LEGAL CLINIC | Do I have rights to a house I’ve paid into but is not in my name?

This week a reader asks whether if he’ll have rights to a house that he’s paid into along with his husband, once their civil partnership has been dissolved. A solicitor from law firm, Grayfords reassures that he does have rights.

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My partner and I have been together since 2001 (civil partnership in 2009). I have decided I would like to dissolve the partnership as our relationship has entirely broken down. We own a house together which I moved into in 2004 and have since paid half of the mortgage payments, though it is in his name. Will I have rights over this property and can you tell me what your experience is of dealing with the breakdown of same-sex partnerships?

Thank you for your question. I expect it’s one that a lot of people have had at some point, either about their own relationship or that of a friend or family member.

First of all, a word on terminology and some reassurance. Marriages are divorced and civil partnerships are dissolved. But other than that, the process is largely the same and, I’m pleased to say, your financial and property rights are identical.  Please don’t panic: the fact that the house is in your partner’s name does not mean you’re left high and dry. By virtue of your civil partnership, you automatically have property rights. Any settlement you reach should be based largely on what a court would do if it was considering your case and the starting point for a court would be a 50:50 split of capital assets (so property, pensions, savings).

A court would then consider the needs and resources of both parties, taking into account all the circumstances of the case.  This might cause the court to award one person more than 50% of the value of an asset. Are both of you working so you could afford payments on two new, separate, mortgages, are there any disabilities or illnesses to consider that might mean one person needs a bigger share, does one person’s pension remain intact because if so they might not get such a big share of a property?

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These are the sorts of questions a court would ask. Financial cases have so many factors that it’s hard to give you an idea exactly what you might be entitled to without knowing more detail. I suggest you try and book an appointment with a solicitor, either on a paid basis or a free initial appointment which some offer.

After even a brief chat we could give you a clearer idea where you stand. Until then though, you can be confident that you do have rights in your property and that with a solicitor’s help you can secure your financial future.

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Having worked in family law for the a number of years, I’ve dealt with a good many cases involving same-sex couples. By and large, the concerns of same sex partners when they break up are the same as those of heterosexual partners – finances, property and, in many cases, access to children.

About the author: Grayfords
At Grayfords we aim to provide a transparent, cost-effective service which is tailored to each individual client. No two relationships are identical and no two relationship breakdowns are either. We can provide confidential advice on ending a marriage or partnership, property and children. You can call 0800 222 9500 to book a free initial telephone appointment no matter where you are located.