. Certainly I would not have embarked on this relationship, if I had fully realised the extent and consequences of my childlike position angry.

Maybe I should be more buddhist about stuff (especially material stuff) and concentrate on living my life??

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 18-Nov-13 12:37:54

Buddhist monks in orange robes sit by road-sides with a begging bowl.... hmm Being more independent and less dependent is always a good idea when you're up against someone that loves money more than they love you. As a DW you do not have to get out the begging bowl because you have a very strong piece of paper working in your favour i.e a marriage certificate. Please go talk to a solicitor rather than thinking you are in a weak position.

SirSugar Mon 18-Nov-13 12:39:38

I wouldn't encourage him to make a will, If he died you are entitled anyway.

If I had done that with my H, or had he been able to when he realised he was going to die, he would have tied up the estate in knots and made it very difficult for me such was his abusive nature.

SirSugar Mon 18-Nov-13 12:45:28

If I was you I'd bee inclined to ask him to sort this out in a mutually respectful way, by discussion and planning, or you will have to seek legal advice to assess the situation.

What do you have to lose, he sounds like he's difficult anyway.

And never forget Knowledge is Power

Tuhlulah Mon 18-Nov-13 12:47:19

You are welcome, Anonymous. But do get proper legal advice -and I think Women's Aid may be able to help too. Knowledge is power.

Yes, do start to look for routes to more independence. It will make you feel better and raise your self-esteem. And maybe even enjoyment. This may be your key to feeling better about things. Then once he sees you could survive on your own, he'll feel less threatened?

Good luck.

Feckssake Mon 18-Nov-13 12:52:05

Can I ask, why do you think you're a bad housekeeper? Is this something H has mentioned?

Aquariusgirl86 Mon 18-Nov-13 12:52:22

Just an idea about if you want to go on the mortgage of a next potential property, my cousin sahm wasn't allowed on the mortgage and she told me because she has no income. I don't know if this is just because they couldn't borrow what they needed or what. I went on our mortgage even though I have a very low income. It might be worth just checking if you would be able to go on it as a sahm before you cause potential conflict about it?

anonymous13 Mon 18-Nov-13 12:52:48

Thanks all, you've been very helpful smile. Yes, I will find out more.

anonymous13 Mon 18-Nov-13 12:58:46

Sorry feckssake and aquarius, missed your messages. Yes, will find out about the income side of it...

Re. being a bad housekeeper, yes this has been a big bone of contention between us, but things seem to be better. I am quite untidy and a procrastinator... It doesn't seem as big an issue as it did when we went to counselling however, so things must be getting better. H also politer than he has been for a long time, since I went away to my aunt's for a weekend a few weeks ago, after one awful argument, saying that I had had enough (which I had at that point).

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