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Relevance of having joint-mortgage if married?

(17 Posts)
SpiffingStuff Mon 02-Nov-09 19:32:17

I've name-changed because I'm finding this a difficult thing to post about. I'd be really grateful for any thoughts and advice.

DP will be looking to buy a house soon. The plan is to make a home together. And it's very likely we will marry in the next couple of years. And there's nothing I'd like more.

Not quite sure yet if he thought we'd get a joint-mortgage or whether he intends on having only his name on the mortgage and deeds etc. We haven't discussed the nitty-gritties yet hence my post here. But I do know that we would both contribute.

I don't currently own a property - renting at the moment. And DP spends all of his time at my place cos that works best for us. I'm happy to take out a joint-mortgage though if that's the best thing to do (says she, hoping that that wouldn't be too difficult given no debts and an ok job).

So here's my question - in the (hopefully) unlikely event that we should ever divorce and have to unravel our lives, I'd just like to make sure that I've approached this in the most sensible way. Does having my name on the mortgage affect my position and rights once we're married? (I think I'm fairly clear on how things would work if we weren't and we had to split up.)

Don't get me wrong - I'm not for a minute doubting that DP is the right person for me. I've had horrendous relationship experiences in the past and this feels very different. But a look around the Talk postings on Mumsnet gives enough evidence to see that things can go horribly, devastatingly wrong very unexpectedly. And I don't want to be blind to that.

Hoping this doesn't come across in the wrong way. It's just that I don't want to find myself in a vulnerable position that could easily have been avoided if I had just thought upfront about house ownership and entitlement and what that might mean should the worst happen.

PerArduaAdAstra Mon 02-Nov-09 19:35:49

I think whether you're single or married, you should have your name on the deeds if you're putting money into the place (or paying for other things so that someone else can pay the mortgage). If you're married with a child then you have some entitlement to the family home, but I don't know the exact position if you're married and childless - but someone here will.

And don't worry about thinking about this in advance - just means you're a grown-up who's outgrown disney's ickle princesses living happily never after grin

Adair Mon 02-Nov-09 19:40:15

I think you are very sensible thinking about it. My friend is unmarried and is about to buy a house with just her partner's name on the deeds/mortgage and it is freaking me out.

When we bought our flat together, we weren't married. We did have a joint mortgage. As dh had equity from his flat, we owned the flat 60/40? (I think, can't remember!!) to be automatically altered to 50/50 once childen came along. Now we are married, I think we are entitled to half-ish? of assets anyway. But they do take into account what you have contributed. Have to say, half the reason we got married is to make it easier!

If you are both paying for the mortgage/looking after your children then why shouldn't it be in both your names?

duckyfuzz Mon 02-Nov-09 19:44:31

its less about the mortgage than the ownership of the house - tenants in common I think is the phrase, but may be completely wrong there!

MrsTittleMouse Mon 02-Nov-09 19:53:13

The mortgage company will probably like to have your name on the mortgage too, as then they will have two people to chase if you start defaulting. To be honest, the chances of them letting you be on the deeds, but not the mortgage are very minimal, as the mortgage company will not want someone with a claim on the property, but with no responsibility for the debt. They will do everything they can to cover their arses.

So it will most likely that your name with be on both documents or neither. I would go for both! Marriage would also give you an extra layer of protection (and can be done cheaply and easily for practical reasons if neither of you are the romantic type).

As duckyfuzz says, you also need to think about the type of shared ownership. You can be joint tenants, where both of you own both the house, or tenants-in-common, where you each own half as an individual. I'm married, so I didn't look into the implications for a partnership if you're one or the other, sorry.

And also, as you aren't married, do you have good wills and life insurance where you protect each other if the worst happens? Dying intestate isn't great even if you're married, if you're not, it's horrendous.

MrsTittleMouse Mon 02-Nov-09 19:56:00

Whoops, you are talking about divorce, so does that mean that you are married? You used DP instead of DH, so I thought that you were living together.

Either way, to be honest I am very happy that I have the belt-and-braces of joint ownership and a marriage certificate. And I am very happy with DH and see no reason why that wouldn't continue for ever.

SpiffingStuff Mon 02-Nov-09 21:09:10

All, this is hugely helpful so thanks so much for your pointers.

Nice to know I'm not alone in considering these things. Some people do still subscribe to the 'happily ever after' thing. Maybe they're the lucky ones, but life has jumped out and grabbed me in the past.

You've confirmed my gut-instinct that I really ought to have more active participation in this, and that's fine.

MrsTittleMouse - we aren't married at the moment (co-habiting) but marriage is certainly on the cards and probable. We've talked about it.

Oh and I should have mentioned that I don't have any children, and DP's are grown-up. (He's divorced.) We're not thinking of having kids, but I suppose that could change. (never say never!)

I think I just need to decide on what basis to 'own' - along with DP - the property. DP earns a lot more than I do and has a juicy deposit (and I have nothing) so our starting points are very different. So how I go about about suggesting a fair and sensible share is a tricky one. More thought needed from me I think...

DwayneDibbley Mon 02-Nov-09 21:14:59

Message withdrawn

DwayneDibbley Mon 02-Nov-09 21:16:00

Message withdrawn

SpiffingStuff Mon 02-Nov-09 21:26:54

DwayneD - that's one of my fears actually. My DP dying, and then finding myself chucked out of the home we made together. Homeless. I know it happens.


Thanks for the reminder.

ABetaDad Mon 02-Nov-09 21:52:41

It is not just a matter of having a joint mortgage but MORE IMPORTANTLY you should have your name on the deeds and be joint owner of the house. There are two ways of doing this. Joint Tenancy or Tenancy in Common.

If you own your home as joint tenants then both of you own the whole of the property, so when one partner dies, the other automatically becomes the sole owner of the home. With tenants in common, you each own a share of the property, typically split half and half.

Tenants in Common is becoming popular with wealthy people wanting to manage inheritance tax liability but Joint Tenancy is most common.

You need to discuss with a solicitor.

SpiffingStuff Mon 02-Nov-09 22:06:28

ABetaDad, in our particular circumstances there's no way I could afford to get a mortgage to cover 50% of the property's value. I simply don't earn enough.

So I'm curious to know if this means tenants in common is out of the question for us?

(SpiffingStuff suspects she should just stop at this point and go and make a solictor's appointment...and stop bothering you all!)

cassell Mon 02-Nov-09 22:08:17

If you will be contributing to the mortgage then only fair that you have your name on the deeds & the mortgage. Although if you have your name on the mortgage then it usually means that if your dp absconded for some reason then you would be liable for the whole of the debt not just half of it.

If you want to recognise unequal contributions (i.e. he has deposit you don't) then the best way is tenants in common where you can specify the shares that you hold (e.g. 60/40) but you then need to make sure that your wills reflect that because if he left his share to his children without making provision for you to stay in the house then on his death they would own say 60% of the house and could try and force you out.

Biobytes Mon 02-Nov-09 23:00:09

I can't see a single disadvantage in having your name on it, or a reason not to have it. More so if you there is a period of time between you buy the house and get married.

ABetaDad Tue 03-Nov-09 07:56:54

SpiffingStuff - who actually pays the mortgage is irrelevant. You can still be a tenant in common or joint tenant as well as and have your name on the mortgage.

If you are a tenant in common you more or less immediatley get 100% of the house on death of your DH/DP. If a tenant in common your DH/DP (or you) could leave their share of the house to someone else (e.g the children or anyone else) in their Will. That is why tenant in common Is used for inheritance tax planning.

You should defintley should see a solicitor.

MrsTittleMouse Tue 03-Nov-09 09:30:11

cassell and ABetaDad are right. I contributed to our savings for a deposit when I was working, but now I'm a SAHM and I don't earn any money. I am still a joint owner of our house, it doesn't make any difference that at the moment I'm not the one earning the money. DH and I have the attitude that we are a team and that our money is family money. I would be very unhappy if we didn't have equal shares, but I am in a different position to you as I am raising our small children at the moment.

They are also right that you really need to protect yourself as you're not married (yet!) and he has grown up children. Death can do very strange things, even to people who can be quite reasonable normally. If you own less than 50% of the property as a tenant in common and your DP dies then you will be in a very difficult position. Even if he has a will that leaves his share of the property to you, then you will have to pay inheritence tax it. If you are joint, then at his death you would automatically become the sole owner.

Before you buy a house together, I reckon that you need a good chat with your DP about both of your expectations, and then take any concerns to a solicitor.

Adair Tue 03-Nov-09 21:07:55

Spiffingstuff, our mortgage was calculated on mostly dh's salary (I am a SAHM who earns a little bit). We are still joint mortgage owners and joint owners.

In your circumstances, your mortgage would be between you to to work out how to repay each month (yes, you would be liable to pay it back if dp absconded but you could sell etc). You might want to be tenants in common with a split in his favour if you thought he deserved more of the property if you were to break up.

You do need to speak to dp and your solicitor. Good luck.

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