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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.

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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