Recently I’ve spoken a lot about our new house and how we are slowly turning it into a family home, but this has also made me think about my previous attempts to build a home with ex-partners. It won’t surprise you to know that these attempts failed, but what might surprise you is just how spectacularly they went wrong.
Twice I have lived with ex-partners under different circumstances and both times I failed to protect myself out of naivety and a belief that all would be fine. Hopefully my errors, which have cost me a great deal financially, will help others to avoid the same pitfalls.
a 22 year old Grumpy Mum
My first tale takes me back to my early 20’s when I was seeing a man who we will call Carl (this is not his real name). Carl and I decided to buy a house together but as I had poor credit at the time, the house and mortgage were put into his name alone.
Trustingly I paid half of the mortgage and bills, and put money into the houses upkeep and improvement, all in the belief that one day the house would be in joint names. This wasn’t to be and a few years later when the relationship broke down I was forced to leave my beloved house with nothing but a few bags of clothes and personal possessions. Carl on the other hand sold the house a year later for a large profit.
Had I been wiser I would have sought legal advice before signing papers during the house purchase which stated I had no right to the house I was helping to pay for. I never made that mistake again.
My second experience of being burned was a lot less costly but equally frustrating. It took place in my later 20’s after I had met another partner, we shall call him Kevin (as the name I usually give him isn’t fit to be repeated in polite society).
Having been bitten before I was very cagey about moving in with another man and eventually decided that I would buy the property solely in my name for us to live in. I set a reasonable amount for Kevin to pay every month, which would cover his portion of bills and food but nothing more. Again, I was foolish enough not to take legal advice, so when he failed to pay his way as we agreed, there was little I could do other than tell him to get out. Something which he refused to do. What followed was long, drawn out, and emotionally exhausting, but eventually ended in Kevin being removed from the property by his very angry parents after threatening me with a knife.
You would think that would have been an end of it but Kevin refused to return my keys and he, spurred on by his parents, threatened to take me to court as they believed he was entitled to a portion of my property. Luckily this came to nothing and he was pressured by mutual friends to return my keys. It could have been much worse.
In both of these cases taking legal advice would have saved me a great deal of money, heart ache and stress. I’m just thankful that there were no children involved in either time.
Moving in with a partner is an exciting new step in life and no-one wants to ruin that by consulting a law firm or writing up agreements, because this is an acknowledgement that things may go wrong and your rosy relationship may not last forever, but take it from someone who has suffered as a result of not planning for the worse. If you don’t protect yourself, no one else will.
If you are planning to move in with a new partner or even if you are already co-habiting, you can contact this Legal 500 family law firm for a free consultation. It may not be the most romantic thing you will do, but if things do go wrong, it could save you from walking away with next to nothing to your name.
*This post contains sponsored links however all opinions are my own.