Cohabitation – the fastest growing family type in the UK
A pub promise
Andrew Horn, a successful businessman, has been refused leave to appeal against his former partner’s award of an equal share in their £1m home.
The High Court ruled that the £1m family home should be divided equally between the unmarried, separated couple despite the fact that Mr Horn had provided the majority of the deposit to purchase the property.
Claire Chipperfield, a midwife, and Mr Horn lived together for more than 15 years and had two children. The couple never married. In 2006 they moved from London to live in the country. They purchased a new home in Hants in joint names. Mr Horn contributed over £230,000 and Ms Chipperfield contributed £39,000 towards the purchase.
After they separated in 2016, Mr Horn made an application to the court claiming that most of their home belonged to him. However, Ms Chipperfield won her case for an equal share of the house which is now reported to be worth over £1m. Ms Chipperfield informed the court that she had been promised by Mr Horn during a conversation in a pub 13 years ago that she was the equal owner.
Although Mr Horn agreed this conversation took place he said the words were not to be treated literally. The Judge found that Mr Horn had failed to acknowledge the sacrifices which Ms Chipperfield made to the family home in terms of her career and significant contributions which she made to the family finances.
The Judge ruled that there had to be a presumption that the house would be split equally and so he refused Mr Horn’s appeal.
If you are living with a partner or plan to in the future, then you should consider entering into a Cohabitation Agreement to protect your finances. You can make a Cohabitation Agreement at any time, whether you are about to start living together or if you have been doing so for many years. If you would like to know more then please contact our knowledgeable family team.
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