If you are considering moving in with your partner, either by one of you moving into a property owned by the other, or by purchasing a property together, now is the perfect time to think about your finances.
The law does not protect co-habiting or unmarried couples in the same way as it protects married couples. For this reason, you should consider obtaining legal advice when making the decision to move in together.
For co-habiting or unmarried couples, the starting point is that property or assets are owned fully by the legal owner. This means that the presumption is that if you are the sole registered owner of a home or vehicle, for example, you own that property and its value in full. This means that it is important that the way in which you own joint assets or property is either accurately reflected in the legal ownership or that an arrangement is made to evidence that the legal ownership does not reflect the true position. Ideally this evidence should be in writing. If you are moving in together, you may wish to consider: • Who is the legal owner of the property? • Who will be paying or has paid the deposit? • Who will be paying any mortgage? • If only one party pays the mortgage, will the other pay rent? • Who pays the bills? • Will there be any other joint assets, i.e bank account, car, endowment etc? • Who pays for any improvements or repairs to the property? Will any of the above entitle one party to either a share or a greater share in the equity if the house is sold?
If you want to be sure as to your and your partner’s rights in the event of future sale or possible separation, we can draw up a written agreement to reflect the position. This is a simple and cost effective way of protecting your property and assets and in most cases will avoid expensive legal costs in the event of a dispute.