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cohabitation agreement. head all over the place over what to do.

(21 Posts)
Minime85 Thu 13-Aug-15 08:58:09

okay so i would really appreciate any advice on this. I am divorced and consent order all done. I got the house and have since moved and have a considerable amount of equity in new house. I have moved in with new partner. He is separated and was separated before i met him but i still married.

I want to protect the equity in the house for my kids and me. I am slightly worried when he applies for divorce his ex will be able to claim on my assets. I pay the mortgage. It is in my name only. He gives me a percentage of the bills each month.

I have been to a solicitor but they have said it will be in the region of £500 +VAT to get a cohabitation agreement set up. (That is more than my divorce was as we did that ourselves!) That is a lot of money. Alternatively I've found things on line that we could fill in and sign ourselves. I just dont know what to do for the best. I am concerned it is starting to play on my mind so much it is going to come between us.

Any advice gratefully received. confused

Bubblesinthesummer Thu 13-Aug-15 09:00:53

His ex won't be able to claim your assets, but may be able to claim more in settlement from your partner as it is deemed that his living costs are less than if he was on his own.

Husbanddoestheironing Thu 13-Aug-15 09:04:31

You are right to be a little concerned and get proper legal advice. My stepdad had difficulties in court because he had moved in with my mum and was therefore deemed as 'having somewhere to live' even though it was actually all my mum's, so he didn't get allocated a portion of joint assets for housing himself, even though all his children were adults and left home and his ex-w was earning a good amount and had taken no career break. It was a complicated situation though and I don't know the full details. It just seemed unfair at the time, so worth checking it out.

Minime85 Thu 13-Aug-15 09:16:38

Thank you bubbles and husbanddoestheironing for your replies. There are no assets from the marriage as it was a rented property and he walked away from it including all contents so doesn't want anything from it. The solicitor told me she wouldn't be able to claim on my house but would give us some sleepless nights over it. But for me to find £600 now is really hard and if i'm honest is making me really cross and resentful. I think I may just have to bite the bullet and do it. At least it will be peace of mind.

Husbanddoestheironing Thu 13-Aug-15 09:26:59

If there are no assets that is likely to be more straightforward, though he could be lumbered with a bigger share of any debts instead if there are large ones.
If he is paying a percentage of bills, could you perhaps draw up a formal 'lodger' agreement instead with a fixed amount per month/week? Just until his divorce is finalised. It would make the point that him living with you is currently a 'temporary' type arrangement and should not be assumed that he has a 'permanent' right to remain and therefore needs adequate remaining income to pay for housing if your arrangement ends. That might make you feel more secure, and if you are not claiming relevant benefits it's no one else's business if you are sharing a bed with your lodger. Not sure how it would stand legally though, so do get some advice on that.

Minime85 Thu 13-Aug-15 10:09:57

Thanks husband. That is something worth looking into I think thanks. I don't claim any benefits. I work full time.

Funinthesun15 Thu 13-Aug-15 10:14:05

If he is paying a percentage of bills, could you perhaps draw up a formal 'lodger' agreement instead with a fixed amount per month/week? Just until his divorce is finalised. It would make the point that him living with you is currently a 'temporary' type arrangement and should not be assumed that he has a 'permanent' right to remain and therefore needs adequate remaining income to pay for housing if your arrangement ends.

The thing with this is that courts and solicitors see this all the time.

If they know the OP and her DP are together they aren't going to believe any 'lodger' agreements.

In form E when completed when sorting finances out there is a question about living with other people.

RedDaisyRed Thu 13-Aug-15 10:22:32

1. Draw up the agreement yourselves if you cannot afford one with a solicitor. It should deal with lots of issues like what happens if you have another baby with him and what happens when you break up and when you move. Obviously it needs to say you own 100% of the property and he just contributes to bills.
2. Make sure he just pays bills but nothing relating to the property otherwise he might gain some kind of equitable interest in the property.
3. Do cover how to get him out if you break up as it can be hard to make a lover leave if things go wrong.
3. People are right that his wife might say his housing needs are met so that might affect what maintenance he has to pay her or she has to pay him after the split up and what he has to pay for any children. Does he have chldren and would he have them live with you? If so take legal adviec as they might become children of the family - your family and you might have financial obligations to them although unlikely.

Collaborate Thu 13-Aug-15 11:24:54

The thing about his payments to you earning him an interest in the house only really apply if he has a reasonable expectation that paying this to you will earn for him such an interest. Therefore all you really have to do is make it abundantly clear between you, in writing, that what he's paying will not acquire for him an interest in your property. You'd need to do that regularly in writing throughout your relationship (say once a year).

But because lawyers are worried about insurance premiums and claims for negligence the advice you usually get is that it's safest for you not to collect anything from him that could be construed as anything more than a fair proportion of the non-property bills (i.e. exclude the mortgage, buildings insurance and any property maintenance bills).

Minime85 Thu 13-Aug-15 11:30:56

Reddaisy thank you. That's helpful thoughts. He does have children but from his first marriage. They are much older than mine. He pays for them and they come and stay with us. This was a very short marriage only just under 2yrs married as I understand it.

Collaborate thank you for your post. That's really helpful too. I think maybe we should start with that and go from there.

Thanks everyone I'm so grateful. It's helping to give me some perspective over it all.

Minime85 Thu 13-Aug-15 11:33:17

Funinthesun I didn't do form E with ex as we did a consent order instead. But on there you still had to put if you were living with someone and I wasn't then. You also had to put if you were intending on doing.
So you have a valid point there. Thank you

LineyRunner Thu 13-Aug-15 11:40:11

OP, don't forget to do an up-to-date will too, making your intentions clear about what happens to your house and assets in the event of your death.

Inertia Thu 13-Aug-15 11:46:19

I think it 's worth paying a few hundred pounds on a legally watertight arrangement now, to protect yourself if the relationship breaks down as much as to stop his ex becoming involved.

Husbanddoestheironing Thu 13-Aug-15 12:04:19

I agree inertia. Could be important for both of you. It does seem to be very unfair that a court will take into account if you are living with someone else in their property provided it is genuinely, proveably only theirs. It shouldn't be relevant to a fair split unless there really is not enough money to house the children adequately otherwise, or the ex-partner has low income due to caring for children of the marriage. It's not meant to be a system of punishment for people who dare to move on after a break up.

MaryMOORE Thu 13-Aug-15 13:18:50

The house is both of yours once you married, he is entitled to a percentage of it, if you make more then him he will be entitled to an income support too.

Collaborate Thu 13-Aug-15 15:00:21

MaryMOORE This must be very new law. So new that Parliament hasn't even passed it yet.

There is no "entitlement to a percentage" of anything. There is an entitlement, on divorce, to make claims against income, capital and pensions. That is as far as it goes when it comes to use of the word entitlement.

I'm sorry, but your post is just so very wrong in basic respects.

How much a spouse will get on divorce depends on the factors contained in s25 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973, as interpreted by the courts in thousands of reported judgments since then.

Minime85 Thu 13-Aug-15 16:13:20

Yes linely that is something else on my list of things to do. And I completely agree husband and inertia that's exactly what I want to do and if it was 2-3 hundred or even 3.5 I could do it and wouldn't feel as begrudging of it either. But 600 minimum just seems so steep. Time to make a decision I think. Im almost wondering if I should do my will first as maybe that's more important and if we draw something up between us for now and sign it. dP is more than happy to do all of this too. And maybe save the money for the agreement. I guess it's worth foregoing a holiday for just doesn't feel fair. Thanks again everyone

RedDaisyRed Thu 13-Aug-15 16:27:21

Certainly don't marry him as then on a later divorce he will indeed have big claims (unless he's worth a huge amount which clearly he isn't).

Tooooooohot Fri 14-Aug-15 17:34:44

Can you get a deed of trust? Put some of the house in the kids names?

Collaborate Fri 14-Aug-15 18:11:52

Can you get a deed of trust? Put some of the house in the kids names?

Have you not read enough of the threads on this site in which children become estranged from their parents to see that's just a really bad idea?

Also, non-resident kids will have to pay Capital Gains Tax on the sale of the property. They may get in to debt themselves and their creditors seek to enforce the debt against the property.

Fidelia Fri 14-Aug-15 18:37:30

I really would stump up for the cohabitation agreement. If you haven't both had legal advice,then home written version won't be worth much, legally, if you break up. You need to make it clear that the house will remain yours and that he will have no legal share in it. If you were to get married, I'd then get this changed to a pre-nup, again, with legal advice.

As for his current divorce. His wife cannot stake a claim on your home if he is not an owner. She can claim that he is adequately housed and that with a partner to share running costs etc, he has more disposable income. That will mean she will likely have a larger share of the marital assets, although this is also affected by their ages, incomes and whether they have any children.

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